Presidential band stops at West Brook

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band made a tour stop in Beaumont for a concert open to the public on one night only, Saturday, Oct. 3. According to Marine Staff Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali, the concert was held as part of the band’s 2015 national concert tour, performing at the Beaumont Independent School District’s West Brook High School Performing Arts Center. The concert, sponsored by the West Brook High School Band, was free, and attendees of all ages packed the auditorium for the performance.

Ghadiali says the band consists of 66 members – woodwinds, brass, percussion, bass, keyboards, a vocalist, a director and assistant director, and supporting crewmembers. Usually stationed in Washington DC to perform for the president of the United States and the commandant of the Marine Corps, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will have traveled 3,920 miles throughout the South and Southwest, performing 29 concerts in 11 states, with stops in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, by the end of the tour.

Attendees to the concert were treated to a musical feast under Marine Band Director Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig, who chose a diverse mix of programs from traditional band repertoire and Sousa marches to instrumental solos and a salute to the Armed Forces – to showcase the band’s vast range of performance ability as well as celebrate the host venue’s cultural background.

“We always try to highlight music on our programs that celebrates the region we are visiting, whether it be marches that provide a connection or folk music that might be associated with certain areas of the country,” Fettig said, or something else. “We have tremendously appreciative patrons who come to Marine Band concerts for all types of different experiences, so our programs are designed to include a great variety of music that mirrors the wonderful diversity in our national musical heritage.”

According to information provided by Ghadiali, “The President’s Own” is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. Established by an Act of Congress in 1798, the band has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. Marine Band musicians appear at the White House an average of 200 times each year. These performances range from small ensembles such as a solo pianist, jazz combo or brass quintet to a country band, dance band or full concert band. Musicians are selected at auditions much like those of major symphony orchestras, and they enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps for permanent duty with the Marine Band. Most of today’s members are graduates of the nation’s finest music schools, and more than 60 percent hold advanced degrees in music.