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III MEF Band and the JGSDF 15th Brigade Band perform together amidst COVID-19

July 08, 2020

This report originally publishes at marines.mil.

The III Marine Expeditionary Force and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 15th Brigade bands performed together from June 15 to 18 on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.

The two bands came together to perform a rearrangement of “Cap’s Promise,” a piece composed by Henry Jackman, to thank all frontline workers, first responders and health care officials for all their contributions and continuing efforts while life surrounded by COVID-19 becomes the new normal.

Staff Sgt. Wayne C. Geary, the enlisted conductor with the III MEF Band, said this project was just another avenue to show how we can cooperate and prevail during this pandemic.

 “When we perform the combined concert together we try to show people our strong bonds of friendship between the 15th Band and the III MEF Band.” Capt. Ken Yamashita, JGSDF 15th Band officer in charge

“I think this project is not only important to play great music with great musicians, but to thank everybody who has been involved and effected by this pandemic because it’s not just a Marine Corps issue. It’s a global issue,” said Geary, a native of Woodbridge, Virginia.

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Capt. Ken Yamashita, the officer in charge of the JGSDF 15th Band, said this performance was very important to hold.

“When we perform the combined concert together we try to show people our strong bonds of friendship between the 15th Band and the III MEF Band,” said Yamashita. “Also, we can send a message to the people that we can conquer the COVID-19 situation.”

The bands strictly reinforced the precautions to mitigate the potential transmission of the contagious virus.

“We are checking body temperature twice a day, and we wash and sanitize our hands often,” said Yamashita.

The Performance Photo by Lance Cpl. Brennan Beauton

Musicians had a rotational schedule where certain sections would play in a specific time frame throughout the week. They were placed six feet apart while recording took place to maintain proper social distancing.

Both the III MEF Band and the JGSDF 15th Band work together frequently and always enjoy the collaboration, said Geary.

“They [the 15th Band] are such high caliber musicians and it’s like working with someone who is either just as good as you or even better,” said Geary. “I always learn something new from them and they always bring the best out of the Marines.”

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