Marine Barracks 8th & I -- The holiday season is full of traditions, from trimming the tree and Christmas Carols, to the shopping rush and the occasional grinch. As the grass looses its green luster, the crowds of tourists fade and Christmas carols replace the afternoon rehearsals of the Drum and Bugle Corps, the Marines of "8th & I" participate in their own holiday traditions. One tradition that has been kept since the days of the civil war is the Marine Band’s New Year’s Day Serenade to the Commandant Of The Marine Corps. As tradition dictates, the ceremony was held in the back yard of the Commandant’s house. This year, General Michael W. Hagee and his guests stood on the back steps of the house as the Band marched into the elegant garden setting before them. The Drum Major of the Marine Corps Band, Master Sgt. Thomas D. Kohl marched the Marines into their positions and then handed the reigns over to Colonel Timothy W. Foley, Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Band. As in previous years, the memorable concert opened with the "Marines’ Hymn" followed by "The Stars and Stripes Forever." Staff Sgt. Kevin L. Bennear lent his operatic voice talents to "Bless This House." The serenade then closed with the Sousa March, "Semper Fidelis"With the holiday rush gone, decorations stored for another year, and gifts a memory, the tradition established nearly 140 years ago remains a part of Barracks history and customs.