Nepalese, III MEF Band play in harmony

Nepalese, III MEF Band play in harmony

by Cpl. Terry Brady
Okinawa Marine Staff

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- The Nepalese Army Band and the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band performed a combined concert at the Nepalese Army Headquarters Feb. 21 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Upon the request of U.S. Ambassador to Nepal Peter W. Bodde, the III MEF Band traveled there to participate in a bilateral training exercise and public performance between the two forces.

Since the event marked the first time the III MEF Band has performed in Nepal, the intent of the concert was to strengthen bonds between Nepal and the U.S. through means other than humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts and drills, according to Chief Warrant Officer Joshua A. Stone, the officer in charge of the III MEF Band.

The event was a continuation of the positive relationship between the U.S. and Nepalese governments. The Marine Corps has recently conducted HA/DR training with the Nepalese government in an effort to prepare for environmental-related disasters.

“This event is a community relations event to continue to develop rapport with the Nepalese Army,” said Stone.
The concert featured an audience of government officials, including Bodde, Nepalese Army Gen. Gaurav Shumsher J.B. Rana, the Nepal Army chief, and local Kathmandu community members, who came to understand and appreciate the significance of the two bands performing together.

According to officials, the lineage of the Nepalese Army Band plays a vital role in inspiring the (Nepalese) troops and ensuring morale remains high.

The bands started the performance by playing each country’s national anthem, symbolizing the continuing bond between the U.S. and Nepal.

“Since we now have relations (with Nepal), we’re doing cross-training and performing with the band,” said Stone. “We want to continue response efforts and exercises, but we also want to build an alliance with the Nepalese Army Band.”

Though each band was given only a few weeks to rehearse their musical pieces, the bands addressed early concerns by practicing each other’s methods of playing music, including allowing the conductors of each band to lead all the musicians.

“Though we have played many types of music and have played at the U.S. embassy, we learned many things from each other,” said Nepalese Army Lt. Col. Amul Karki Dhali, the director of music for the Nepalese Army Band. “This is a very good opportunity to play together.”

Having learned from each other in the days preceding the event, the band members understood each other’s musical capabilities.

“Music is a universal language between musicians,” said Cpl. David V. Kelley, a musician with the III MEF Band. “I do not know any (Nepali), but I was able to understand how (they play) music.”

The bands received a warm ovation in appreciation for their concert performance.

“I really enjoyed the concert,” said Sep Shyam Sundar Shrestha, an event attendee. “The (III MEF Band) performed our music very well.”

After the concert, the bands discussed their performance at the event and expressed their gratitude for the opportunity, as well as hopes for future performances together.

“I am happy (about the concert) and the professionalism the bands had,” said Dhali. “We hope to hold this event with the bands in the future.”

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