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Marine Alumni Band concert

Photo by Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rust

Marine Band Alumni Concerts this Week

22 Jun 2022 | Gunnery Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali United States Marine Band

This week “The President’s Own” welcomes back its alumni! Almost 80 former Marine Band musicians have returned to Marine Barracks Washington for tours, rehearsals, and concerts—some traveling from as far away as San Francisco and Seattle and others returning from only a couple of blocks away to attend the reunion and rehearse for two free public performances. The Marine Band “graduates” have performed for every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower and have looked forward to seeing friends and making music together.

Marine Band Director Colonel Jason K. Fettig thoughtfully programmed the concerts so that in addition to being fun for the audience, the music would have a special connection to the musicians and the conductors: 25th Director Colonel John R. Bourgeois, USMC (Ret.), and 27th Director Colonel Michael J. Colburn, USMC (Ret.). Complete Program

“Col. Colburn sent me a list of possible selections he would like to conduct, so I chose his selections from that list,” Fettig explained. “I chose music that had a connection to his time with the Marine Band or him personally. John Philip Sousa’s March, ‘The Gallant Seventh’ is one of his favorite marches; Walter Piston’s “Tunbridge Fair” is based on the long-standing festival held in Col. Colburn’s home state of Vermont each year; Percy Grainger was a core part of his repertoire, so he’ll be conducting Colonial Song; and of course I’ve programmed ‘Adventures on Earth’ from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial by John Williams because of his connection to Maestro Williams. It was Col. Colburn’s initiative that led to Mr. Williams’ close relationship with the band.”

For Col. Bourgeois, Fettig selected music iconic to the 25th director’s almost four decades with the band. Robert Jager’s “Esprit de Corps” was commissioned in 1984 by then-Director Col. Bourgeois, and in a tribute to the band and its director, printed on the music, Jager instructs the conductor to lead the ensemble through “Esprit de Corps” at a spirited “Tempo di Bourgeois.” Overture to Mignon, by Ambroise Thomas, is a selection Bourgeois frequently took on tour and, according to Fettig, “is a classic war horse overture.” In addition, retired Marine Band baritone vocalist Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Ryan will be moderating, so Fettig programmed Earl Robinson’s “The House I Lived In,” a song Ryan often performed on tour with Bourgeois. Then, just before Sousa’s march “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” the band will perform “American Pageant” by Thomas Knox, a perfect patriotic flourish which includes the melodies of “America,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “America, the Beautiful.”

The Marine Alumni Band concert will take place Thursday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) in John Philip Sousa Band Hall in Washington, D.C. and free tickets can be obtained here. The Thursday evening concert will also livestream. On Thursday, June 23, the Marine Chamber Orchestra and alumni will perform at noon at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Va. The program will include Aaron Copland’s “Hoe Down” from Rodeo, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, John Philip Sousa’s March, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” and more orchestral favorites.

See List of Performers

Complete Program and Notes