The crowd cheers, the band members take a bow and with every flash of the camera the smiles of the proud Marines on stage get bigger and bigger.
The President’s Own Marine Band is in the middle of their month-long fall tour for the 123rd consecutive year since its inception in 1891.
The Fall Concert Tour was initiated by a Marine Corps and American music Legend, John Philip Sousa, who also served as the band’s 17th director and was affectionately known as “The March King.”
Following the tour’s establishment, the band has travelled every year during the month of September in order to further build, shape and improve the excellence and positive image of the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps music program.
“Being able to see the President’s Own Band was absolutely spectacular,” said Capt. Matthew Lamb, executive officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Indianapolis. “When you have a world renowned organization like the President’s Own Marine Band and you get to experience it first-hand in real life, it’s an absolute treat and is memorable for all.”
Since the band’s establishment, only 27 directors have served with the band, and they are currently performing under the command of their 28th director, Lt. Col. Jason Fettig.
“We loved performing here at Butler University,” said Fettig. “The support here was overwhelming, and it was truly a great show that was enjoyed by many.”
Those who attended felt equally as impressed with the quality of the performance.
“Their music selection was incredible,” Lamb said. “They went from slow-orchestrated pieces, to traditional selections like ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ or ‘Semper Fidelis March’ and then impressed the crowd with jazz pieces like ‘Oodles of Noodles’ and it really made for a great show.”
The band made their initial White House debut on New Year’s Day of 1801 following an invite from President John Adams.
After their New Year’s Day performance, the band was recruited to perform at the inauguration of President Thomas Jefferson and has been responsible for performing at every presidential inauguration since.
In addition to the fall tour, The President’s Own Marine Band is at every significant presidential event, parade or ceremony and they also perform about 200 times annually at The White House.
“The sense of pride and honor that we get by performing is unparalleled,” said Gunnery Sgt. Sara Dell’Omo, mezzo-soprano vocalist and concert moderator. “Every concert we do is a humbling experience, and I wake up every day happy to go to work.”
The President’s Own is uniquely dedicated to preserving the musical traditions of the Marine Corps but also is committed to serving as a leading ensemble in the development of their musicians.
The event is a great opportunity to meet promising musicians, but the inspiration to become one of “The President’s Own” will begin at a much younger point in each musician’s educational career.
Local Marine Corps Recruiting Stations receive tickets to each concert within their respective states for musicians to be afforded that opportunity.
“We received 109 tickets to give high school band directors the opportunity to see the band,” said Lamb. “Our hope is that it will in turn reenergize the students in their programs so we can put the next caliber of musicians into our local universities.”
Oceans come from rivers and streams and there has to be a starting point for everything, and with the technical expertise of our bands, the Marine Corps needs to begin looking for those young high school students who may excel and could eventually become a President’s Own band member one day, Lamb said.
For a full list of tour dates, locations, times and venues visit “The President’s Own Marine Band” Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/marineband.
To learn about becoming a part of the Marine Corps band visit: Marines.com.