CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- The III Marine Expeditionary Force Band was selected as the Marine Corps band of the year Dec. 18 by a panel of Headquarters Marine Corps judges.Bands from all over the Marine Corps compete for the prestigious award, which is given out annually. "We're all very proud of what we accomplished," said Lance Cpl. David V. Kelley, a bandsman with the III MEF band. "We're very happy with the work we put in and the results that have come from it. It is an honor to receive this award." The band put in long hours and late nights to become the best they could be, added Kelley. The recognition the band received can be tied to its work ethic and pride in what it does. "We train hard, practice hard, and do the best we can," said Staff Sgt. Austin R. Moore, training staff noncommissioned officer in charge and saxophone section leader. "If you always do your best, everything else will fall into place." Earning an award as competitive as Band of the Year takes more than natural talent; it takes a well-rounded group of Marines. Judges consider characteristics such as the band's training records, fitness scores, martial arts training, and recorded and live performances, according to Chief Warrant Officer Stephen B. Giove, the band officer in charge. The band has also been heavily involved in the local and regional community. It has performed in several countries in the region, including the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of Thailand and Guam. "The band's motto is friendship through music," said Giove. "That is what we do." After a brief period of rest during holiday leave, the band is back to work in preparation for another season packed with performances all over the region. "The challenge is to be as good or better than the band of the year," said Giove. "There is no finish line."
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