By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Karsten
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The U.S. 7th Fleet Band performed their annual combined holiday concert with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Yokosuka Band at the Yokosuka Arts Theatre on Dec. 11, 2012.
This was the second time the two bands performed together this further building on the relationship between the U.S. and Japan.
“The purpose is to play Christmas music, and just as important, is the joint aspect of doing something with the Japanese band,” said Musician 3rd Class Robert Heath. “This allows us to work with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force more intimately.”
The concert was well-received by the 1800 military and civilian in attendance. The concert was performed in three sets, the first two sets performed by the JMSDF Band and U.S. 7th Fleet Band, respectively, and the third set was a combination of the two bands. The concert included holiday music of all genres, ranging from rock to funk and concert to classical, with various groups, costumes, singing, and dancing as part of the show.
“Tonight was interesting because we played a lot of different and difficult pieces and without the aid of the 7th Fleet Band, it may not have gone well…so tonight was very successful” said JMSDF Petty Officer 3rd Class Navy Musician Daiki Suto, concert master and saxophone player. “Every time we play with the 7th fleet band they keep bringing it on with their best players. It’s great for me to hear them play because it helps me learn a lot and makes me a better sax player.”
After the band finished the show, they remained on stage for an encore after the crowd would not stop clapping.
“I’m sure that they really loved it just in the way they wouldn’t let us leave the stage,” said Lt. Geordie Kelly, U.S. 7th Fleet bandmaster. “The show was outstanding! It just spoke wonders.”