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 Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-06-22 17:29

"The President's Own" Marine Band will be holding a clarinet audition this coming September, 10th-11th.

Clarinet players can sometimes be hesitant to audition for military band jobs so I wanted to start this post to dispel any misinformation that might be out there and answer any questions that anyone has about the audition and the Marine Band in general.

Marine Band auditions are very similar to standard orchestra auditions and are extremely well run.

You can learn more about the band on our website:

http://www.marineband.usmc.mil/

You can get the excerpts for the audition by emailing our operations office. They will email you the music in PDF format in 1-2 business days. You'll find the link on the following page:

http://www.marineband.usmc.mil/career_information/index.htm

Also on this page you can find more in depth information about pay, benefits, the enlistment process etc.

Please feel free to post any questions at all about the audition, working in the Marine Band, or anything else regarding the organization.

Best,

Joe LeBlanc



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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Fontalvo 
Date:   2007-06-22 21:10





Post Edited (2007-06-23 07:18)

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: bahamutofskycon 
Date:   2007-06-22 22:07

I am very much looking forward to participating in this audition. My father made his carreer in the Marine Corps (but not as a musician) and I am excited about the chance to follow in his footsteps and serve my country.

Steve Ballas

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: William 
Date:   2007-06-23 14:39

I would love to audition and, if accepted, serve my country playing in one of the worlds best bands. Unfortunately, our US Service Bands practice age discrimination by setting a 35 yr old limit. I have always thought that to be unfair--especially since turning 36 (30 yrs ago).

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: jane84 
Date:   2007-06-23 14:59

Do you have to be a US citizen to audition for all US mil. bands?
(that would make sense, but I just want to make sure)

-jane

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2007-06-23 15:45

I know you don't need to be a US Citizen to join the army, but I don't know about the premiere bands.

Also, out of curiosity, yhey perform pretty close to the president so they probably require at least a secret clearance if not top secret, correct?

Just wondering. I think I'm gonna take a few years to really spice up my technique and become a better player and I think I'll be looking for auditions for the premiere bands in a few years.

Alexi

Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band


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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-06-23 16:22

William,

Yes, there is an age requirement. One thing to keep in mind though is the band chooses players on musical ability alone. The audition is held behind a screen like most orchestral auditions. But in addition to winning the audition, one must also be qualified to enlist in the Marine Corps. There are age, physical, and health requirements that everyone entering the Marine Corps must meet.

However, another thing to keep in mind is the fact that all members of "The President's Own" Marine Band are non combatants. So the band is sometimes able waive some requirements that might normally disqualify someone for military service. These waivers are granted on a case by case basis, and I would direct specific questions to our operations office.

You can find more specific information as well as our operations contact email here:

http://www.marineband.usmc.mil/career_information/learn_more/qualifications.htm

-Joe

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-06-23 16:38

Jane and Alexi,

The reason that "President's Own" members have to be US citizens is because of the security clearance that we must qualify for. This is not the case for other Marine Corps bands.

Because the band is often tasked directly by the White House and it's members work in close proximity to the president we all receive an extensive back round check and a secret clearance.

The "President's Own" performs at the White House many times each week. The musical support can range from solo piano, to full concert band. Depending on the needs of the event different sized groups and musical styles will be used.

-Joe

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2007-06-23 22:10

Hey Joe,

I didn't see it directly in posts, but isn't the age limit now 44? Desperate times call for "desperate" measures.

Another BIG selling point is that although one needs to meet Height/Weight requirements (look like a soldier) there is NO attendence at Basic Military Training for the President's Own. This is the ONLY military band for which this is true...........correct?



.........Paul Aviles



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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-06-24 01:04

Paul,

I believe the age limits are different for different services and they can be higher for people with previous service. Currently to join the Marine Corps with no previous military service the cut off is age 34.

Yes the Marine Band is unique in that it's members do not attend basic training. This is because the Marine Band has no secondary combat mission and it's members are fully trained for their job when they arrive. However all new members receive extensive training and instruction in the customs and courtesies and rules and regulations of the US Marine Corps. This training, along with learning how to march is done one on one with the assistant Drum Major.

-Joe



Post Edited (2007-06-24 01:04)

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2007-06-24 03:34

And Paul, yes, the other premiere bands require you to attend Basic Training, however no other training (Army's AIT, Navy's A-school, etc.) is necessary.

So if anyone else is reading about joining another premiere band besides "The President's Own" (Annapolis Band, West Point Band, Pershing's Own, US Air Force Academy Band, Jazz Knights, etc), you will have to attend basic training. And if I'm not mistaken, you start basic training with a rank of e-3 or e-4, and get promoted to e-6 after you reach your band.

Alexi

Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band


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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-08-18 19:16

The Marine Band audition is fast approaching and I was wondering, who on the bboard is planning to come take the Marine Band audition?

If you do come out please say hi while you are here, there's a good chance I'll be working the audition(I'll be checking people in, not on the committee) and I'd love to meet you.

I welcome any more questions about the audition process or job in general.

Best of luck!

-Joe

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2007-08-18 20:18

I'm too old!

Chris.

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-08-19 00:44

No glass eyes allowed. One of my best friends has one and found out the hard way that he was disqualified (at the audition) for the band.

Great group though!

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: GBK 
Date:   2007-08-19 00:52

DavidBlumberg wrote:

> No glass eyes allowed. One of my best friends has one and found
> out the hard way that he was disqualified



That would explain why Sammy Davis Jr was never a Marine [wink]


...GBK



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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2007-08-20 04:17

Wow, 34 year old age limit! I retired at 39 from the US Army Field Band. Do you know how few pro orchestras pay anywhere close to an E8 retirement?

Tom Puwalski- The Artist formerly known as Sarge!

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-08-20 11:40

No, that's to audition! You can be there till you are pretty old from what I know.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Katrina 
Date:   2007-08-20 13:35

Yeah. I'm too old and I've got Type 1 diabetes too. That kind of killed any military band career for me from the get-go...

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: JJAlbrecht 
Date:   2007-08-20 20:37

That makes two of us, Katrina! :) I was seriously interested in militart bands, too, but they didn't want any part of me.

Jeff

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: grifffinity 
Date:   2007-08-20 22:15

Quote:

No, that's to audition! You can be there till you are pretty old from what I know.


David's correct - if you check the Marine band website, you can look at the current roster. There are several women in the clarinet section who look to be in their 40's.

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: marcia 
Date:   2007-08-20 22:42

>You can be there till you are pretty old from what I know.

>There are several women in the clarinet section who look to be in their 40's.

Positively ancient!

Marcia (50 something and still considering myself young....)

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: grifffinity 
Date:   2007-08-20 22:51

Quote:

Positively ancient!

Marcia (50 something and still considering myself young....)


My comment wasn't to offend the forever young baby boomers - but to point out that there are musicians over 34 who are current members of the Marine Band.

BTW - anything over 26 is ancient in classical music!

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-08-21 04:18

To clarify, The enlistment cutoff is age 34. Most members decide to make a career out of the Marine Band and stay in 20 yrs and often longer.

The requirements can seem a little strange/unfair but keep in mind that these are Marine Corps wide and the band falls under that umbrella. But because our mission is so unique, many of these requirements can be waived. (age, probably not so much but if you are just over the cutoff and interested in the job, I'd email our Operations office about it, see above for email link.)

As far as the audition is concerned all the committee cares about is the level of musicianship. If there is a player they want that has a health issue or other concern the directors will do everything within their power to hire that individual. It is not unusual for a band member to have to get a waiver before enlisting.

Anyhow, good luck to those coming to the audition!

Best,

Joe

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: chocolat87 
Date:   2007-08-28 23:33

Anyone know how many spots are open?

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-08-30 21:51

One position is open.

-Joe

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: bahamutofskycon 
Date:   2007-08-31 14:07

Joe,

This may be a dumb question - but are accompanists required for the Mozart concerto? Or do auditioners just perform it unaccompanied for the panel?

Thanks



Post Edited (2007-08-31 14:36)

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: bill28099 
Date:   2007-08-31 16:19

Here is another dumb question. I was looking through the resumes of the band members and there was no one I could find who joined prior to 1987. Are band members forced to retire after 20 years? The pension after 20 years is ~40% of base, 21K for a master gunnery sargent, not all that great in today's world, but with all the masters and doctorate degrees guess teaching jobs are easy to find.

If you look at the resumes of the members of the US Navy band there are a few who like the place so well they stay past their 20 years.

Oh yes, when you join do they forgive your student loans?

A great teacher gives you answers to questions
you don't even know you should ask.

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-08-31 18:18

No accompaniment and you play it on the Bb Clarinet (yes?). It seems that most if not all players do their 20 years and get out - that way you get your full retirement and can go get another job/career if you want to supplement your income and become a millionaire....

Or at least pay off the Porsche

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: chocolat87 
Date:   2007-09-01 02:20

no accompaniment, but played on A

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: clarinetfreak 
Date:   2007-09-01 03:18

"Are band members forced to retire after 20 years?"

Depending on rank one can stay up to 30 years. But if one never gets promoted, yes you would be forced to retire after 20.

"The pension after 20 years is ~40% of base, 21K for a master gunnery sargent, not all that great in today's world"

The pension again depends on your rank and time in service. I belive if you are an E6 with 20 years, it's ~50% of your base pay and if you are an E9 with 30 years in it's ~75% of your base pay. The big things is that you'll recieve this till you die (so if you retire at the age of 45 and live till 75 it's not so bad), and commisary, medical, and some other military benefits still carry over into retirement.

"Oh yes, when you join do they forgive your student loans?"

Depending on the branch of service this perk varies. Currently the Army, Navy, and the Air Force have this but the terms and max amount varies. There are also over perks like the G.I. Bill (which helps pay for education while or after the enlistment) and commisary priviledges (military grocery shopping) which is available to all branches of the military.

Good Times!

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-09-01 22:54

Thanks for the answers clarinetfreak and others(I've been out of town for a few days). All correct and useful information.

Playing the Mozart on A Clarinet is preferred of course, but it can be played on Bb.

As for time in service in the Marine Band, people tend to stay in until the 22-26 year marks. Our head librarian has been in for over 30yrs however.

As clarinetfreak mentioned the benefits(which are substantial) carry over for the rest of your life and apply to your spouse as well. Kids are have full medical coverage until age 21 or 24 depending if they are in college. Also the pensions rise at the same rate as the active duty military pay. Those raises are in the 2-4% range every year.

Also keep in mind, 20 years is a VERY short time to receive a pension like this. Most members are in their mid to late 40's when they retire, young enough to continue a successful music career outside of the military or begin something totally new. In my two years in the band, I've seen both happen.

The Marine Band does not repay student loans but does offer the GI Bill which almost all members take advantage of.

Best,

Joe



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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: bahamutofskycon 
Date:   2007-09-02 03:31

Joe,

So I take it you were not one of the clarinetists in the Friday evening parade last night at 8th and I streets? It was a great show though - "President's Own," "Commadant's Own" Drum and Bugle Corps and the Silent Drill Patrol. All flawless.

How do they choose which members of the "President's Own" will play at the evening parades? If I counted correctly, there were only 36 band members there last night.

Thanks,
Steve Ballas

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-09-03 15:39

Steve,

Glad you made it to the last parade of the summer! It's a wonderful DC experience that not everybody gets to see when they visit.

To answer your question, the members for each parade are not chosen so much as the duties are divided among the whole section each week. The band has so many jobs that it's necessary to split up to fulfill all of them. Our summer season consists of Friday Night Parades(showcase) and two outdoor concerts per week and additionally all of the ceremonies and special events that occur all year round. In the clarinet section what generally happens is you are on the Parade and ceremonies one week and concerts the next.

Also, all of out events are always free and open to the public so next time anyone is down in DC, check the website, there's a high chance we'll be playing somewhere.

Best,

Joe



Post Edited (2007-09-03 15:46)

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2007-09-03 16:34

An interesting thread, J LB, wish I were 60 years younger and capable of such a challenge ! This AM, I heard on ?NPR? Perf Today the playing, by the M B, of "School For Scandle?" Barber, beautiful, sure sounded tough for all woodwinds! Sure would like to have it for our comm band to tussle with, its arranger for band was mentioned, can't recall. Great, Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2007-09-03 17:54

Don, the fugue from the school for scandle "School For Scandle" is problably the most difficult passage to play in the military band rep. I remember the first time the Army Field Band did it. I was running the clarinet section at the time and the newbies didn't listen when I told them we were rehearsing it in a few days. This is not something you want to sight read! So we used it on Field Band auditions as one of the prepared excerpts.

I thank Leon Russianoff's memory evertime we played it, he showed me how to practice. In 20 years active duty, I was never more than an hour away from playing any wierd violin lick the army could throw at me.

Tom Puwalski- The Leblanc artist formerly known as Sarge!

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Don Berger 
Date:   2007-09-03 20:17

TKS Tom, I figured it would ring someone's bell, what an audition piece, for "separating sheep and goats", and their oats?? I recall "Barnum & Bailey" in tryout for Mich State Band in the 30's, ugh, made 2nd cl !! Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-09-05 17:38

Btw - know all of the sections of the pieces, not just the obvious solos. Aegean Festival Overture everyone practices the cadenza but I've been to a military audition that they asked for the opening and not the cadenza.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-09-06 03:45

David,

I wouldn't worry too much about surprise excerpts. The Marine Band committee will stick with the excerpts listed on the website, and the ones sent out to clarinetist who requested the list.

Knowing the entire piece and supporting voices is always a greatly informative of course.

Best,

Joe

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2007-09-06 12:08

If they sent out excerpts and not the entire piece than that completely makes sense. Hey, tell Jeff Strouf I said hi!

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-09-06 12:36

Will do! I'm off to see him right now...

-Joe

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: bahamutofskycon 
Date:   2007-09-11 19:54

Joe,

How many people total auditioned for the position? And did they find someone to fill it?

Just curious,
Steve Ballas

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Fontalvo 
Date:   2007-09-12 14:16

Patrick Morgan.

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: chocolat87 
Date:   2007-09-13 01:59

46 people were at the audition

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 Re: Upcoming Marine Band Audition
Author: Joseph LeBlanc 
Date:   2007-09-13 21:21

Sorry for the late reply. Thanks to all the bboard members who came. I met at least one of you that I recognized from this forum.

Chances are we will have another opening in the next year or two...when we do I'll be sure to post the info on the bboard.

Take care,

-Joe

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