United States Coast Guard Band
|United States Coast Guard Band|
|Branch||United States Coast Guard|
|Garrison/HQ||United States Coast Guard Academy|
|Captain Kenneth W. Megan|
In March 1925, the Coast Guard Band was organized with the assistance of Lt. Charles Benter, leader of the U.S. Navy Band, Dr. Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and "American March King" John Philip Sousa, former director of the U.S. Marine Band.
Forty years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Congressional legislation that resulted in the Coast Guard Band becoming the permanent, official musical representative of the nation's oldest continuous seagoing service, the U.S. Coast Guard. This event established the band as one of the ten premier service bands in the U.S.
The duties of the Coast Guard Band have greatly expanded since 1965. Originally a small command band located at the Academy and used primarily for local purposes, today the band routinely tours throughout the U.S. and has performed in the former Soviet Union as well as in England. The band represents the U.S. Coast Guard around the nation and the world, at presidential functions, and for the Secretary of Homeland Security and other cabinet officials on formal and informal occasions.
According to the Coast Guard, competition for its limited vacancies is fierce, and many new Coast Guardsmen enlisting as musicians are conservatory-trained with degrees from elite institutions including the Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, and the New England Conservatory.
In addition to regular Coast Guard uniforms, the Coast Guard Band is authorized wear of special ceremonial dress consisting of navy blouses with banded collars and shoulder boards, and a multi-colored aiguillette. A second distinctive uniform, the "concert ceremonial dress uniform," is patterned in white with blue highlights such as shoulder boards and cuffs.
The Coast Guard Band is headquartered in New London, Connecticut.
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