JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.71

SPECIAL FEATURE

SDF Marching Festival 2015

SDF Marching Festival 2015
SDF Marching Festival 2015

With energetic music and mellow songs echoing throughout autumn-colored Tokyo, the SDF Marching Festival 2015 took place at the Nippon Budokan hall for three days from November 13th to 15th. The festival is the SDF’s largest music event held annually around November as part of the SDF Day commemoration. This year, it was the first time that bands from all four services of the U.S. Forces Japan participated in the Festival. In addition, the Republic of Korea Navy Band took part as an overseas guest band. Hence, the largest-ever five guest bands performed at the Festival.

The festival this year has been memorable with the theme “ROAD.” The year of 2015 is a transit point marking the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. We confirm our path, which has been taken up until now, as a peace-loving nation. The theme was selected in the hope that Japan, the U.S. and the ROK, will go forward hand in hand with our path more and more in the future.

SDF Marching Festival 2015

The Festival consisted of three chapters: “Road of Sky, Earth, and Hope,” “Road of Earth, Ocean, and Infinity,” and “Road of Ocean, Future, and Bonds.” Splendid harmony was delivered by the GSDF Central Band, the MSDF Tokyo Band, the ASDF Central Band, and the GSDF North Eastern and Middle Army Bands as well as special guest bands such as the U.S. Army Japan Band, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Band, the U.S. 7th Fleet Band, and the U.S. Air Force Band of the Pacific-Asia. The ROK Navy Band also took part, and it was their 2nd time to participate in the SDF Marching Festival. Along with the band performances,

SDF Marching Festival 2015
silent drill by the GSDF 302nd Military Police Company, fancy drill by the National Defense Academy, and taiko drum performance by the SDF Japanese Drum Teams fascinated audiences with its unity and powerfulness.

The event culminated when a song “ROAD,” this year’s theme, was sung by all the bands and audiences at hall as one. Audiences left the venue, and they were totally fascinated and utterly impatient for the next year’s marching festival.

SDF Marching Festival 2015
SDF Marching Festival 2015
SDF Marching Festival 2015
SDF Marching Festival 2015

Interviews with Band Members

The United States Army Japan Band (SGT Joel Heredia)

Q: What is your impression on the SDF bands?

A: My impressions of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are that they are so impressive. When I see the discipline and as I get to know them ? I saw them in the hallway passing today and I have known them for a little while now. We always smile and we always bow and we shake hands and we hug each other. I think they are wonderful people. Their music is very, very good. I really appreciate what they display at Budokan and when we play together.

The Republic of Korea Navy Band (PO3 Young-Jun Hwang)

Q: What is music for you?

A: Music is a language that I can speak. It is a way to communicate with other people. I think this is an amazing experience in my life because I can see many cultures of other countries here. I can also learn a lot of things from them. We talk to each other and share stories, becoming friends with each other. Besides, there are a lot of things that I can tell. Anyway, I feel really lucky and happy. This will be an unforgettable experience in my life.

ASDF Central Band (TSgt Yasushi Tsukamoto)

Q: What is your impression on other bands?

A: Both of bands from the U.S. and the Republic of Korea orchestrate their cultures and music in their each performance. I felt again that music is global common language regardless of countries and languages.

Q: What is music for you?

A: Music is source of energy and vitality. I think that music has wonderful power to encourage and relieve people.

SDF Marching Festival 2015
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