U.S. Marine Band

Which U.S. President signed an Act of Congress that created the United States Marine Band?

And the answer: John Adams.    

Photo credit: UGA Performing Arts. 

Established in 1798, the United States Marine Band is America’s oldest active professional musical organization. Known as "The President's Own," the band's mission is to provide music for the President at official functions.

The year is 1798. In the then-capitol of Philadelphia, President John Adams signs a congressional act which establishes the Marine Band: a group of 32 drummers and fifers whose primary duty is to entertain the President of the United States. It isn't until 1800, though, that the U.S. Marine Band makes its public debut. In Washington D.C., on a hill overlooking the Potomac, early settlers flocked to hear the “Marines’ band of music.” By January of the following year, the band had begun performing in the White House— even though it wasn't quite finished yet.

In 1801, President Jefferson won the presidency, and brought with him a love for music that would impact the U.S. Marine Band for years to come. In March of that year, the band performed for Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration— and for every presidential inaugural since. In Jefferson, the band found its most visionary advocate. An accomplished musician himself, Jefferson recognized the unique relationship between the presidency and the band by giving the it the title of “The President’s Own.”

Today, the U.S. Marine Band appears at the White House an average of 200 times per year. Whether performing for State Dinners or South Lawn arrivals, events of national significance, or receptions, the Marine Band can be anything from a small ensemble (such as a solo pianist, jazz combo or brass quintet) to a country band, dance band or full concert band.

Learn more about the history of the U.S. Marine Band here.

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