Submitted by: Tom Mueller
Band of America’s Few, Inc. is a non-profit organization under the provisions of Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) and credits its founding in 2009 to its director and chief executive officer, Master Gunnery Sergeant Matthew R. Farquhar, United States Marine Corps (Retired). Our vision? To be the premier performing association for Veteran Marine Corps musicians, preserving and enhancing the time-honored traditions of military musicians, using representative music to inspire and instill patriotism.
Members of Band of America’s Few, or affectionately known as BAF'ers, join together in camaraderie to preserve and advance the musical culture of the United States Marine Corps and United States military bands through exemplary performance, patriotic and community enriching service work to engender American patriotism and freedom through musical performances at concerts, parades, ceremonies and military funeral honors, and by rendering acts of community-enriching service. Past notable events include the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo; Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Leatherneck Ball; Columbus, OH Honor Flight for the Military Order of the Purple Heart; United States Air Force Memorial; National Museum of the Marine Corps; Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival; Fortissimo - Ottawa, Canada; Mardi Gras; and the largest Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in the world, the Lewis B "Chesty" Puller VFW Post 1503. During Memorial Day weekend 2019, members will assemble in Saint Louis, MO to perform a concert that honors the "Heroes Among Us," the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this nation, as well as the local heroes, the first responders, who defend and protect our communities and neighborhoods.
Band of America's Few boasts membership of men and women, active duty and reserve, retired and honorably discharged, officer and enlisted who have earned the title "United States Marine" and equally important, Marine Corps musician. Despite the similarities in uniforms, Band of America's Few is not affiliated or endorsed by the United States Marine Corps. Its members, nonetheless are proud of their Marine Corps heritage and consider it an honor and a privilege to tell the Marine Corps story through music. Although no longer carrying a rifle in one hand and a musical instrument in the other, the vast majority of members have transitioned back to civilian life and pursued careers in education, law, business, healthcare, first responders and government civil servants, to name only a few. What makes Band of America’s Few unique? It does not have a “home” or regular rehearsal location. BAF'ers travel to a location and typically after a day or two of rehearsal, perform their music, to give back to this great country.
The genesis for Band of America's Few was the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo (RNSIT), in Halifax, Canada. For many years a United States Marine Corps band represented the United States at the Tattoo. During the 1990s, however, the Department of Defense modified its public affairs guidance, which prevented United States military bands stationed in the United States from performing abroad during national holidays, particularly Independence Day/July 4th. As such, and for close to a decade, the United States was not represented among the many nations at the RNSIT. Things changed when an individual closely involved with the RNSIT contacted Matthew Farquhar and asked about the possibility of putting out a call to former Marine Corps musicians to come to Halifax. Matt would not be deterred by the challenge to represent the United States at the Tattoo. Matt used a relatively new social media called, "Facebook" to post an announcement and rally the "troops" to come to Canada. In true Devil Dawg fashion, almost 65 veteran Marine Corps musicians, ranging from 25 to 60 years of age answered the call and dedicated three weeks of time and personal expense for rehearsals and seven evening performances at the 2010 Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. The tenacity, determination and esprit de corps of all those assembled once again ensured the United States of America was represented well at this prestigious international event. Their exemplary honor, courage and commitment ensured this experiment in music would continue to astound many for years to come.
You can learn more about Band of America’s by following us on Facebook or going to our website at http://bandofamericasfew.com.
About the author:
Master Gunnery Sergeant Tom Mueller, USMC (Retired) served 26 years as a Marine Corps musician. While on active duty, he served as a tuba and electric bass player and drum major. He also served two tours as an instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music, and retired from Headquarters Marine Corps in 2007 as the Senior Enlisted Marine for the Marine Corps Music Program. In addition to his day job and local community service, Tom volunteers his time as the Band of America's Few chief operating officer, drum major, and tuba player.