Photo Information

Eileen Dwyer performs scales for Gunnery Sgt. Jason Knuckles, 9th Marine Corps District Marine band placement director, during a practice audition in front of her high school music class March 26. Dwyer is a senior at Duluth East High School and hopes to one day play with the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps. For additional imagery from the audition, visit

Photo by Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook

Duluth East trumpeter auditions for Marine band during high school music class

30 Mar 2012 | Staff Sgt. Clinton Firstbrook 9th Marine Corps District

Eileen Dwyer showed off her trumpet skills in front of fellow high school students while auditioning for the Marine Corps band March 26.

The 20-year-old Duluth East senior played a small excerpt of a concerto and various major and relative minor scales during her wind ensemble class for Gunnery Sgt. Jason Knuckles, 9th Marine Corps District band placement director.

"I always get nervous when I play in front of my peers," Dwyer said. "I can perform in front of teachers and complete strangers no problem, but it's different with my class."

Even though she has been playing for seven years, the Duluth, Minn., native, only started working to become a Marine musician last December.

"She has the initiative and drive that we look for in an applicant," said Gunnery Sgt. Alice Park, Recruiting Substation Duluth's staff non-commissioned officer in charge. "From private lessons to daily practice sessions, she's doing every thing she can to become a better musician."

Just to pass the audition, potential bandmembers must perform sight reading, a  prepared classical solo and all major, natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor scales.

"We're not there yet, but she knows it takes a tremendous amount self-discipline and practice to meet all of the requirements," said Knuckles, who was touring the area with a Marine Jazz Combo. "As long as she continues to put in the effort, we'll help her achieve her goal."

Park, 31, from Gurnee, Ill., believes it's only a matter of time as Dwyer is no stranger to the Duluth recruiting office. In fact, Dwyer started stopping by at seven years old to sell girls scout cookies.  

"Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be a Marine," Dwyer said. "Most of my family has served in one of the branches. My sister is a Marine, my brother is in the Air Force and my dad just retired from the Air Guard. The Marine Corps is the perfect place to make great music and serve my country."

For additional imagery from her audition, visit

9th Marine Corps District