Story by Rosario Urquieta on 07/19/2017CALIFORNIA U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 63rd Regional Support Command celebrated Independence Day by performing in concerts and participating in parades for the 4th of July. On July 3, the 191st Army Band, 300th Army Band, and the 395th Army Band gave an opening performance for the public in downtown Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The bands collectively participated in a parade that began at the entrance of the park and ended by It's a Small World After All' amusement ride. More than 50 Army Reserve band members took part in the Independence Day celebration.
"It was fun, we began to prepare for the show since April, and practiced a set of music which included Disney tunes," said Staff Sgt. Ming Huang, 191st Army Band.
"It is an honor to perform as an Army Reserve bands' member in the celebration of Independence Day," said Huang.
Independence Day, is a day to celebrate who we are as a nation, and as a people. The U.S. Army Reserve bands under the 63rd RSC did just that. The bands went from performing and marching in Disneyland to marching and playing music in downtown Pacific Palisades.
"Both parades were great, but parades that celebrate the 4th of July seem to be a little more special. It is really nice to experience, to see just how happy and proud the audience is, and just being represent not only the Army Reserve, but our country," said Sgt. Daniel Cech, 191st Army Band, U.S. Army Reserve, "It was really cool seeing the reactions at Disneyland yesterday, and seeing their reactions today at Pacific Palisades. It is an honor to be able to play and perform for our country, and for the Army. It represents everything that we have accomplished in the last 242 years."
According to Cech, performing in the U.S. Army Reserve Band has been one of the most rewarding careers that he has had. He enjoys it so much that he plans on furthering his professional goals by becoming a warrant officer with the Army Reserve band. Cech's involvement with the 191st Army Band has allowed him to see and experience music in a way that he only dreamed of, and because of his knowledge and skill sets in the band, he has been in for seven years with plans to stay in a little longer.
"I got to go to Disneyland and play music to celebrate 4th of July, for our country. The added bonus was being able to do something that I love and share it with all these people," said Cech.
As he played and marched in the parades to celebrate the 4th of July, one band member with the 395th Army Band out of Mustang, Oklahoma observed how music brought joy and happiness to the parade audience.
CW4 Martin Marks (Marty), 395th Army Band out of Mustang, Oklahoma has been in the military since 1983. Marty originally joined the Army as a band member yet continues to serve after almost 35 years of service.
"It was a tremendous honor, we have so much to celebrate, so much to be grateful for. And sometimes we to be reminded of that, and I think that's what the Army bands do best. When people are hurting, when people are suffering, when people are thinking about the inhumanity that goes with the need for defense. A 4th of July celebration with a band out there, reminds folks of how great we got it. It is a way of just bringing you back to a right reality," said Marty.
"It was like a dream come true, I was seeing things around Disneyland that I remember seeing on a black and white nine-inch tv as a kid, and I was thinking boy wouldn't it be a thrill to be there someday' and so there I am," said Marty.
As the Army bands marched down the designated parade streets, children and adults alike would turn and look at the bands passing by without skipping a beat, and as they passed children waved their U.S. Flags smiled and pointed.
"I am not as entranced about getting on rides and the things that I was when I was a kid. But, being around all those over joyed children, seeing how thrilled they are to be there, and the looks of awe in their eyes, that was a delight. It's an opportunity to use their musical skills to make this country a better place. To do what music does, to bring joy and reconciliation, and healing and maybe even a little bit of forgiveness, and to do it by using your talents. It has been a tremendous privilege, and I count myself very fortunate to still be in the business of doing it," said Marty with a smile.
The street sidewalks were lined with hundreds of people waving U.S. Flags and wearing patriotic shirts, face paint, and hair that celebrated Independence Day. Joyous children with cotton candy and candied apples dressed in red, white and blue laughed and played as the parade continued on to celebrate our nation.