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Musician Enlistment Option Program (MEOP)

SSgt Billy Turner: I'm a tuba player

Cpl William Ivery: Saxophone

SSgt Rico Selbo: Clarinet

Next Marine: Percussion

Cpl Alaura Gogue: Flute player

Next Marine: Bassoon

SSgt Colleen McCarten: Trumpet player

Cpl William Ivery: Piano

Sgt Colin Martin: I'm a trombone player in the Marine band, and I'm a Marine.

Cpl Albert Charles: You have to be perfect at what you do and you have to be the best at your instrument as well as being a Marine.

Sgt Colin Martin: It's the few and the proud for a reason. We're the most highly trained.

GySgt Victor Miranda: It's not easy. Not everybody becomes a Marine musician. MEOP stands for Musician Enlistment Option Program.

MSgt Rick Dengler: There are fifty members in each band. They make up all the different performing ensembles. The concert band would be everybody in the unit. We have a ceremonial band which would be minus our rhythm section. And our smaller ensembles, we'll have brass quintets, woodwind quintets, our jazz combo. We have a party band and sometimes we'll have a show band. You're on the stage, you're having fun, you're putting on a show.

GySgt Victor Miranda: The Commandant's Own is a Drum and Bugle Corps. It is also part of our program.

Sgt Tiffany Miller: Before you even sign your contract, you have to take a field audition.

GySgt Victor Miranda: Once the audition is passed and they meet the qualifications, they are slated to go to recruit training.

Cpl William Ivery: Recruit training is simply no joke. It's not for everyone, but if you want it to hard enough, you can get through.

Sgt Colin Martin: To be at the end of it and finally have yourself called Marine, it's definitely one of the best days of my life.

CWO3 Robert Szabo: Their next step is going to the Armed Forces School of Music. It's intense. They train everyday in many different facets.

MSgt Rick Dengler: One of the biggest things a MEOP Marine has is the opportunity to travel.

SSgt Rico Selbo: I've been to Thailand, I've been to Korea, I've been to Cambodia.

CWO3 Robert Szabo: I've played for heads of state, for Presidents of the United States.

GySgt Victor Miranda: The opportunities for the musician are quite numerous.

MSgt Rick Dengler: You can become a conductor, a drum major, a repair technician, a small ensemble leader or a bandmaster.

CWO3 Robert Szabo: Every Marine is a rifleman.

MSgt Rick Dengler: We all go to the same boot camp. We all go to the same combat training.

SSgt Colleen McCarten: We're just like any other Marine. We have to do our physical fitness test, our combat fitness test. We shoot on the rifle range, on the pistol range.

GySgt Robert Trenum: A lot of people think, okay well you're in the Marine band you don't deploy, but that's wrong.

SSgt Billy Turner: When it's time to go, set your instrument down and go pick up a rifle. Your primary job is to be a Marine, to serve your country.

SSgt Billy Turner: The reward is when you see the people around you show you respect for not only being a Marine, but being a musician as well.

Cpl Alaura Gogue: The reaction you get from people when you're done playing that they appreciate what we do so much as a Marine and as a musician. That is something I'll have with me for the rest of my life.

MSgt Rick Dengler: If you love music, follow the music and see where it leads you. Chances are the Marine Corps Band is going to be a very good option for you.