SANTA RITA, Guam - The military and local communities on Guam were treated to the musical style of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) Rock Band Sept. 21-26.
Promoting music education and appreciation, the band visited George Washington High School (GWHS) in Mangilao to meet and perform for students Sept. 21.
PACFLT Band Senior Chief Musician Tom Lawrence said visiting the school gave band members the chance to interact with students and share their love of music.
“We had the opportunity to come out to Guam just to bring the message of music,” he said. “[We’re able to] come out and work with the kids and just have an opportunity to take the band out on tour and spread the message of Navy music and goodwill to the island of Guam.”
Despite the rain, students were able to sing and dance with the band as they performed songs from a few of today’s popular music artists.
“Right off the bat you can see their enthusiasm,” Lawrence said. “We all started off just like they did when we were much younger and we are impressed with kids.”
GWHS Music Director Max Ronquillo was thrilled that students had the opportunity to meet band members and learn more about who they are and what they do.
“I think it’s really awesome that they’re here long enough that they can do this,” he said. “It’s really inspiring for kids to be around these musicians. They’re really grabbing a lot of good ideas and inspiration to continue to play music.”
Later that evening, local residents and tourists were treated to a special band performance at the Chamorro Village Night Market where visitors danced to songs from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and today.
Local resident Ray Hackett danced to the band’s upbeat music and was excited to see the military interacting with the community.
“The band’s really good and everybody’s enjoying it,” he said. “There’s such a community feeling. I’ve never heard a military band before but it certainly is enjoyable.”
Musician 2nd Class Anton Du Preez, said despite the inclement weather, he was glad to see the public enjoying themselves as he performed with his band mates.
“We actually played this [venue] a year-and-a-half ago in May and the crowd was a whole lot more lively this time,” he said. “It was raining outside still, but nice inside and it was great having everyone get up and dance. We had a little something for everyone.”
Du Preez added the ability to share his love of music with the public allows them to see a different side of the military.
“I think it brings kind of the softer side,” he said. “People think of the military – especially the Navy – as big ships, airplanes, missiles, bombs, all that kind of stuff; but we [also] share music. Hopefully it gives the impression that we’re still regular people and we like to have fun.”
Based at Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the PACFLT Band is made up of 45 Navy musicians who support nearly 600 engagements per year throughout the Pacific Fleet area of responsibility.