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Staff Sgt. Mark A. Pellon, a saxophonist for the 2nd Marine Division Band, works with fellow band members on a musical piece aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 22, 2011. Pellon has made the Marine Corps All-Star all Marine Jazz Band for two consecutive years. U.S. Marine Corps photo by

Photo by Lance Cpl. Walter D. Marino II

Marine Saxophonist chosen for All–Star Jazz Band

25 Mar 2011 | Lance Cpl. Walter D. Marino II

Skillfull military melodies filled the air aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 22, 2011, as the 2nd Marine Division Band performed their morning warm-ups. However, according to Staff Sgt. Mark A. Pellon, who was orchestrating the music, they are continuously working to improve in unison.

Heads from the band nodded in agreement and immediately changed their tune to near perfection.

“I’ve learned a lot from Pellon,” said Cpl. Ryan S. Mathis, a clarinet player in the Band. “He does his best to motivate others to do their best.”

As a senior Marine in the Division Band, Pellon leads by example. For two consecutive years, Pellon has made the ‘Marine Corps All–Star Jazz Band’, a unit comprised of the best musicians in the Corps.

These elite musicians are selected based off their musical skills and once selected, come together from across the Corps to give performances to the public. Last year, the jazz team played at the Daytona 500 and at Valdosta State University in Georgia.

There number one concern is to properly represent the Marine Corps said Pellon.

“We show that the Marine Corps has options – you can become a skilled war fighter and play music.”

In addition to representing the Marine Corps with Music, Pellon has also involved himself in mixed martial arts and volunteers his time to charity.

At the Combat Club Martial Arts and Fitness gym, when Pellon is not preparing for a fight, he devotes himself to ‘In the Cage for Kids,’ a non-profit organization that provides martial arts training and equipment for children with illnesses and special needs.

“There is one kid we have who struggles to walk properly but when he comes into the gym he looks like a road-runner,” said Pellon happily. “He has the time of his life. His father struggles every time to get him out of the gym.”

Whatever Pellon does he exhibits a relentless work ethic that is noticed by fellow Marines.

“He’s an over-achiever, he goes 110%,” said Sgt. Daniel A. Quiroga, a euphonium player for the band. “He’s always working out. He has a lot more energy than I do.”

Whether it’s making the Marine Corps All–Star Jazz Team or being involved at a local gym, Pellon believes it’s important to be open to learn new things and always do your best.

“I even remember when I had to play Polka music once,” said Pellon with a laugh. “But I excelled, and it was an experience.”