Musical Marines: “The President’s Own” visits RIC

Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

Managing Editor

Photo` taken by Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

The Rhode Island College community was pleased to welcome “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band on Friday. This is the band’s 17th visit to Rhode Island. Conducted by Col. Jason Fetting, the band performed a number of patriotic songs, as well as pieces arranged and transcribed by members of the band. Moderated by Master Gunnery Sergeant Kevin Bennear, who is also the third ever solo vocalist for the band, each musical selection was given its time to shine. Bennear gave a quick, but concise history on each selection, all while sharing a high enthusiasm for music.


“The President’s Own” played selections from “Tabasco,” “New England Triptych,” “Zodiac Concerto,” and “Jeremiah.” Among the more modern pieces featured was a piece called “Fanfare for Tomorrow.” This piece was commissioned by the Marine Band specifically for the inauguration of President Joe Biden. “Fanfare for Tomorrow” was composed by RIC’s very own Peter Boyer ‘91. The composer wasn’t present, but his mother, who’s also a RIC alumni, was present and recognized by the band.


Dr. Robert Franzblau, a professor in the Music Department, was presented as a guest conductor and conducted the performance of “Fanfare for Tomorrow.”

Photo taken by Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro

Master Gunnery Sergeant Hilliary Harding, playing the horn, and Master Gunnery Sergeant Mark Jenkins, playing the euphonium, were featured soloists during the performance of “Gemini” from “Zodiac Concerto,” a piece in which listeners are guided through the adventures of the Gemini twins, Pollux and Castor, the sons of Zeus in Greek mythology, on their quest to protect humankind.


The concert concluded with a salute to the Armed Forces, where each military branch had their own march played. Members of the audience who served were invited to stand and be recognized for their service when their respective march was played. Not only was the passion for music made obvious by the energies exerted by the band, but the pride emulated for the United States from both band members and veterans in the audience was moving.


For more information on “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, visit their website at www.marineband.marines.mil. Their website contains their concert locations, history, concerto competition information and profiles of other band members. There is a lot to see, including scanned copies of the original music books of John Philip Souza, the composer of the famous “Stars and Stripes Forever.”


To view past performances, as well as some live streamed concerts, visit their YouTube page at www.youtube.com/usmarineband.

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