The United States Marine Band usually performs for world leaders and dignitaries. Considered "the president's own," it is a presence at White House events and state dinners. But its director considers Monday night's performance in St. Albans one of his most important.
"Whenever you get a chance to play for a hometown crowd, it's really a one-of-a-kind experience," said Colonel Michael Colburn, who grew up in St. Albans. This is his first hometown performance since becoming director of the 200-year-old band last year.
"It's amazing to have the best band in the world come to your town to play, and when they're directed by one of the graduates, it's an amazing significance," said Eric Bushey, band director at Bellows Free Academy, Colburn's alma mater. "We're all very excited and very proud."
About 2600 tickets were given out for the free performance. People began lining up two hours early. While most came for a good concert, some were here to see the local boy they knew way back when.
"It's been very nice he's been able to bring this to St. Albans, our hometown boy," Sandy Chagnon beamed.
"I always knew he'd do something good," Nancy Arenz said. "And this is pretty good."
This audience also held his biggest fan -- his father. Verne Colburn was the longtime director of the Bellows Free Academy band, and said his son is an inspiration to other students.
"I think it gives them some motivation to pursue excellence themselves," he said. "It shows that pursuit of excellence will pay off, even in the smaller towns."
Colonel Colburn seemed humbled by the praise, saying he was just doing what he loves.
"I just love making music," he said. "Aside from playing for the president and all the celebrities we get to meet, I get to play with best musicians. If we're an inspiration to those young musicians, it's frosting on the cake."
The band will perform Tuesday night in Newport, Vermont. The concert is at the North Country Union High School gymnasium at 7:30.
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