On parade in Apia.

On parade in Apia.

As you know from my prior posts, the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet Band came to Samoa all the way from their base in Yokosuka, Japan to help us celebrate Samoa’s 50thIndependence Day.

Among the Navy’s finest, the twenty visiting musicians played in numerous concerts, parades, parties, and other events on both Upolu and Savaii islands, including in outlying areas that don’t usually get to see visiting performers or officials.

I am always particularly focused on showing our visitors Savaii, one of my favorite parts of Samoa. We sent the Band across from Upolu on the ferry, and they played their first performance — spontaneously – at the Salelologa Market.

The impromptu two-hour show was a big hit with morning shoppers and local children, who in turn thoroughly impressed our musicians with their enthusiasm, affection, and hospitality. It was a marvelous way to introduce our visitors to the special warmth, charm, and rhythm of Samoan society.

I firmly embrace the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. So rather than type out more text, I’ll share below a few of my favorite photos from the Band’s adventures around Samoa.

Performing at Salelologa Market.

Performing at Salelologa Market.

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

Several fans and someone still making up his mind.

Several fans and someone still making up his mind.

Performing in Iva village.

Performing in Iva village.

Marching past the reviewing stand at Independence Day opening ceremonies.

Marching past the reviewing stand at Independence Day opening ceremonies.

Marching along the waterfront in the parade of floats.

Marching along the waterfront in the parade of floats.

One of the beautiful village floats in the parade.

One of the beautiful village floats in the parade.

Playing at a reception on board the USS Chafee after the Prime Minister and I signed a Shiprider Agreement.

Playing at a reception on board the USS Chafee after Samoa's Prime Minister and I signed a Shiprider Agreement.

A traditional Samoan fautasi races past the USS Chafee berthed in Apia Harbor.

A traditional Samoan fautasi races past the USS Chafee berthed in Apia Harbor.

Naval keyboard specialist entertains guests at the official State Dinner, held at the historic Robert Louis Stevenson House.

Naval keyboard specialist entertains guests at the official State Dinner held at the historic Robert Louis Stevenson House.

Guests at the State Dinner. Bonus points for locating Dr McWaine, the Deputy Prime Minister, the French Ambassador, the Papal Nuncio, my Chargé Chad, the Australian High Commissioner, and at least three Members of the New Zealand Parliament.

Guests at the State Dinner. You get bonus points for locating Dr McWaine, the Deputy Prime Minister, the French Ambassador, the Papal Nuncio, my Chargé Chad, the Australian High Commissioner, and at least three Members of the NZ Parliament.

A few of the musicians taking a little time off.

A few of the musicians taking a little time off.

Taking time for a photo with a new friend during a break from shopping.

Taking time for a photo with a new friend during a break from shopping.

The photos say it all. Music was played. Hands were clapped. Parades were marched. Sights were seen. Shopping occurred. Smiles proliferated. And friends were made. I can’t imagine a better way to have celebrated Samoa’s Golden Jubilee.