ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (September 14, 2023) — For the first time in five years, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band returns to the Midwest on tour, performing a free 7:30PM concert on October 13 at Augustana College’s Centennial Hall, 3703 7th Ave, Rock Island.
Free tickets are available online now at augustana.edu/tickets — limit four per request. Seating is general admission, and ticket holders must be seated by 7:15PM; remaining seats will be released to those waiting in the standby line at that time. Large bags are not permitted.
“We are incredibly excited to continue the tradition of our national concert tour,” said Marine Band Director Col Jason K Fettig. “Musicians of the band are more eager than ever to share their musical talents with audiences live and in-person on this Midwest tour.”
Fettig has programmed musical selections in the style of the band’s seventeenth director, John Philip Sousa, who initiated the concert tour tradition in 1891. Concertgoers can expect a mix of works including traditional band repertoire, Sousa marches, contemporary compositions, vocal and instrumental solos, and a patriotic salute to the Armed Forces.
“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,” Fettig said.
Event co-sponsors Augustana College and North Scott High School and media sponsor WQAD News 8 helped bring the ensemble from the nation’s capital to the Quad Cities. Quad Cities’ connections to the Marine Band include Moline native Beth (McCafferty) Plunk, who is the current principal flute player, and Augustana’s Dr Elizabeth (Gish) Matera, a former 23-year member of the band’s clarinet section.
“‘The President’s Own’ US Marine Band is, without question, the finest wind bandin the country and, in my opinion, the world,” said Augustana Director of Bands Dr James Lambrecht. “The musicianship and artistry on display are second to none and inspire music lovers, both young and old.”
Dr Lambrecht said this marks the first time the band has performed on Augustana’s campus.
“It is an incredible opportunity for the Augustana community to experience this world-class ensemble.”
North Scott High School Band Director Carl Collins said it is a privilege to be able to have the Marine Band in the Quad Cities.
“They are some of the finest professional musicians in the world, and one of the most significant cultural institutions in our nation’s history,” he said. “Not only will those in attendance hear a concert they will never forget, the students who have the opportunity to work with the musicians in the masterclasses they offer while they are in town will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with these outstanding musicians up close.”
Collins said, “The President’s Own” is a model for many school band programs, and directors everywhere use their recordings as examples for their students.
Since Sousa was first granted permission to tour the country by President Benjamin Harrison in 1891, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band has delivered a White House experience from Washington DC to the far-reaching corners of our nation. These special concerts have been shared by generations of Americans.
By the end of this year’s 31-day tour, the Marine Band will have covered more than 4,664 miles around the Midwest, performing in 29 different cities in 11 states, with concerts in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
The Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously-active professional-musical organization. Founded in 1798, the band has performed for every US president since John Adams. Known as “The President’s Own” since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band’s mission is to provide music for the president of the United States and the commandant of the Marine Corps.