The Bonds of War
No Bond Without the Band
After expecting 75 prospects to show up for the first MCWRB audition and only having 15 women show up, the band would slowly grow to 48 members. These 48 women would become so much more than just a band, they would become a family. By the time they disbanded these women were so close many said it was easily the saddest part. Spending all their time together for 2 years straight, they had many shared experiences that few women had before them.
They didn’t have friends outside the band, so they would do things in groups. The band's director, Charlotte Plummer, was known for turning down a promotion twice because it would mean she couldn’t live in the barracks with the band. In those barracks they had such little room that “we couldn’t swing our legs out at the same time without hitting each other.” (Eleanor Jones)
"For each one of us the band came first, the music came first, before any personal needs or wants."
No Band Without a Bond
For two full years they slept, ate, marched, made music, and socialized together. Their bond was forged through highs and lows and even some very intense situations. One traumatic experience occurred while on a flight, the band members were told to put on parachutes because of ice in the plane's wings, and the risk of a potential crash was heightened. Other moments were not so intense. Like the countless hours aboard the infamous traveling bus where they would yell out to pedestrians and taxi drivers, spreading the word about their next show. In the evening, the group would occupy diners and coffee shops recounting the days events and looking forward to the following day's adventure, but it was always about the music. “We were truly a family. When one band member was down, we all were down. When it was good news, we were all up” (Eleanor Jones).
"After 60 years we are still a family."
The bond between members of the MCWR Band lasted long after they went their separate ways. After their years of traveling and performing together, the “marine family,” as Eleanor Jones called it, never lost touch. This is thanks to the efforts of Bonnie Smallwood Medin, one of the band members. Bonnie sent out a newsletter 4 times a year called the Quarter Note, which contained notes and letters from various members of the band and updated the others on their personal news well into the later stages of the bandmate's lives. Eleanor Jones expressed the band's relationship the best, saying: “we couldn’t have been a more disparate group, but the thing that made us close was music.”