The US Marine Band, also called "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, is the oldest such band in the USA. The US Marine Band was established by an Act of Congress in 1798.
Like other military bands in the USA, the Marine Band has more than one unit. These are the United States Marine Band, Marine Chamber Ensemble and the Marine Chamber Orchestra. The band is expected to perform various musical activities, such as perform at official and ceremonial events and band concerts.
The refrain "Hail to the Chief" is played at the ceremonial entrance of the President of the United States by the US Marine Band. The song is in reference to the president being the US Commander-in-Chief.
The Unites States Marine Band is known for its patriotic marches. Members of this Band give solo performances as well as perform at concerts of varying sizes. The Chamber Orchestra plays chiefly string orchestra compositions, and is just as versed in classical renditions as it is in more modern fare. The marine Chamber Ensemble performs mostly in small settings for private and intimate audiences. Each unit brings its own brand of professionalism to make "The President's Own" a band that entertains lucky audiences with incredible music.
Unlike some other military bands, recruitment for the Marine band is different from regular marine enlistment. In fact the Marine band is actually an independent unit. However, prospective members must be good musicians and adhere to stringent standards similar to other military enlistees.
To qualify for a place in the band, applicants must be citizens of the United States between the ages 17 and 28. Older applicants up to 34 years old can request a waiver of the age requirement for consideration. Non-military personnel over age 34 will not be considered.
Holders of dual citizenship must be willing to give this up if they want to enlist as a marine musician. If this is not done, the musician cannot obtain security clearance, which is an integral part of the qualification process.
All candidates for a position in the Marine Band must meet certain requirements. In addition, they must meet strict weight and height requirements. Failure to do so will result in not being called for an audition. On the health front, having any of these conditions can make it difficult to get into the Marine Band: hypertension (high blood pressure), anorexia, diabetes, problems with hearing and sight and cancer within five years of applying. This list is not exhaustive.
Auditions for the Marine Band are primarily to test the ability of the candidates. However, no matter how impressive the individual, if they fail the other requirements, they will not be called up.
In addition to those listed above, other factors that can lead to disqualification from "The President's Own" include being arrested, DUI/DWI, bankruptcy and even offences committed while a juvenile.
Ultimately, to qualify for the US Marine Band, applicants must be able to meet the same high standards required in any major musical group. All members of the band are expected to be versatile and therefore able to handle more than one instrument or activity.
Qualified people for the marine band will have to get a complete medical exam done at the Military Enlistment Processing Station in close proximity to their place of residence. They will also need to get an aptitude test done as well. Upon being accepted, members of "The President's Own" will next have to sign a four-year contract. Each new recruit to the Marine band is signed up at the level of Staff Sergeant and are entitled to all benefits attached to that rank.
Apart from vacancy announcements on the band's website, announcements are also placed in The International Musician, a trade magazine of the music industry and mailings to music schools both in the USA and internationally. Those who really want to be a member of the Marine Band should make it a habit to check for vacancy announcements regularly.