The Council of Italian-American Societies of Greater Bridgeport, Inc., is pleased to announce The Quantico Marine Corps Band will perform two free public concerts on Friday, October 11, and Saturday, October 12, as part of the Council’s annual Columbus Day Parade & Celebration.
A much-anticipated highlight of the week-long celebration, the concerts will take place at 6:45 p.m. each evening at the Klein Memorial Auditorium, 910 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport. The Oct. 11 concert, “We Remember,” will salute WWII and Korean War veterans, while the Oct. 12 performance, is dedicated to acknowledging the veterans of the Patriotic Guard and American Legion Riders who attend and give honor to the funerals of the U.S. military and first responders at the invitation of the decedent’s family. The band will offer special musical selections each night as part of the recognition.
“The Marines of the Quantico Marine Corps Band and myself are excited to spend time with the wonderful people of Bridgeport. This community has always welcomed the Marines into the family with open arms, sharing their stories and the historic legacy of the greater Bridgeport area. Our musical program for the concerts at the Klein Memorial Auditorium has a little bit for everybody. We look forward to sharing some good music with great people; see you all there!” CWO2 Randel S. Metzinger, Band Officer, Quantico Marine Corps Band.
Established in 1918, the Quantico Marine Corps Band is one of the oldest professional musical ensembles in the Marine Corps. The band is comprised of a ceremonial band and concert band equipped to provide musical support as directed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Commander of Marine Corps Base, Quantico. In addition, the band maintains a number of small ensembles, including a brass quintet, woodwind quintet, rock/show band, party band, and jazz combo.
With an authorized strength of one officer and 50 enlisted Marines, the band has performed at many civilian events, including the Super Bowl XLI Pregame Show, the 9/11 Memorials at Carnegie Hall and the Town Arts Theatre, Times Square and the Macy’s Thanksgiving and Columbus Day parades in New York City.
The band’s mission is to provide musical support that will encourage community relations, enhance troop morale and promote the Marine Corps recruiting program through its demanding performance schedule. The group plays classical to contemporary pieces at more than 350 performances annually across the Eastern seaboard. In 2018, the band traveled to Finland, where they participated in the International Tattoo Musical Festival with eight other countries represented.
Those in command of this year’s band are: Officer in Charge Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randel S. Metzinger; Master Sergeant Stacie Crowther, bandmaster; Staff Sergeant James Mathis, drum major; and both Gunnery Sergeant Kristopher P. Hutsell and Gunnery Sergeant Santwan Odom as the enlisted conductors.
The Marine Corps Band has performed in Bridgeport as part of the Columbus Day celebration for 29 years. The Council has dedicated the concerts to the memory of Vinny Vizzo, whose daughter Rose and brother Eddie have been instrumental in making the concerts possible.
Vizzo, an Army veteran who served during WWII in Africa, China, and India, was an active member of the Council and numerous other Italian-American organizations. For many years, he chaired Bridgeport’s Columbus Day Parade and, with current Council Treasurer Chris Caruso, he co-chaired the first Marine Corps Band performance at Captain’s Cove Marina in Bridgeport.
On March 3, 1988, Vizzo, 65, died of a heart attack after delivering an impassioned appeal to re-open the city’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs at a Bridgeport City Council public hearing. The office was re-opened and has continued serving the city’s veterans ever since.
In addition to the two public concerts, the Marine Corps Band will offer free performances at local high schools as well as perform in the 111th Bridgeport Columbus Day Parade.
While the public concerts are free, tickets are required. The public may pick up tickets at three locations in Bridgeport this year. They are; The Klein Memorial Auditorium Box Office, 910 Fairfield Avenue – (800) 424-0160 extension 2, option 3, The Crown Café, 2200 Madison Avenue (North End) – (203) 870-0705, and Port 5 Association of Naval Veterans, 69 Brewster Street (Black Rock) – (203) 576-9366. The concerts begin at 6:45 p.m. each evening, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Ample parking is available in the gated lot directly across the street from the Klein Memorial Auditorium.
Concertgoers are asked to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to veterans in need through the Office of Veterans’ Affairs.
“The Marine Band concerts are the most sought-after and popular traditions of the Columbus Celebration,” said Chris Caruso, treasurer of the Council. “For 29 years, they’ve become an integral part of the Bridgeport community calendar, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the concerts. The military precision, passion, skill and musical talent of the 50-plus Marines is quite an experience to see. Their variety of music is amazing. From jazz to patriotic favorites to popular tunes, you won’t leave disappointed. They’ll even have vocalists to entertain. Don’t delay. Get your tickets while they last!”
The concerts are part of a week-long celebration, including the John A. Arcudi, Esq., Columbus Leadership Awards, A Pasta Faggioli competition with area Italian restaurants, and the 111th Bridgeport Columbus Day Parade. For more information on the Bridgeport Columbus Day Parade & Celebration, contact Chris Caruso at Clc71424@yahoo.com, or (203) 362-9413, or follow us on Facebook @CelebrateColumbusBridgeport.
About the Council of Italian-American Societies of Greater Bridgeport:
The Council was officially formed on June 14, 1978, by John Arcudi, Mario Asdrubali, Dominic Cocco and George Puglisi. With the support of the Italian Community Center, the mission of the organization was to operate exclusively for charitable, literary and educational purposes with a strong emphasis on recognizing the contribution made to the United States of America by those who migrated here from Italy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
To achieve this goal, the Council continued the annual commemoration of Christopher Columbus which centered on Italian music, film, history, and culture. In 1979, the Council became the official sponsor of the Columbus Day Parade and carried on the Bridgeport tradition which began in 1908. In ensuing years, additional events were added as part of a larger Columbus Celebration. One, in particular, is our popular, much-sought-after and audience favorite, the annual Marine Corps Band Concert in loving memory of Vincent Vizzo, longtime Columbus Day Parade chairman and member of the Council. The Marine Band concerts have been held in his honor for 29 years.
Special thanks to all of our community-wide dedicated and caring sponsors and volunteers for making each and every one of these events such a success. Without you, it would not be possible. It is your hard work that has made this year’s Columbus Celebration such a memorable event and an asset to the Greater Bridgeport community’s annual calendar of events.