By Ray King
OF THE COMMERCIAL STAFF
Known as “The President’s Own,” the United States Marine Band will be performing a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Marine Staff Sgt. Kara Santos, who has been a member of the band for six years and will be the solo featured performer during the concert, said the band was “looking forward to coming to your town and performing.”
Santos, originally from Iowa City, Iowa, said the band is currently on tour, which will wrap up Thursday, Oct. 15, in New Mexico.
“We will be performing one concert each day,” Santos said.
She said this will be the first time she has performed as a soloist on the road and will be performing music that “has a Spanish flavor to it.”
When they’re not on tour, Santos said the band performs at ceremonies, funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, for functions conducted by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and at “the White House for presidential events.”
John Graham, the director of bands at UAPB, said the tours across the country by the band allow people to connect with the government and see one of the things they’re paying taxes for.
“People are going to hear music at the highest level and music they can identify with,” Graham said. “We love hosting something like this because it crosses regional lines and is a way to bring the community together.”
He said the performance will also be a “strong learning experience, not just for our students in my band but for high school students who will have the opportunity to see world-class musicians.”
Graham said the performance also presents the opportunity to honor and salute those who have or currently serve in the military.
“It’s a chance for us to stick our chests out and say how proud we are to be Americans and what a great country we live in,” Graham said.
The Marine Band has toured the country each year since 1891, a tradition that began under composer John Philip Sousa, and Santos said people attending the concert can expect to hear traditional marches, as well as a variety of patriotic and classical music pieces.
“When we did the inaugural parade, we had the chance to go to Washington, D.C., and see the places where the band performs like the National Museum and Arlington National Cemetery,” Graham said. “The band represents an important part of America as we know it.”
Tickets for the free concert, which begins at 3 p.m. in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Complex can be ordered online at http://marineband.ticketleap.com
This event is co-sponsored by the Pine Bluff Commercial.