President's Own

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Tim McGinley, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Tim McGinley

    Tim McGinley New Friend

    Tom,
    As always it is a pleasure to hear your input from topic to topic. I am asking on behalf of several students if you could elaborate on your experience while in the President's Own. Could you address the audition (actual process), rehearsals, schedule (can be as vague or detailed as you have time for) and any general information that would give an up and coming student a realisitic idea of what the group truly is about. As always, I look forward to any knowledge you are able to share with us!

    Keep up!
    Tim
     
  2. thomashooten

    thomashooten Pianissimo User

    90
    1
    Feb 21, 2005
    Atlanta
    Hi Tim

    Thanks for the question. The "President's Own" Marine Band is a fantastic organization and a great career opportunity. They hold national auditions just like any professional orchestra with multiple rounds ending in finals that consist of sight reading and possible playing with other member of the section. One of the great things about that job is the variety of performing opportunities any musician can have throughout the year, everything from chamber music in any variety to solos with the band. In addition to that, the band has a full year round performing schedule of band concerts an one 8 week tour in the fall every year. (although I've heard that could be shorter now) Of course there is marching throughout the year, which consists of funerals at Arlington, friday night parades during the summer and various ceremonial duties from time to time. Its hard to explain a typical schedule with the band. When I was there our trumpet section leader Andy Schuller did his best to keep all 18-19 of us trumpet players equally worked. For example: if you were on a band concert one week, Andy would try to keep you off of funerals. Another great thing about the job is that you have a lot of practice time with 17-18 other great trumpet players to learn from. Thats just the tip of the iceberg with this group.

    Could we hear from some active trumpet players in the group now?
    What am I leaving out?
    Thanks and hope that helps.
    Tom
     
  3. michaelmergen

    michaelmergen New Friend

    2
    0
    Aug 23, 2006
    Hello Everyone,

    Tom asked me if I would write something about the band since I am a current member of the trumpet section. Maybe I could just expand a little on what Tom has already written. The Marine Band's primary mission is to support the musical needs of the White House and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. This means that the band may be called on to perform at any time of the year for any type of event at the White House. For trumpeters, this could mean playing in a concert band on the balcony of the South Lawn for three to four hours, reading a wide variety of concert and popular selections. It could also mean playing in a chamber orchestra inside the grand foyer for a three hour reception, or in a brass quintet for a bill signing or in a dance band for after dinner dancing at a state dinner. Today a group of musicians was rehearsing mariachi music for a committment in the Commandant's garden! Those other ceremonial committments which Tom mentioned could be marching ceremonies for events around Washington, change of commands, arrival ceremonies for heads of state, funerals at Arlington, and the Evening Parade at Marine Barracks. These ceremonies usually involve marching and can mean playing as many as ten marches in a row while people get organized!

    Our concert season is divided into three parts. January to May is our indoor concert season and we play two band concerts, one chamber orchestra concert, and one chamber ensembles concert per month. The chamber ensembles could be any type of chamber music which is put together and rehearsed by the musicians. The concert band uses eight trumpeters per concert (two trumpet parts and six cornet players), the chamber orchestra is usually two players, and the chamber ensembles could be anything. As Tom mentioned, Andy Schuller works diligently to spread the work around so that a player who is playing three hours of music outside the White House will not have to play a full indoor band concert the next day. Band and orchestra concerts get four rehearsals leading up to the weekend performance. June to September is our outdoor concert season where the concert band prepares one program per week and plays it twice. Usually this is just two rehearsals. September to November is spent preparing for and performing the national concert tour. This year the band will tour for seven and a half weeks and play a concert every day. We get three days off and have three days of rehearsals in middle of the tour. December is usually very busy with White House holiday receptions and outdoor holiday receptions around Washington. The music for our concerts include orchestral transcriptions, opera ovetures, concert band works, solos (which every member of the band has the oppotunity to perform) vocal accopaniment and new works for band. We also have a few people who play big band, jazz combo, and dance band music frequently.
    In addition to our section leader, Andy Schuller, we have a Solo Cornet player, Matt Harding and a principal trumpet player, Kurt Dupuis. These gentleman have a good understanding of every player's strengths and task the players according to the job, i.e. a big band concert or pulcinella or solo performance. So the job has lots of variety and frequently we have little time to rehearse so individual preparation is key. Anyone may audition for the band and all information about auditions (including the excerpt list) and concerts is on our website www.marineband.usmc.mil. Our next audition for trumpet is in early February. As Tom said, it is a wonderful career opportunity to work with great people like Tom and Tom's wife Jennifer who was also in our trumpet section. Check the website for information about where we will be on tour and what the program will include. Our members are always happy to answer questions and listen to folks who are in town. Hope that gives an idea about what we do.

    Michael Mergen
     
  4. thomashooten

    thomashooten Pianissimo User

    90
    1
    Feb 21, 2005
    Atlanta
    Mike,

    Thanks for your time and thanks for the great post!

    Tom
     
  5. Tim McGinley

    Tim McGinley New Friend

    To both of you gentlemen,
    Thank you for your time and effort in typing these responses. This is exactly the kind of information that my students have been asking about. Your knowledge on the subject matter and willingness to share it is extremely appreciated! Thanks again,
    Best Regards,
    Tim
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
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    16,611
    7,954
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    I was in an Army band (Headquarters 7th Corps in Germany). Our schedule was also very busy. Even although it may not seem as glamorous as a regular orchestra job, I had a great time, learned a lot about survival and made friends for life. Not a job for everybody, but for the motivated a wonderful experience! My playing got much better during that time.
     
  7. bandman

    bandman Forte User

    Age:
    111
    1,061
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    Oct 16, 2004
    Lafayette, LA, USA
    Is there a place where I can find information about retired members of the band? I studied with John Wright, but I left his studio in 1976. I kept up with him for many years, but have not seen or heard from him other than a Christmas card over the past few years.

    He is one of the finest people I have ever known. He served as an inspiration to me both as an aspiring young musician and as a young man. I studied with him while in high school and he was there with me through the grief process when my father passed away. He was able to keep me focused on my goals for the future, while also understanding what I was going through. Not many people would have done as well as he did, and for that I will be forever greatful.
     
  8. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    1,255
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    Apr 30, 2004
    USA
    Talk about the procedure about auditions... Where to go to find 'em, etc.
     
  9. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    1,255
    4
    Apr 30, 2004
    USA

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