On Sunday, December 18, 2016, the 126th Army Band performed its holiday concert at the Belmont National Guard Armory. The concert featured traditional and contemporary holiday music set to a narrated story of a Soldier deployed far from home during the Christmas holiday. The band performed to a full house in its home armory and featured performances by the full band, as well as Musical Performance Teams made up of members of the band. The 126th Army Band’s MPTs are smaller performing groups and include a rock band, brass quintet, and an a cappella vocal ensemble. They specialize in playing a wide variety of musical styles and are smaller and more easily deployable than the full band.
126th Army Band performs their holiday concert at the Belmont National Guard Armory, with the inclusion of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots donation box, December 18, 2016. (Michigan National Guard photo courtesy of the 126th Army Band/Released)
An important highlight of Sunday’s performance was the inclusion of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots donation box, which was placed in the lobby of the Belmont Armory. Sgt. Benjamin Bosse of the Marine Corps Reserve in Grand Rapids spoke to the audience about Toys for Tots, which helps less fortunate families provide Christmas presents for their children. He said, “Collecting donations for Toys for Tots is a way for the Marine Corps Reserve to give back support to the community in appreciation for the support the community provides to us.” The Toys for Tots program collects new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
The 126th Army Band plans to continue its partnership with the Toys for Tots Program in years to come. By the end of Sunday’s concert, guests had filled the donation box to the top. All guests experienced an event filled with good music, a positive message of holiday giving, and the opportunity to help the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and the 126th Army Band give support back the community. For more information about Toys for Tots, visit the Grand Rapids, Mich., Toys for Tots website at http://grand-rapids-mi.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/Default.aspx or call Marine coordinator Staff Sgt. James MacKenzie at 616-570-1600.