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Thread: Warrior Poets
12-29-07, 07:17 AM #1
From a friend of mine, former Marine and retired Philly cop, Mike Tremoglie. (He's published in the Philadelphia Bulletin, BTW). The editor changed this piece, the original is below. The link at the end is the published item.
Leave it to the Marines to be able to find people who not only can field strip an M16, they can clean and polish a trombone; who not only know how to kill a person with their bare hands, they also know how to play the delicate keys of an oboe; who not only can storm a beach through a hail of bullets, they can also play the tranquil notes of Brahms’ Lullaby.Warrior PoetsBy Michael P. Tremoglie
Such are the talented men and women of the United States Marine Corps bands. There are fourteen bands. All, with one exception, are staffed by personnel who receive all the same training and fulfill all the same combat roles that are required of other Marines. (The exception is the United States Marine Band, called “The President’s Own.” This is the one most familiar to the public. They are the primary band for ceremonies at the White House.)
There are fifty musicians and one officer in each of the twelve “fleet bands” located at bases in Quantico, VA; Cherry Point, NC; Camp Lejeune,
NC; New Orleans, LA; Camp Pendleton, CA; San Diego, CA; Okinawa, Japan; Parris Island, SC; Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; Twenty-Nine Palms, CA; Albany GA; and Miramar, CA. The other two units, the Drum and Bugle Corps, also known as “The Commandant’s Own,” which numbers eighty-one musicians, and the aforementioned “The President’s Own,” which consists of one hundred thirty members, are stationed in Washington DC.
Enlisting to become a Marine musician is a comprehensive process. Applicants not only have to qualify as a musician – they also have to qualify as a Marine. Not everyone can pass the grade.
The Marine qualification portion is the same as it is for any other applicant. There are no special standards for musicians. The assessment portion for musician includes an audition in which the applicants are required to play a prepared piece of music they choose, they then play scales and, finally, perform a sight reading provided for them.
Once they qualify, they enter the Marine Corps Music Program. First, they attend Recruit Training (Boot Camp) and then Marine Combat Training.
When they are done their combat training, they go to the Navy School of Music in Norfolk, VA. The school is alternatively known as the Armed Forces School of Music, because Army and Navy musicians go to this school as well. Usually, it is simply referred to as the School of Music (SOM).
During the twenty-four weeks they attend the SOM, they receive instruction in music theory, ear training, private instrumental instruction, concert band, jazz ensemble, contemporary music ensemble, improvisation, drill band, and musical instrument digital interface. Additionally, each week they spend approximately three hours doing physical training and approximately two hours training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. They also receive instruction in general military subjects and perform routine military duties.
The schedule is demanding. An average day officially begins at 7:20 a.m. (although it is actually closer to 5 a.m.) and much of their practicing is done in the evening or on weekends.
The faculty is first rate. There are sixty instructors who are chosen from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Many have degrees from civilian universities and music conservatories.
For those who believe that the SOM is second rate or that military musicians are unskilled – guess again. The SOM receives great praise from those who are well versed in teaching music.
According to Dr. Deborah Sheldon, Chair of the Music Education Department at Temple University’s revered Boyer School of Music,
“(Instructors) who teach at the (SOM) are well qualified and great teachers. The school is a nice coupling of military training with musical training.”
Professor Sheldon thinks that the Marine Corps Music Program (and military music programs generally) are valuable. “It is a great outlet for people who want to play professionally. It is important to have that as an option…. It is a great resource for people who want to continue their musical careers…The military band fills a need for those folks,” she commented. Indeed, some of her former students have opted for the military after graduation.
She states, unqualifiedly, “Themilitary has top notch bands. Go to any military base and listen to their band - it will get your toes tapping.”
More than music, she considers military bands an integral part of Americana. “They provide a unique maintenance of American culture – school bands were an outgrowth of military bands. Military ensembles have a rich musical heritage,”she said.
Virginia Allen is an instructor at Philadelphia’s world famous music conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music. She was formerly an Army officer who taught at the SOM. She also conducted the U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus in Washington, D.C. Ms. Allen said, “The quality of education at the School of Music has always been excellent.”
I asked her why she thought people choose a musical career in the military. She responded, “Many musicians want to be performers, but there (are) limited performance opportunities…. Other musicians may teach …then decide that either they want to perform more or that teaching simply isn’t the path they want to follow. Others are patriotic and want to serve their country …”
Like Sheldon, Allen feels the military’s music program is essential. She says music develops esprit de corps, builds morale, relieves stress, and counteracts loneliness.
It is obvious that Marine Corps musicians are a unique group of people. They are skilled individuals who possess both the artistic creativity of a musician, as well as, the athleticism and discipline of a Marine.
Throughout history there have been fables of the hero who could be mean and ruthless when vanquishing evil, yet kind, compassionate, and willing to help those in need. All cultures esteem the warrior-poet, someone who is able to slay dragons, yet compose a beautiful melody or sonnet.
The Celts had Ossian, the greatest poet in Ireland and a Fianna warrior. The Romans had Ennius, a great warrior who wrote poetry. The Vikings had Egill Skallagrímsson.
America has the musicians of the United States Marine Corps bands.
(Marine Corps bands are available to perform at public events. You can request a band for your affair by contacting the commander of the Marine installation nearest you or by contacting:
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
Attn: Band Coordinator
2 Navy Annex (PAC)
Washington, DC 20380-1775
(703) 614-1054 (Voice)
(703) 614-2358 (Fax)
It is simply a matter of completing a request form and mailing it back or completing it online at https://www.manpower.usmc.mil/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/M_RA_HOME/MP/MPO/MPO-20/MPO_20_FORMS/REQUEST%20FOR%20ARMED%20FORCES%20PARTICIPATION%20I N%20PUBLIC%20EVENTS.PDF )
03-18-08, 03:40 PM #2
Here nor there
Cpl. Butler (USMC 0311)
My heart sinks with pain...
I cannot believe I'm here...
No more bombs, no more gun fire...
No not anymore...
Not for this Marine...
His time has passed...
He fought his war or so he thought...
But strangely enough...
It's knocking at his door...
Like a pounding Migraine, it just wont go away...
He wakes up in tears, so cold and alone...
His war is with himself...
Those demons inside...
He will fight the good fight...
Just so he wont have to say...
"I'm just one more Marines, that has lost his way..."
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