My Buckhannon file photo by Brian Bergstrom

B-U Marching Band steps up to perform in clinic with elite ‘The President’s Own’ U.S. Marine Band

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon-Upshur High School Marching Band has been selected to participate in a clinic with ‘The President’s Own’ United States Marine Band on Feb. 1, 2021.

B-UHS Band Director Eliza Taylor confirmed the honor with My Buckhannon on Monday, saying the master class the students will receive is ‘Practice Skills for High School Musicians.’

Taylor said The President’s Own United States Marine Band is one of the most desired bands to be a part of.

“I happened to come across a Facebook group post that the President’s Own was doing free clinics with high school bands during the month of February,” Taylor said. “The registration opened on a day at noon, so I set an alarm. I got on right at noon and registered, and we got a spot.”

Taylor said they are excited to be working with the full band at B-UHS.

“The way it is going to work is virtual, and one of their members is going to work with the band for about an hour, helping with good practicing strategies,” Taylor said. “We will have our meeting with them on Feb. 1 at 10 a.m., so that is significant. We will have one of the top musicians from across the country working with our students.”

That top musician working with members of the B-UHS Band is clarinetist Staff Sergeant Jacob Moyer.

Band students are very excited about the opportunity, and Taylor said she explained The President’s Own is the band that gets to play at presidential inaugurations.

“It is an honor for our band students and will be an opportunity for them to learn about career opportunities as a band member,” Taylor said, adding this is not something B-UHS band members have ever experienced before. “We have had colleges come and do clinics, and we work with West Virginia Wesleyan College, who will come and work with us pretty regularly but we have not had professional musicians of this caliber come in before in a while.”

Members of the B-UHS Concert and Symphonic Band will participate in the clinic.

“I want to give these kids as many opportunities as I can through music,” Taylor said. “I want them to experience things like this – it is part of history and the United States military and allows them to experience things outside of Upshur County. Some of the students, if they were not involved in band, may not have the opportunity to leave the county. Giving them outside opportunities can sometimes lead to opportunities with colleges and professionals later on that help them secure jobs because being a musician and working in the music industry is definitely a viable career option.”

“Students who do not see music as a career option will have social interactions they may not have otherwise and social interactions,” she added. “If there are students considering joining the military, they get to see about that as well. And this kind of activity helps with character-building and is a great way to learn about respect for yourself and others.”

Taylor said this clinic would give students the opportunity to learn how to represent themselves and how to represent Upshur County Schools to the outside world.

According to the President’s Own United States Marine Band website, www.marineband.marines.mil, their mission is to perform for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The site said the band was founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress and the Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional music organization.

The clinic description says that ‘everyone has heard that practice makes perfect, but what makes perfect practice? This clinic will give students inspiration and practical tips to take their playing to the next level, including techniques for approaching tricky technical passages, how to structure a practice session and bigger picture questions like why we practice in the first place.’

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