Tickets are now available to attend the free public concert featuring 'The President’s Own' U.S. Marine Band at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14  in the Biddeford Middle School Performing Arts Center in Biddeford.  COURTESY PHOTO/U.S. Marine Band

Tickets are now available to attend the free public concert featuring ‘The President’s Own’ U.S. Marine Band at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 in the Biddeford Middle School Performing Arts Center in Biddeford. COURTESY PHOTO/U.S. Marine Band

BIDDEFORD — Those who enjoy stirring patriotic music and rousing ceremonial marches are about to be dazzled by some of the foremost military musicians of our time. 

As part of its 2017 national concert tour, “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 in the Biddeford Middle School Performing Arts Center in Biddeford.  

Marine Col. Jason K. Fettig is the 'The President’s Own' U.S. Marine Band director. COURTESY PHOTO/U.S. Marine Band

Marine Col. Jason K. Fettig is the ‘The President’s Own’ U.S. Marine Band director. COURTESY PHOTO/U.S. Marine Band

The concert, sponsored by the Biddeford Middle School Music Program and the Journal Tribune, is entirely free and the public is encouraged to attend this patriotic event.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and free tickets are available (limit four per request) by visiting https://marineband.ticketleap.com/usmbtourbiddeford/

Ticket holders must be seated by 6:45 p.m. on the evening of the concert; as non-ticket holders will be admitted at that time.

In the style of the band’s 17th Director John Philip Sousa, who initiated the concert tour tradition in 1891, Marine Band Director Col. Jason K. Fettig has chosen a diverse mix of programs from traditional band repertoire and Sousa marches to instrumental solos and a salute to the Armed Forces.

“We always try to highlight music on our programs that celebrates the region we are visiting, whether it be marches that provide a connection or folk music that might be associated with certain areas of the country,” said Fettig. “We have tremendously appreciative patrons who come to Marine Band concerts for all types of different experiences, so our programs are designed to include a great variety of music that mirrors the wonderful diversity in our national musical heritage.”

By the end of the tour, the Marine Band will have traveled 2,551 miles throughout the northeast, performing 28 concerts in 10 states, with stops in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and its only stop in Maine being in Biddeford.

The Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. Founded in 1798, the band has performed for every U.S. President since John Adams.

Known as “The President’s Own” since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band’s primary mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

When John Philip Sousa was just 13, his father, a trombonist in the Marine Band, enlisted him in the United States Marine Corps as an apprentice to keep him from joining a circus band. Several years after serving that apprenticeship, Sousa joined a theatrical pit orchestra where he learned to conduct.

He returned to the U.S. Marine Band as its head in 1880 and remained as its conductor until 1892. Under Sousa’s direction, “The President’s Own” band performed for five presidents under Sousa from Rutherford B. Hayes to Benjamin Harrison. Sousa also led the Marine Band in playing for the Inauguration Ball for President James Garfield in 1881.

The soloist for the Biddeford concert will be Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear, a baritone from Keyser, West Virginia.

Each program on the band’s 2017 national concert tour opens with a fanfare and march and concludes with John Philip Sousa’s iconic “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” followed by “A Salute to the Armed Forces of the United States of America,” a medley of Armed Forces service songs. 

Other selections to be performed at the Biddeford concert include Sousa, “The Fairest of the Fair,” a tribute to Louis Armstrong (featuring trumpet soloist Master Sgt. Daniel Orban),  music from Alberto Ginastera, “Dances from Estancia,” and “Pride of a People.,” a patriotic song medley featuring Bennear.

“We always try to highlight music on our programs that celebrates the region we are visiting, whether it be marches that provide a connection or folk music that might be associated with certain areas of the country,” Fettig said. “So this year several of the selections have connections with New England and the Northeast part of our country.” 

“The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band also performed in Washington during the inauguraion of President Donald Trump in January.  

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]


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