4th Annual Lowcountry Christmas Concert
December 16, 2012 | The Parris Island Marine Band performed at Community Bible Church in Beaufort, SC, for the 4th Annual Lowcountry Christmas Concert with holiday and military pieces including “Sleigh Ride,” “Christmas Time is Here,” “The Polar Express” and of course, “Song of the Marines.”
According to the evening’s handout, the band originated in 1915 when 750 marines were transferred from Norfolk, VA, to Parris Island, SC. Among them was Sergeant William Gauer (first bandmaster) and Sergeant Anton Schnichowski (first drum major). The fifty-member P.I. Marine Band is now directed by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joshua A. Stone from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, who arrived at the Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot when he enlisted in 1995.
Whether civilian or military, young or old, all audience members gave the Marine Band rapt attention throughout the program. Tears were shed while soloist Sgt Brandon Johnson performed “Amazing Grace” (Jay Bocook’s arrangement) on tenor saxophone. During the “Armed Forces Medley,” each military branch was called upon to stand when their theme was played. Pride was shining on every face, and the applause was ongoing. Though the concert is only in its fourth year, it is now an established tradition within the community.