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"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Notes Newsletter Updates

By Master Sgt. Kristin duBois | United States Marine Band | January 18, 2018


Since 1984, the Marine Band’s Office of Communication has published its newsletter Notes, featuring information about the activities of “The President’s Own.” 2018 will bring some welcome changes to how the Marine Band communicates with its patrons.


Notes has evolved many times over the years since former Executive Assistant to the Director and current executive director of the Kansas City Symphony Capt. Frank Byrne, USMC (ret.) produced the first issue. He said, “In my early years with the band, we did not have our own public affairs office and I did many things to help get the word out. Notes was my idea and we did it in the most basic and somewhat crude way. In those days before computers and even word processors, I drew grid lines in non-photo layout pencil on legal sized paper, cranked it into an IBM Selectric typewriter and started writing. I made a mental list of topics, but had to write in real time to the space available. I would continually look to see how much room I had on the page to know whether to write more or less. I wrote every issue myself, start to finish exactly that way for quite some time. I used the copier and pasted up the master, and I think the first issues were mimeographed. You’d have to understand how basic things were at that time to appreciate that Notes was actually an improvement on how we communicated with the public. Later on as the publication developed, I brought in other features such as the band’s White House appearances and Staff Lines. Some were skeptical about Staff Lines at first, thinking that members of the band would not want to be profiled, but it became a very popular feature and it stayed on. It is a great pleasure to see how Notes has grown, improved and evolved over the decades. The Marine Band is a magnificent organization with an incredibly rich history and present, and I am privileged to have played a small role in its development.”


Computers, word processing software, and desktop publishing introduced a new level of sophistication and professionalism in the early 1990s with dedicated fonts, glossy paper, feature-length stories, and concert photography. At the turn of the 21st century the bi-monthly black and white publication received a spot of color when red and blue hues were introduced. Notes went full color in 2003 and in 2009 received a fresh redesign and expanded to eight and 12 page issues. In 2016, the frequency changed to quarterly and in 2017 Notes was entirely digital on a monthly basis.


Meanwhile, in order to meet the more immediate needs of our patrons, the Office of Communication revealed a companion weekly electronic newsletter in 2004. The Marine Band eNewsletter, as it came to be called, was able to communicate directly to patrons’ email inboxes more timely and state of the art initiatives, such as expanded free digital music offerings, an ever-growing video catalog on YouTube, audition announcements, and wider distribution of traditional Notes stories.


In 2018 the weekly eNewsletter will become the Marine Band’s primary method for releasing up-to-the-minute information about the upcoming concerts, events, initiatives, and, of course, Staff Lines, which can also be found at www.marineband.marines.mil, www.facebook.com/marineband, and www.twitter.com/marineband.  Notes will return to a quarterly, digital-only publication that will provide a deeper look into the Marine Band’s impact nationwide. To receive the Marine Band eNewsletter, please click here.
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