The Memorial Day weekend officially marks the kick-off of the summer season both here in Washington and around the country. The annual Memorial Day concert on the Capitol Lawn, which can be viewed on the public broadcasting network and the American Armed Forces Netowrk, is happening this weekend as well as the annual spectacular of Rolling Thunder. Participating in some of these festivities is the United States Marine Band or, as it is affectionately known "The President's Own". The band was created by an act of Congress in 1798 and, according to its website, claims to be "America's oldest continuously active professional musical organization." It regularly performs at the White House (photo at right) and is comprised of approximately 160 members under the current direction of Colonel Michael Colburn. The famous march king John Phillips Sousa led the band for twelve years from 1880 to 1892.
The band tours the country during certain times of the year and during the summer it can be heard regularly at concerts around Washington, including the one tomorrow night at the Filene Center (Wolf Trap) , complete with fireworks.