United States Marine Corps History and Information

Learn about the Traditions and Customs of the USMC

Marine Corps Band – “The President’s Own”

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“The Presidents Own” The United States Marine Corps Band

The Presidents Own

Uniforms of the Marine Corps Band "The Presidents Own"

The armies of the ancient Greeks and Romans knew their stuff. Their military drummers dictated cadence — and, perhaps confidence — as their legions marched into combat. By the 1700s in Europe and America, fifers added “fighting spirit” as they accompanied the military drummers.

The U.S. Marine Corps drummers and fifers evolved into the U.S. Marine Corps Band, the oldest musical organization in the United States.

On 11 July 1798 the U.S. President, John Adams, signed a congressional act that formalized the band members as “a drum major, a fife major, and thirty-two drums and fifes.” There was no war at the time, so the band concentrated on its music. They held their first documented concert in Washington on 21 August 1800. By December of that year their inventory of instruments had expanded to include two oboes, two clarinets, two French horns, and a bassoon. During the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, he declared the new Marine Band to be “The President’s Own,” a term that has survived for two centuries.

The Evening Parade

The Evening Parade collector’s edition performance features the Marine Band, the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Silent Drill Platoon.

The Marine Band performs at all Presidential Inaugurations and at numerous ceremonial functions of State at the White House and elsewhere. During the summer months it entertains weekly at the famed Sunset Parade at the Marine Barracks in Washington and on the steps of the Capitol Building. When on tour the band performs at locations throughout the United States. John Philip Sousa, the most famous Bandmaster, composed Semper Fidelis, later adopted as the official musical March of the Marine Corps.

The Evening Parade performance also features the Marine Band, the Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the Silent Drill Platoon. The unrivaled splendor and pageantry of this most regal affair will make you stand up and cheer these fabulous Marines on parade.

Musicians are currently selected through an audition process similar to that of major symphony orchestras. Those selected must also pass a physical examination — it is still the Marine Corps, troops! But, successful applicants enlist for four years “for duty with the U.S. Marine Band only,” and there is no boot camp. Further, each new band member is immediately appointed to the rank of Staff Sergeant. What a deal! Historically, more than 90 percent of Marine Band members serve for 20 years or more.


Interested in a DVD of “The Evening Parade”?
Order your copy of “The Evening Parade” video today!


The United States Marine Band is the premier band of the United States Marine Corps. Established by act of Congress on July 11, 1798, it is the oldest of the United States military bands and the oldest professional musical organization in the United States. Today, the Marine Band also includes the Marine Chamber Orchestra and Marine Chamber Ensembles.

The Marine Band is entirely separate from its sister military band, the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps “The Commandant’s Own” and the 12 active duty Marine Corps field bands.

The Marine Band is uniquely known as “The President’s Own” because of its historic connection to the President of the United States. The relationship between the Marine Band and the White House began on New Year’s Day 1801, when President John Adams invited the band to perform at the Executive Mansion. Later that year, Thomas Jefferson initiated the tradition of Marine Band performances by requesting that it perform at his inauguration. The Marine Band has played at everyUnited States presidential inauguration since.

Today, the Marine Band performs in approximately 500 events every year including state funerals, state arrival ceremonies,state dinners, parades, concerts, and other social events. The Marine Band also travels across the country each October and November during its fall concert tour, a tradition that began in 1891 under its most famous director, composer John Philip Sousa.


This should answer the questions:

Who are “The Presidents Own?
When did the Marine Corps Band officially organize?
What should I get my Marine for Christmas?
Whats a great gift for a Marine recruit graduating from Marine boot camp?
When did the Marine Corps Drummers and Fifers evolve into the Marine Corps Band?

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