- David Ammerman
Our thanks go out to everyone who came to Washington DC and participated in the audition process, and congratulations to all the semi-finalists and finalists for advancing through a large and highly competitive field. The winner, Paul Mergen, is currently studying with Scott Mendoker at Rutgers University, and will join the USMB later this year. Paul was a finalist four years ago when Frank Crawford won his position, and the runner-up two years ago when Chris Tiedeman won his position.
There were a total of 78 candidates for the preliminary round. Many of those candidates in the morning hours had to deal with several distractions during their auditions, such as the jackhammer in the parking lot right outside the door to the band hall, the Barracks' officers practicing their marching drills with parade music blasting on the loudspeakers right outside the door to the band hall, engineers walking in and out unexpectedly, and the really big jackhammer they brought in later (the first one wasn't doing the job, apparently ) that literally shook the foundations of the building we were in. These events were beyond the Band's control, and added a lot of frustration to an already difficult job for both the candidates and the committee. Several candidates advanced to semi-finals during that time frame, displaying their talent and professionalism in less than ideal circumstances. To be honest, such is life in the Marines--never a dull moment.
Thank you again, to all who participated, for your hard work, your patience, and your musicianship. We heard a lot of good tuba playing this week.
United States Marine Band