ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia --
The U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band joined the Central Orchestra of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF Band) to host a free, public concert at Sukhbaatar Square here June 30.
The purpose of the event was to continue fostering camaraderie among the MAF and MarForPac Bands through a subject matter expert exchange. This was the fourth year the MarForPac Band traveled to Mongolia, highlighting the existing partnership between the two countries.
The musicians began working as soon as they met, rehearsing, exchanging music and learning each other’s pieces, overcoming a prominent obstacle that stood between them.
“The hardest part of the whole process was the language barrier,” said Cpl. Benjamin A. Harris, horn player with the MarForPac Band. “We had to rely on singing music to each other and hand gestures to understand what the music should sound like. After conquering that, it all came together.”
During the three-hour-long show, both bands displayed their unique marching and concert styles. The Marines demonstrated some of their traditional ceremonial marching and the MAF Band added a touch of their culture by bringing out traditional Mongolian dancers.
Musicians from both bands then sat shoulder-to-shoulder for a joint performance where MAF Band conductors took turns with Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan Sherlock, MarForPac Band officer-in-charge, conducting the joint ensemble.
The show was a hit with the audience, earning them applause and demands for an encore.
“It was absolutely wonderful that these two groups performed side-by-side and sounded so beautiful,” said Fiona Addleton, wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Mongolia. “It just goes to show what can be done in such a short time by people who are talented and dedicated.”
The MAF and MarForPac Bands have found the exchange effective for their musicians and expressed a desire to continue the program.
“We hope to continue the tradition and partnership we have created with the U.S. Marines for years to come,” said Lt. Col. Tumurbat Tsedensodnom, MAF Band conductor. “The exchange has been beneficial to both sides and there is always more we can learn from each other.”