This morning was a long morning. I was up at 0430 to get dressed and ready to head to breakfast at 0530. Then it was off to the band hall for formation at 0630. The ceremonial band loaded instruments and music stands on the bus and we headed to the Al Faw Palace. We had to be there early for the rehearsals and because of security. We got set up and then I read for a little while until the first rehearsal started. We don’t do much during rehearsals – just play a B flat chord where Honors and the Anthems go, and anything else we’ll be playing. We do ceremonies all the time, so we don’t need to rehearse, but it always gives the ceremony people a warm fuzzy when we’re there for high-end ceremony rehearsals. Between the 2 rehearsals and after the second one before the ceremony started, I got more reading done.
We played around a half hour of pre-music (various marches) and then the ceremony began. What ceremony?? It was the Multi-National Force – Iraq Change of Command. GEN Petraeus relinquished command to GEN Odierno (in case you don’t know officer abbreviations, GEN is General, which is 4-star General) with the Secretary of Defense as the presiding officer. The ceremony went very well and we all got coins from GEN Petraeus (before the ceremony actually). There were TONS of media there, and the flashes from all the cameras from those in attendance gave almost a strobe-light-like effect during some parts. This was one of the highest-profile ceremonies I’ve done in my career.
After the ceremony was over, we played various Division Songs (for Divisions that are or have been a part of MNF-I during GEN Petraeus’ time) and then a few more marches. Then it was done. We’d been at the Palace for almost 6 hours and we were tired. We load up the bus and got back to the band hall and were released to go to lunch (at 1300. . .) and had to be back at 1430. Most of the band was released for the day after doing details at 1430, but we had salsa band rehearsal. Back up. . . After I ate lunch, I stitched for a while and took a short nap. Then I did a few things on my computer and got caught up on e-mail from last night and this morning. Then it was off to a 2-hour salsa band rehearsal. We pretty much ran through our set for our gig on Thursday evening. And then when rehearsal was done, I headed back to my office to wrap up a few things before heading to dinner and then home to crochet on a baby blanket.
Off to bed now – early, but it’s been a LONG day.
Today’s high: 98
Current: 90 (9:50 p.m.)