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US Marine Corps band woos crowd with Original Sabahan
Published on: Saturday, August 18, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Blending jazz with a local Sabahan song, Original Sabahan by Atmosfera, made audience forget the heat and start dancing when it was performed by the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Band.

Making their appearance for the first time in Sabah, the third MEF Band is the sole musical representative of the United States Marine Corps in the East Asia and Pacific Region with nine members.

The Band's Leader Sergeant Colin Deeter said each member had been playing their respective instrument for two to 26 years and have enjoyed performing across the region despite their hectic schedule.

It has only been a week since their stayed in Sabah and the band has mastered to combine their usual Jazz touch with the local Sabahan element which they have performed artistically.

"We only practised the song (Original Sabahan) last week for one hour and performed in a school the following day. And we have played the song for 10 times in different places. "We have heard the lyrics and I know the first few words and that is it. The music was really enjoyable," Deeter said.

The band comprised Lance Corporal Alex Ilgenfritz, 24, who plays the alto saxophone, Sergeant Jesse Sylvester, 27, with the trombone, Staff Sergeant Matthew Duncan, 31, with the tuba, Corporal Michael Frake, 21, with the percussions, Sergeant Zak Reed, 33, with trumpet, Corporal Danny Talob, 30 as the tenor saxophonist.

Sergeant Mark Gulotta, 24, as the band's drummer with Sergeant Dan Miller 31, with the trumpet and Deeter as the trombone player.

He also said that they had previously performed in Lumut, Perak before journeying to Sabah to present their musical talent. Meanwhile, United States of America Embassy Environment, Science and Technology Officer West Follmer said the band is in Kota Kinabalu in conjunction with the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Exercise Carat) which is a series of annual bilateral military exercises conducted by the United States Pacific Fleet with several member nations of Asean.

He said the exercise is aimed to enhance regional cooperation, friendship building and to strengthen professional skills and to show appreciation over the US-Malaysia relationship that have lasted for years.

Vivien Lee, who is the Political Secretary to Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, said the performance carried out by the MEF band will surely promote Sabah. Lee hoped that the band will foster and strengthen the good relations between Sabah and the United States.

"This is a good platform to forge closer collaboration and cooperation amongst us," she said.

Also present were Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai and Likas Assemblyman Tan Lee Fatt, among others. - Jeremy S Zabala

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