“You Were There”- Parris Island Marine Corps Band Nominated for Emmy

Faye Higbee
you were there

“You were there” is a song inspired by Lakin Pellon, a nurse in South Carolina who worked for hours and hours during the pandemic. It is performed by the Parris Island Marine Corps Band – and it’s nominated for an Emmy award. The winners will be revealed at a ceremony on June 18.

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It is the first time the Parris Island band was nominated for an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Southeast division). The 50 instrumentalists play for a variety of functions all up and down the Eastern seaboard. The composition was a collaboration – the brainchild of Mark Pellon, Chief Warrant Officer 3, the director of the band. He was inspired by the service of his wife Lakin Pellon, who is a nurse at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Mark Pellon’s LinkedIn Account references his background:

“As a Marine musician I have performed all over the world for crowds as large as 90,000 live viewers. I have lead ensembles in a wide range of musical styles and venues. Currently, I am the Musical Director and Officer in Charge for the Parris Island Marine Band.”

Mark Pellon, Graduate of the Armed Forces School of Music

The musical composition was written by Onsby Rose, a former Marine musician who now is the Director of Music at Dordt Univeristy in Iowa. The words for the narration were written by Staff Sgt. Victor Norris, a saxophonist in the band.


“You were there”- a tribute to pandemic front line workers

Prior to moving to Beaufort County, Lakin was working with COVID patients in Los Angeles, one of the most hard-hit areas in the country.

After the couple moved to South Carolina in June 2020, Lakin continued to work with COVID patients at Beaufort Memorial and Hilton Head hospitals, working at both because of COVD-19-related staffing demands.

“It was a very difficult thing to watch her go through,” Pellon said.

Watching the struggles of his wife, who continues to work at Beaufort Memorial, was the inspiration for the project, which is a salute to those working on the front lines, from doctors and nurses to grocery store workers to garbage collectors.

“The core message was that we Marines are typically the first responders when our nation calls,” Pellon said. “In a situation like this, we were not the ones who had to answer that call. It was our first responders.”


“Because you were there, your Marine Corps will always be ready…”


Featured screenshot via video of the song “You Were There.”

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