U.S. Marine Band to perform free concert

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 31, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; The world- renowned U.S. Marine Band will perform in Natchez Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at City Auditorium. The concert is free and open to all, said Staff Sgt. Karen G. Summers, spokeswoman for the band.

The concert is a change of schedule for the band, which had expected to perform in several cities affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Larry Buckley, band director at Natchez High School, learned of the availability of the band and invited them to perform in Natchez.

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&uot;It was a great chance for us to host the band,&uot; Buckley said. &uot;We’re so pleased it worked out for them to come to Natchez.&uot;

For more than two centuries, the band has been part of events that have shaped the United States.

Established by an Act of Congress in 1798, the Marine Band is America’s oldest professional musical organization. And the primary mission is unique&045;to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.

Now in its third century, the Marine Band continues a tradition of excellence that earned the title &uot;The President’s Own&uot; from President Thomas Jefferson. The musicians are selected at auditions like those of major symphony orchestras, and they enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps for duty with the Marine Band only. Most of the members are graduates of the nation’s finest music schools, and nearly 60 percent hold advanced degrees in music.

Conductor of the band is Lt. Col. Michael J. Colburn. A native of St. Albans, Vt., and graduate of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, Colburn attended the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York in Potsdam for two years, studying euphonium with Dr. Peter Popiel. He continued his education at Arizona State University in Tempe, studying with Daniel Perantoni and earning a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 1986. In 1991, he earned a master’s degree in conducting from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where he studied with Anthony Maiello.

In addition to his duties with the Marine Band, Colburn is an active clinician and guest conductor.

Marine Band musicians appear at the White House more than 300 times each year, for events including South Lawn arrival ceremonies, State Dinners, and receptions. These performances range from a solo harpist or chamber orchestra to a dance band or full concert band, making versatility essential for our members. Additionally, the band participates in more than 500 public and official performances annually. Each fall, the band travels through a region of the United States during the concert tour, a century-old tradition initiated by John Philip Sousa, the legendary 17th director.

The Marine Band made its White House debut on New Year’s Day, 1801, in a performance for President John Adams. In March of that year, the band performed for the inaugural of Thomas Jefferson, and has performed for every Presidential inaugural since. An accomplished musician himself, Jefferson recognized the unique relationship between the band and the Chief Executive by giving the Marine Band the title &uot;The President’s Own.&uot;