Strongs enlistment started with the audition, a musical crucible.
A single opening for a Marine Band trumpet player attracted 110 competitors. Each was given a batch of music to master. Over two days, with judges listening from behind a screen, the field was narrowed to 10, and then four, and then one.
Jeff is a great, great trumpet player, and a great person to have in the organization, said Col. Michael J. Colburn, the bands director.
A six-week basic course taught Strong military fundamentals, such as how to salute, march and distinguish between his colonel and his gunnery sergeant. He isnt tactically trained. Strongs sole job, summed up by the band itself, is to play music for the president of the United States and the commandant of the Marine Corps.
This blend of musicianship and Marine oorah! battle cry makes for a unique mix. During a recent pre-inaugural practice at the Marine Corps Barracks Annex, Strong and the other band members were casually dressed in jeans and civilian clothes. Colburn, directing, was the only one with a tie. Their hair was short, but not exactly high and tight. Some quiet joking broke up the practice discipline; a tuba player asked Colburn whether hed have to sing.
But then, in certain phrasings, came clues that this outfit was, indeed, engaged in a military operation.
The second to last note, sir, Strong asked Colburn. Am I supposed to stay on the G or move to the F sharp?
Colburn considered the question and issued his order, and then the U.S. Marine Band marched musically on.
The Marine Band practices for the Inaugural