First known photograph of the Marine Band, 1864. U.S. Marine Corps

The President's Own: A History of the U.S. Marine Band

September 16, 2014

On Tuesday, September 16, the U.S. Marine Band's historian, Gunnery Sergeant Kira Wharton, delivered an Overbeck History Lecture on the origins of the band at the end of the 18th century and its long and colorful history in our neighborhood.

Known as "the President's Own," the Marine Band is America's oldest continuously active professional musical organization and has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. With its unique mission to provide music for the President and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, it has grown from a handful of fifers and drummers to one of the premiere musical organizations in the world, with more than 150 musicians and support staff. Its offerings include not only band music but chamber music, jazz, pop - most anything the President and the public want to hear.

GySgt Wharton holds a doctorate of musical arts from the University of Iowa. She joined the Marine Band as a librarian in 2003, with duties including the preparation of music for performances by the band and the Marine Chamber Orchestra. She was appointed assistant chief in 2008 and historian in 2013.

Her lecture included musical samplings from Marine Band performances.

Past Lectures