School may be out, but that doesn’t mean Marine Band musicians have hung up their lesson plans for the summer. Several members are taking part in music camps and providing instruction and mentorship to the next generation of musicians. These appearances take place while Marine Band musicians are in a Permissive Temporary Additional Duty status, meaning they are at no cost to the government.
Principal percussion Master Gunnery Sgt. Mark Latimer is headed to Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington for the Summer Percussion Academy & Workshop run by percussion professor and department chair John Tafoya, also former principal timpani with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Latimer is a graduate of the Jacobs School and is eager to return as a former student and current military band musician. “As a member of ‘The President’s Own’ I am able to take my unique experiences to high school and college percussion students and introduce them to symphonic band music, the Marine Corps, and all there is about the Marine Band,” Latimer said. “Working with these kids also allows me to promote our annual concerto competition for up-and-coming high school students, an important program. I also give master classes, conduct a percussion ensemble, and perform on a faculty recital.”
Tafoya and Latimer have been friends and colleagues for many years and Tafoya is glad to welcome Latimer back to his old stomping grounds. “It is wonderful to have Mark at IU as he is very familiar with the music school layout and is able to assist me in a variety of ways during the summer week. He is also terrific with the students—an excellent educator and musician.” Tafoya added. “The secret to the success of this event lies in the variety of percussion areas covered—solo marimba, orchestral percussion, wind literature, drum set, jazz vibes, marching percussion, steel pan, and world percussion. This creates an intense week that has our students receiving hands on training in all of these areas.”
Trumpet and cornet player Staff Sgt. Robert Bonner will also be returning to his alma mater, Texas Tech University (TTU) in Lubbock, to teach at the TTU Band and Orchestra Camp. The camp staff organizes ensemble rehearsals, master classes, performances, and recitals for six bands, three orchestras, one jazz band, and many smaller ensembles. “I wanted to participate at the Texas Tech Band and Orchestra camp because it is a great program for middle and high school students to improve their musicianship and leadership within their music programs and schools,” Bonner said. “This particular camp was important because, not only is it my alma mater, but I feel that it’s worthwhile to give back to a program that did so much for me and my development.”
Tuba player Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Tiedeman and euphonium player Staff Sgt. Hiram Diaz will be helping with young low brass players at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. “It’s a privilege to be asked to work with these talented young artists,” Tiedeman said. “For me, summer camps played a large part in developing my love for the tuba and making music.” Merit students come from every income level and have the rare opportunity to learn, teach, and broaden horizons while building inspiring lives through music. Not only does the school help develop musicians, they provide their young people with the tools they need to excel in life and boast nearly 100% of graduates going on to a college or university. Tiedeman and Diaz will work with the musicians to focus on large and small ensemble playing and will showcase their skills with a concert on the last day of camp.
The ClarEssentials High School Clarinet Workshop, a four day summer camp designed for advanced high school clarinetists and bass clarinetists, will take place at the University of North Texas (UNT) and will feature UNT alum and guest artist Staff Sgt. Meaghan Kawaller. In addition to giving a clinic and performing a solo recital, Kawaller will be talking with students about her audition for the Marine Band and her life as a professional musician in the Marine Corps. “I was so excited to be invited as the guest artist for the University of North Texas ClarEssentials summer camp,” Kawaller said. “I love getting to work with students who have an interest in becoming professional musicians and educators. I think it is really important for us to give back to the communities that taught us so much, and as a North Texas alum, I’m thrilled to be able to go back and represent the band in this capacity.”
These are just a small sampling of the educational outreach activities performed by members of “The President’s Own.” For more information about the Concerto Competition for High School Musicians, please visit http://www.marineband.marines.mil/About/ConcertoCompetition.aspx