Band brings holiday cheer to children

Cpl. Michael Perdomo-Hazen, percussionist, Combat Center Band, lets Condor Elementary School students play his drums

Cpl. Michael Perdomo-Hazen, percussionist, Combat Center Band, lets Condor Elementary School students play his drums during a performance by the Bandini Brass Band Dec. 6, 2011. The ensemble is part of the Combat Center Band. This was their last solo performance of the year. By Cpl Andrew D. Thorburn

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (December 16, 2011) — The children of Condor Elementary School were in for a surprise during their lunch hour as members of the "Bandini Brass Band," an ensemble with the Combat Center Band, went a' caroling during their last solo performance of the year Dec. 6, 2011.

The ensemble played famous songs like "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" as the children sang along.

"I think it is a great opportunity for the kids to be exposed to the sound of the instruments and the Christmas spirit and to actually see them being played," said Paul Gadduso, principal, Condor Elementary. "For many of them, it is the first time they have seen a group like this."

During the two hours of playing and singing, the musicians took breaks to talk with the children.

"We just asked what they have planned for Christmas, if they have been good and what they asked Santa for Christmas," said Cpl. Michael Perdomo-Hazen, percussionist, Combat Center Band.

Perdomo-Hazen added that after the kids started to open up, they kept the conversation going until either he had to start playing again or they had to leave.

As the older kids arrived for the later lunch period, they began to not only sing along, but also dance with the music.

Some of the students even got to play along with the Marines and tested out their skills on the drums.

"As a kid I always wanted to play on the drums or on the instruments, so I thought it would be a good idea to let them do that," Perdomo said. "They love it. They made a big line just to see it."

As the lunch period came to an end, the Marines exited to the cheers and goodbyes from their new friends.

"The most rewarding thing is seeing the kids smile. It's a lot of fun to make sure they are having a good time and they are enjoying themselves," said Sgt. Kyle Ryle, sousaphone player.

For more photos from this event and others check out the Combat Center's Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/thecombatcenter.

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.