The President’s Own

The Presidents Own

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, Morris Hills hosted the President’s Marine Band. Not only does this band play for all White House events, but they tour the nation and the entire world. Due to this, the audition process to become a Marine in the band is arduous, as they take the best of the best. It is open to anyone with a musical background, and candidates slowly get disqualified until there is only one standing from their respective sections, and that one enlists in the Marine Corps to only serve with the Marine Band. 

The Marine Band is also known as the President’s own. They play a variety of tunes, from marches to classicals to jazz. It was electrifying to be in the auditorium on the evening they played, and the crowd anticipated a good show, as the band is recognized as one of the best in the world. Many band students and staff members attended the performance. Mr. Hartsuiker, MH band director, was moved to tears as “A Century of Progress,” a march composed by the march king, Philip Sousa himself, was played. Philip Sousa is also recognized as the Marine Band’s most prominent conductor for helping to make them into what they are today. He wrote the march, one of his last, for the Chicago World Fair. 

Besides playing marches by Philip Sousa, the Marine Band played classical music, notable among them Ballade, Opus 33, composed by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Born in London and having attended the Royal School of Music, Coleridge-Taylor is also the only man of color to shake President Teddy Roosevelt’s hand on an official invited visit to the White House. As no concert can be complete without a John Williams tune, the program also included one of his less widely known songs. He composed it for a friend’s birthday, and snippets of “Happy Birthday” were heard throughout the piece. 

Besides performing with skill, the Marine Band displayed an air of confidence and awe. Dressed in official dress uniforms, they resonated with confidence and power. Something about them seemed to be captivating. Sophomore Owen Meyers said, “They were stunning.” Not only did the band play, but they were accompanied by a female soloist who sang some WWII tunes, a version of “Bugle Boy from Company B” and “Stormy Weather.” This roused the crowd, preparing them for the final songs in the performance: a string of patriotic tunes, “America The Beautiful,” “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “A Salute to the Armed Forces of The United States of America,” and “This Land is My Land.” As a salute to the armed forces, family members of those serving or veterans stood when their song was played. 

As “This Land Is My Land” is a well-known patriotic song that many have heard before, the moderator invited the audience to sing along after the first verse, and the audience was swept up with vigor. Although the concert lasted an hour and 45 minutes, it was entertaining and lively, a really stunning performance.