MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VA --
Today, Marine Corps musicians uphold the traditions of those who came before them providing martial music during official events, ceremonies and for the public..
In order to highlight the professionalism of Marine Musicians 4th Marine Corps Recruiting District hosted a Marine Corps Musician Enlistment Option Program Educator’s Workshop at Washington, D.C, July 11 to 13, 2018. The work shop provided music specific educators an inside look at Marine Corps musicians.
“This workshop is so valuable, because it provides us the opportunity to go back to our students and tell them how they can continue on with the musical traditions we have in our country,” said Rod Miller, a native of Port Clinton City, Ohio and the director of bands at Port Clinton City School.. “It has been part of the nation’s history for so long and I think it is important to remember our roots, where we came from.”
The workshop participants were able to see an inside look at the career of a Marine Corps Musician. Beginning at the Naval School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia, where Marine Musicians go to school immediately following recruit training and Marine Combat Training. The next stop took the workshop to the Quantico, Virginia where they participated in a band rehearsal, and saw the musicians participate in a change of command ceremony.
The educators also had the opportunity to attend a rehearsal and performance of the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps also known as the Commandant's Own at Marine Barracks Washington. The final event was took place at Marine Barracks Washington, where they observed the Evening Parade, which features the Marine Corps’ premiere bands, the President’s Own United States Marine Corps Band and the Drum and Bugle Corps.
During the Tour of Marine Barracks Washington, the educators got the opportunity to speak with some of the musicians, including Cpl Brannan Pierson, an Abilene, Texas native, and tuba player for the United States Commandant's Own, who “Joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to serve my country not only as a U.S Marine but as a Musicians,” he said. Pierson filled with a lot of pride talked to the band teachers about the illustrious history of the Commandant's Own.
“Our tradition goes back when every single battalion had a drum corps, but as technology got better they started phasing out drum corps when we took up the radio instead,” said Pierson. “We don’t do it for practical field purposes but that symbolism of being the last ones, that makes us special.”
Every Marine that belongs to a musical unit becomes part of a hollowed tradition following the footsteps of legendary Marine musicians like Francesco Maria Scala and John Philip Sousa. The rigorous screening process ensures the most qualified musicians become Marine musicians. It is only though wide spread education of the Musician Enlistment Option Program and persistent recruiting efforts that the Marine Corps maintains the professional music program.
“It has just been a real eye opening experience I think for all of us here and we are very grateful that the Marine Corps has let us have this inside peak at them,” said Miller.