Members of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Band march in formation during the 2014 Veterans Day Parade in Hilo. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Tiarra Fulgham)

HILO, Hawaii - Sailors of the Pacific Fleet Band's Popular Music Group (PMG) entertained and educated local schools and communities on the Island of Hawaii with musical performances and education sessions held Nov. 4-8.

The PMG is one of many units within the Pacific Fleet Band that provides community outreach through musical entertainment and builds bridges between military and civilians.

“We have been on the Big Island this week to do some community outreach on behalf of Commander, United States Pacific Fleet, all in support of the community outreach initiatives,” said Chief Musician Ian Charleton. “We have been performing at different schools for the students and getting involved with the community here because the Navy has a vested interest in building strong relationships with the local community.”

The PMG performed at various schools throughout the island including Honokaa Intermediate and High School and the Connections Public Charter School in Hilo.

“The event was awesome today and I think that many of the students really didn’t know what to expect,” said Sandy Kelly, Business Manager for Connections. “The adults were thinking of a traditional military band. I think they were thrilled, the music they could identify with, a lot of the songs I didn’t even know but they loved it.”

At many of the schools the band engaged the students throughout the performances including sing-alongs and dance competitions. They also opened the floor during their performances for students to show they dance talents including the Hawaiian Hula.

Kelly stated she was very happy for the students to have been able to participate. “Steven, the band’s singer and pianist, did a great job in engaging the kids, I really think they loved it.”

To promote education and recruiting, the PMG also performed and held music clinics at both the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus and Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona. “Today was a basic clinic and it was awesome,” said Heather Sexton, a junior at University of Hawaii at Hilo. “We learned a lot of good information about simple things such as the difference between horns, how to work within a band, overall music in general.”

Sexton also explained how she learned more about her tone, improving herself as a saxophone player, and becoming more involved in the bands, which she is part of. “It has really helped me understand the core of music, how to better myself as a person, and reflect more of my solo ideas out,” she said.

The outreach also included performances at the Prince Kuhio Plaza Mall and ended with a performance from the Pacific Fleet Marching Band in the 2014 Hilo Veterans Day Parade.

“The response from the Big Island, the hospitality, the students and everyone we have played for has been very positive,” said Charleton. “We are already being invited back, and we are looking forward to getting back as quickly as we can.”

For most people, especially on the Big Island where Navy presence is minimal, this outreach may have been on of the first opportunities to meet someone in the Navy. Because music tends to bring people together, opportunities such as these, for attendants of the shows and young generations, bring positive impression of the Navy and its mission.

The PACFLT Band is based in Pearl Harbor and is dedicated to providing top quality music and entertainment in support of the U.S. Navy's retention and recruiting programs, and for internal and external public relations.

The band entertains students at Kealakehe High School in Kailua-Kona as part of the U.S. Navy's community and educational outreach program. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Tiarra Fulgham)
Chief Musician Ian Charleston speaks to students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo during a band-hosted Jazz Improvisation Workshop. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Tiarra Fulgham)