An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Marine Band History
The Marine Band was founded on July 11, 1798 by an Act of Congress. This page is a historical timeline of the Marine Band.

JULY 11, 1798
In the nation’s capital of Philadelphia, President John Adams signed an Act of Congress establishing the United States Marine Band. The original “32 drummers and fifers” assisted in recruiting Marines and entertained residents.

AUGUST 21, 1800
The Marine Band presented its first public concert in Washington “on a hill overlooking the Potomac” near the future site of the Lincoln Memorial. Early settlers thronged to hear the “Marines’ band of music.”

JANUARY 1, 1801
The band made its White House debut in the unfinished Executive Mansion at a New Year’s Day reception hosted by President John Adams and First Lady Abigail John Adams.

MARCH 4, 1801
The Marine Band performed for Thomas Jefferson’s inaugural. Jefferson, an avid music lover and amateur violinist, is credited with giving the Marine Band the title “The President’s Own.” Since that time, the band has played for every Presidential inaugural.

MARCH 4, 1809
The Marine Band performed for James Madison’s Presidential inaugural ball, the first ever held. The President, First Lady Dolley Madison, and their guests were serenaded by popular songs and dances of the period.

JULY 4, 1828
The Marine Band performed for the groundbreaking of the C & O Canal with President John Quincy Adams in attendance. Newspapers reported, “Airs from the Marine Band lightened the toil.”

MAY 29, 1829
As President Andrew Jackson departed a ceremony celebrating the laying of the cornerstone of the first lock on the C&O Canal, the Marine Band played “Hail to the Chief.” This was the first documented use of “Hail to the Chief” by the Marine Band to honor a President of the United States.

JULY 4, 1848
The Marine Band participated in ceremonies celebrating the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument.

NOVEMBER 19, 1863
The band accompanied President Lincoln to Gettysburg for the dedication of the National Cemetery and his immortal Gettysburg Address. During the Civil War, the Marine Band lifted spirits with concerts in Lafayette Park across from the White House.

OCTOBER 1, 1880
25-year-old John Philip Sousa was appointed 17th Leader, a post he held for 12 years. During this time, the band made its first concert tour, premiered many of Sousa’s most famous marches, and produced some of the first phonograph recordings ever made.

OCTOBER 28, 1886
John Philip Sousa and the U.S. Marine Band led President Grover Cleveland and more than 20,000 marchers down 5th Avenue and Broadway on the way to New York Harbor for the unveiling ceremony of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World.

APRIL 22, 1889
President Benjamin Harrison ordered the Marine Band to perform for the first time at the White House Easter Egg roll, a tradition initiated by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878.

MAY 17, 1922
Music of “The President’s Own” reached homes across the nation when the first Marine Band radio program was broadcast. Other broadcasts continued, including “The Dream Hour,” which became the longest sustaining program on network radio.

MAY 20, 1943
The band performed a special wartime concert on the White House South Lawn for President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Despite a steady rain, Roosevelt and Churchill stayed throughout and sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” with the band at the conclusion.

NOVEMBER 25, 1963
As the nation mourned and the world watched, the Marine Band, at the request of Mrs. Kennedy, led the funeral procession of President John F. Kennedy.

MAY 16, 1973
The Marine Band enlisted its first female member, a French horn player from Saginaw, Mich.

NOVEMBER 26-27, 1985
The Marine Band performed its first ever concert overseas at De Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

JULY 4, 1986
Amid fireworks and celebration, the Marine Band performed in New York City for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty, recreating the band’s performance under John Philip Sousa for the original dedication ceremonies 100 years earlier.

FEBRUARY 6-23, 1990
Combining music of Sousa with images of Lenin, the Marine Band toured five cities in the former Soviet Union, becoming the only American military band to tour the USSR before its transformation into independent states.

JUNE 8 & 10, 1991
“The President’s Own” performed for approximately 200,000 live and television viewers at the National Victory Parade in Washington, D.C., and June 10 at the Operation Welcome Home Parade in New York. The celebrations honored the men and women who served in Operation Desert Storm.

“The President’s Own” marked the centennial of its annual concert tour, initiated in 1891 by 17th Marine Band Director John Philip Sousa.

MAY 1993
“The President’s Own” celebrated the 20th anniversary of women in the band. Its first female member, French hornist Ruth Johnson was enlisted in May 1973.

JANUARY 20, 1997
Marine Band participated in its 50th Presidential Inauguration. From President Jefferson to the present, “The President’s Own” has participated in Inaugural events for nearly 200 years.

APRIL 24, 1997
Dr. Frederick Fennell conducted a full concert by the Marine Band at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphoniy Hall in Baltimore. The event marked the first time a guest conductor led an entire performance of “The President’s Own.”

JANUARY 26, 1998
The Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, guest conducted “The President’s Own” in concert at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

MAY 24, 1998
“The President’s Own” was the first musical institution inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in Cincinnati. Events included a gala performance by “The President’s Own” at the Cincinnati Music Hall.

JULY 11, 1998
The Marine Band celebrated its 200th anniversary with a command performance at the White House and gala concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., attended by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Also in 1998, the Marine Band produced its special 10-disc Bicentennial recording collection.

Marine Band welcomed guest conductors James Sinclair and Gunther Schuller to the podium.

JUNE 8, 1999
President Bill Clinton promoted Marine Band Director Timothy Foley to the rank of colonel in an Oval Office ceremony, marking the first promotion of a Marine Band director by the President of the United States.

APRIL 16, 2000
Guest conductor Frank Battisti led “The President’s Own” in concert at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax, Va.

AUGUST 21, 2000
Marine Band celebrated 200 years of Washington, D.C., performances. The band moved to Washington in 1800, when the nation’s capital was relocated from Philadelphia.

NOVEMBER 9, 2000
The Marine Chamber Orchestra performed for the White House bicentennial celebration which was attended by all the living Presidents.

JANUARY 20, 2001
The Marine Band marked its 200th year of participating in the Presidential Inauguration, performing for the Inaugural of President George W. Bush. The band performed “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America, the Beautiful” with the DuPont Manuel High School Choir from Louisville, Ky.

JULY 12-14, 2001
“The President’s Own” performed at the Luzern Culture and Convention Center in Luzern, Switzerland, in conjunction with the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles conference. The Marine Band premièred composer David Rakowski’s Pulitzer Prize nominated work, Ten of a Kind, which it had commissioned in 2000.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2002
The Marine Band performed at Ground Zero for the one-year anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

JULY 12, 2003
Academy Award-winning film composer John Williams conducted “The President’s Own” for its 205th Anniversary Concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C

MARCH 20, 2004
Minnesota Orchestra Director Osmo Vänskä guest conducted “The President’s Own” at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center of the University of Maryland in College Park.

APRIL 17, 2004
Former Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra Conductor and renowned Duke Ellington scholar David Berger guest conducted the Marine Jazz Orchestra at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.

JUNE 9-11, 2004
The U.S. Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra participated in the state funeral of President Ronald Reagan. The band marched in the funeral procession on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., on June 9, and the chamber orchestra performed at the funeral service held in Washington National Cathedral on June 11.

JULY 17, 2004
First Lieutenant Michelle A. Rakers is appointed as the first female Assistant Director in the history of the Marine Band.

“The President’s Own” moved from its historic home at Marine Barracks Washington, 8th and I Streets, in southeast Washington, D.C., to the new Marine Barracks Annex, located just around the corner at 7th and K Streets, southeast.

NOVEMBER 6, 2004
“The President’s Own” celebrated the sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of the birth of its most famous member, John Philip Sousa, and Commandant of the Marine Corps General Michael W. Hagee dedicated the band’s new rehearsal facility the “John Philip Sousa Band Hall.”

DECEMBER 5, 2004
At the request of 2004 honoree Academy Award-winning film composer John Williams, “The President’s Own” performed for the 2004 Kennedy Center Honors. National Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin conducted the band for the event, held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

MAY 1, 2005
“The President’s Own” performed with the Washington Choral Arts Society at the new Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2005
The Marine Band performed at Ft. Myer in Virginia for the Change of Command ceremony in which Gen. Peter Pace became the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first Marine to hold that position.

NOVEMBER 5, 2005
The Marine Band dedicated a statue of John Philip Sousa at the Marine Barracks Annex in Washington, D.C. The statue was made possible by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, private donor Mickey Gordon, and the John Philip Sousa Foundation.

MARCH 19, 2006
National Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin guest conducted the Marine Band in a gala performance at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. The concert included the Washington, D.C., première of John Corigliano’s Circus Maximus.

APRIL 2, 2006
Assistant Director Major Jason K. Fettig expanded the Marine Band’s educational outreach by launching the annual Young People’s Concert initiative with a concert titled “American Time Machine.” The Young Peoples Concert continues annually with an original concept, program, and script.

JUNE 14, 2007
The Marine Band, along with the Oak Ridge Boys, participated in the grand finale of the National Association for Music Education’s (MENC) National Anthem Project on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The event was broadcast to schools nationwide and thousands of students joined in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

JULY 3, 2007
President George W. Bush promoted Marine Band Director Michael J. Colburn to the rank of colonel in an Oval Office ceremony.

APRIL 12, 2008
The Marine Band initiated its Concerto Competition for High School Musicians and invited the first co-winners, oboe player Timothy Gocklin and tuba player Ibanda Ruhimbika to perform with the band at the MENC National Conference in Milwaukee. The winners also received $2,500 scholarships from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

APRIL 26, 2008
George W. Bush became the first President of the United States to conduct the Marine Band. He led the band in John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C.

JULY 20, 2008
Academy Award-winning film composer John Williams returned to conduct “The President’s Own” for its 210th Anniversary Concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

NOVEMBER 9-20, 2008
Director Col. Michael J. Colburn and several musicians performed as guests in the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band’s 50th anniversary concert, making the Marine Band’s first sojourn to Asia.

DECEMBER 19, 2008
Marine Band Director Col. Michael J. Colburn and members of “The President’s Own” bid farewell to President George W. Bush. In honor of the occasion, the ensemble presented President Bush with a baton case inscribed, “The President George W. Bush, our conductor-in-chief from the members of ‘The President’s Own.’”

JANUARY 20, 2009
The Marine Band participated in both the inaugural ceremony and parade for 44th President of the United States Barack Obama before an estimated crowd of 1.4 million.

JULY 11, 2009
The Marine Band was a featured ensemble at the 14th International World Association for Symphonic Band and Ensembles Conference at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

The Marine Band supported CBS News as it honored legendary newsman Walter Cronkite at a special tribute in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York attended by President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton. The band opened the tribute with John Philip Sousa’s march, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and closed the event with George W. Warren’s God of Our Fathers and Irving Berlin’s God Bless America.

OCTOBER 26, 2009
Academy Award winning composer John Williams surprised a Marine Band tour audience at Royce Hall at the University of California, Los Angeles by guest conducting his March from 1941.

NOVEMBER 19, 2009
In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s Bicentennial year, the Marine Band participated in an observation of the 146th anniversary of President Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”

MARCH 15, 2010
Chicago Symphony Orchestra second trumpet player and former Marine Band principal trumpet John Hagstrom returned to perform Larry Bitensky’s Awake, You Sleepers! as a soloist with the band at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md.

JUNE 2, 2010
Solo Cornet MSgt Matthew Harding performed “Penny Lane” with Elvis Costello at the White House as a tribute to Sir Paul McCartney, the winner of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The event was broadcast on PBS’s “In Performance at the White House.”

JUNE 6, 2010
The National Museum of the Marine Corps unveiled an exhibit dedicated to Marine Band history, to include a life-size replica of Drum Major MGySgt William Browne. It also includes a button panel that gives visitors the opportunity to listen and watch the Marine Band play “Washington Post,” “Semper Fidelis,” “The Liberty Bell,” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

DECEMBER 15-16, 2010
The Marine Band performed two concerts at The Midwest Clinic An International Band and Orchestra Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. One performance featured Larry Bitensky’s Awake, You Sleepers! with trumpet soloist John Hagstrom of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and former Marine Band principal trumpet.

FEBRUARY 23, 2011
The Marine Band paid tribute to World War II and the 66th anniversary of the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima with a concert titled “Quiet Heroes: A Symphonic Salute to the Warriors of Iwo Jima.” The program included SSgt Ryan Nowlin’s arrangement Sentimental Journey: A World War II Hit Parade, music from the Band of Brothers TV series, and Chris Brubeck’s Quiet Heroes (A Symphonic Salute to the Warriors of Iwo Jima).

MARCH 4, 2011
The Marine Band performed at the American Bandmasters Association 77th annual conference in Norfolk, Va., and gave the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi’s Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme and James Stephenson’s “Duels and Dances with Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal oboe Alex Klein.

MARCH 12, 2012
Conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony Gerard Schwarz guest conducted the Marine Band in concert, to include the world premiere of his own composition “Above and Beyond.”

APRIL 3, 2012
Marine Band Director Col. Michael J. Colburn conducted the Slovenian Armed Forces Band in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

MAY 28, 2012
The Marine Band performed for the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War commemoration at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

JUNE 23, 2012
The Marine Band performed for the National Association for Music Education’s Music Education Week in Baltimore.

JULY 20-21, 2012
The Marine Band performed for the Texas Bandmasters Association’s 65th annual convention in San Antonio.

DECEMBER 10, 2012
Musicians from the Marine Chamber Orchestra performed Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” on The Late Show with David Letterman.

JANUARY 6, 2013
“The President’s Own” kicked off the beginning of its 215th anniversary year with the annual Sousa Season Opener and the season continued with a series of Living History concerts.

JANUARY 21, 2013
The Marine Band performed for the ceremony and parade for the second inauguration of Barack Obama.

JULY 11, 2013
The Marine Band celebrated its 215th anniversary with a concert at Yards Park in Washington, D.C., which included the performance of John Williams’ “For ‘The President’s Own’”—a birthday gift from the composer himself.

JULY 27, 2013
The Marine Band performed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., at the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice event, “Heroes Remembered.”

AUGUST 23, 2013
MGySgt Michael Ressler retired after 39 years with the Marine Band, serving as a euphonium player, librarian, Chief Librarian, Support Staff Section Commander, and, since 2008, the band’s first-ever historian. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service and achievement while performing duties in a key position of responsibility.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2013
The Marine Band performed a special concert at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s annual convention at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

NOVEMBER 19, 2013
The Marine Band performed at the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Pennsylvania.

NOVEMBER 22, 2013
Trumpet/cornet player MSgt John Abbracciamento performed Taps at John F. Kennedy’s grave during a remembrance wreath laying ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s death.

NOVEMBER 24, 2013
The Marine Band marked the 40th anniversary of the first woman, French horn player Ruth Johnson, joining “The President’s Own” with a special chamber music concert.

MARCH 2, 2014
The Marine Band kicked off its “Sousa’s March Mania” initiative where 32 marches compete head to head while Marine Band friends and fans vote which marches advance in the tournament. 

MARCH 31, 2014
Music Director of the Nashville Symphony in Tennessee Giancarlo Guerrero guest conducted the Marine Band at the Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Va.

JUNE 13, 2014
The Marine Band performed at the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of Arlington as a national cemetery.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2014
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the bombardment at Fort McHenry in Baltimore and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, the Marine Band took part in a special ceremony and concert attended by Vice President Joseph Biden.

The Marine Band begins to stream select performances on its website and YouTube channel.

APRIL 13, 2015
The Marine Band released the first volume of “The Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa,” a multi-year recording project initiated by Marine Band Director Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig.

APRIL 30, 2015
First Lady Michelle Obama appeared with the Marine Band on one of the last episodes of The Late Show with David Letterman before he retired.

MAY 28, 2015
A brass and percussion ensemble from the Marine Band, conducted by Assistant Director Michelle A. Rakers, performed in the International Trumpet Guild’s 40th anniversary conference in Columbus, OH.

JUNE 16, 2015
“The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band served as the ensemble-in-residence for the National Band Association’s Young Composer/Conductor Mentor Project.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2015
Musicians from “The President’s Own” performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as part of the Music & The Spoken Word program at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
The Marine Band’s Free Country music ensemble performed at the farewell tribute for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, USA, at Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, VA.

DECEMBER 14-15, 2016
The Marine Band performed two concerts in honor of the 70th anniversary of The Midwest Clinic An International Band and Orchestra Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. The performances featured guest soloist Thomas Hooten, Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet and former member of the Marine Band cornet/trumpet section, as well as former Directors Col. John R. Bourgeois, Col. Timothy W. Foley, and Col. Michael J. Colburn. In addition, the band released Volume 3 of “The Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa” in conjunction with a Sousa March Clinic the Marine Band presented. 

March 15, 2016
Marine Band percussionist Master Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Rose “dropped the beat” at President Barack Obama’s command in a Rose Garden Freestyle rap session with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the Tony award winning show “Hamilton, An American Musical.”

The Marine Band marked the 125th anniversary of its first national concert tour under 17th Director John Philip Sousa.

FEBRUARY 26, 2017
Gerard Schwarz, conductor laureate of the Seattle Symphony, returned to lead the Marine Band in a concert titled, “Cornerstones.” The collaboration will result in a documentary-style episode of wind ensemble masterpieces for release on public television and online called “All-Star Orchestra Presents: America’s All-Star Band, The United States Marine Band.”

MAY 1, 2017
Gunnery Sgt. Stacie Crowther is appointed as the first female Assistant Drum Major in the history of the Marine Band.

MAY 4, 2019
The Marine Band won its first EMMY for its collaboration with Gerard Schwarz on the All-Star Orchestra program. “New England Spirit,” featuring William Schuman’s iconic work New England Triptych, won in the category Special Event Coverage (Other than News and Sports) at the New York Emmy Awards. View the Award Presentation
Read more about the collaboration