By Janee Law
Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills is set to host the only Long Island performance of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band during its current tour of the northeast.
The free Oct. 21 concert will take over the stage in the school’s auditorium and members of the Half Hollow Hills community couldn’t be more excited, said Darlene Lilla, director of fine arts for the district.
“Half Hollow Hills is so excited to be hosting the only performance on Long Island,” Lilla said. “In addition to the concert, we are proud to offer master classes to our music students before the concert, presenting them with a private and in-depth lesson with the Marine Band.”
The U.S. Marine Band, established in 1798, and first referred to as “The President’s Own” by President Thomas Jefferson in 1801, has embarked on an annual since 1891, when it was initiated by John Philip Sousa, an American composer and conductor who was known for American military and patriotic marches.
Current trumpeter and cornetist Master Gunnery Sgt. John Abbracciamento said there are now 155 band members, including 100 performers and 55 support staffers.
“The instrumentalists are the finest musicians I’ve ever had the opportunity to play with,” Abbracciamento, of Valley Stream, said. “I take great pride in that we get to bring our music to every corner of the country.”
The 2017 tour also includes stops in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and other areas of New York. There will be 28 concerts in total.
“I’m very happy to be able to do what I do back at Long Island,” Abbracciamento said. “I grew up in Valley Stream had my first lessons at Valley Stream High School, so it’s nice to be able to do what I do with my colleagues on Long Island.”
The performance will be led by Marine Band Director Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig, who will showcase a variety of standard band literature, while including songs that are patriotic, Abbracciamento said. He added that the performance opens with the national anthem and ends with a medley salute to the Armed Forces.
“There’s something there for everybody and they’re going to enjoy it I’m pretty confidant of that,” Abbracciamento said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The concert is sponsored by the Half Hollow Hills Central School District and will be free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved (limit four per person) at Marineband.ticketleap.com.
The concert will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, but ticket holders must be seated by 7:15 p.m. — non-ticket holders will be admitted at that time.