Established by an act of Congress in 1798 and dubbed “The President’s Own” by Thomas Jefferson, the United States Marine Band is America’s oldest professional musical organization. The band’s 2012 U.S. tour brought them to campus yesterday for a public concert in Farley Field House.
The Marine Band provides music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The organization made its White House debut in 1801 at the invitation of President John Adams. It then performed at Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration the following March, and has performed for every presidential inaugural since.
Whether performing for South Lawn arrival ceremonies, State Dinners or receptions, Marine Band musicians appear at the White House more than 200 times each year. These performances range from a solo harpist or chamber orchestra to a dance band or full concert band. Additionally, the band participates in more than 500 public and official performances annually.
Each fall, the Marine Band travels throughout a region of the United States during its concert tour, a century-old tradition initiated by “The March King” John Philip Sousa, the band’s legendary 17th director.
Most Marine Band members are graduates of the nation’s finest music schools, and nearly 60 percent hold advanced degrees in music. Members are selected at auditions much like those of major symphony orchestras, and they enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps for duty with the Marine Band only.
Photos by Dennis Griggs