musician on stage. student watching

Paw Paw, MI –  On Tuesday, October 24, 2023, Paw Paw High School and Paw Paw Middle School band students had the rare opportunity to attend a live performance by one of “The President’s Own” US Marine Band Members. Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) Christopher McFarlane, Principal Bassoonist, captivated students as he played multiple instruments on stage at Paw Paw’s Performing Arts Center (PAC). As part of the Marine Band’s educational outreach component, band students were given instruction and learned practice and playing tips from an expert. During the Q&A, many students asked questions of the professional musician, listening carefully to the answers.

According to PPPS Band Teacher Amy Gronda, “The President’s Own” US Marine Band is considered to be the preeminent wind ensemble nationally, if not internationally.”

When Ms. Gronda heard that “The President’s Own” US Marine Band was coming to Miller Auditorium in October, she did some research and discovered that the band offered an Education Outreach Program  for schools and decided to apply. She was notified in September that PPPS was selected for a clinic, and she worked with the band’s coordinator to finalize arrangements.

After attending the Marine Band’s concert on Monday at Miller Auditorium, Ms. Gronda had this to say to students and staff, “I went to the concert last night. It was probably the best concert I have ever attended!”

In anticipation of the band member’s appearance at the PAC the next day, Ms. Gronda sent this  message to PPPS staff, “This is an amazing opportunity for our students to learn from a member of this outstanding performing ensemble. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!"

#  #   #

The history of  “The President’s Own” Marine Band dates back to 1798, when it was first established as the United States Marine Band. The U.S. Marine Band is the only musical unit that bears the title “The President’s Own” and whose mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In 1801 “The President’s Own” was added, due to its historical connection to the President of the United States. In addition to playing at the Presidential Inaugural, state funerals and other ceremonies, the Marine Band performs for events of national importance, such as State Arrivals, holiday events and other White House celebrations and receptions