Area musician joins 'President's Own'

2013-03-31T20:43:00Z 2013-04-01T11:16:37Z Area musician joins 'President's Own'Chas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

When Tim Huizenga began developing his musical talents as a child, his family and teachers likely were among those who first heard him perform.

After he recently secured a spot with a prestigious military band, the 27-year-old Lansing native will play for the president of the United States.

Huizenga, a French horn player, won an audition in February to join "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band in Washington, D.C.

Huizenga said the band is the "most elite military band" and the oldest professional active musical organization in the country.

The primary mission of the group is to provide music for the president and the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, he said. According to “The President’s Own” website, band members don't have a secondary tactical or combat mission.

Huizenga is currently a member of the U.S. Army Field Band.

Following the Army Field Band's fall tour, he spent countless hours in a practice room, taking lessons and "playing for anyone willing to listen" to prepare for the Marine Band audition.

"It was a lot of work," he said.

He said 91 musicians from around the nation participated in the two-day French horn audition. Huizenga's confidence grew after the first round. He was one of 12 people who advanced, he said.

As the audition continued, the group eventually was reduced to two people.

During the final two rounds, participants didn't know what music they would be asked to perform.

"You have to be ready for anything," said Huizenga, who has been playing the French horn since the fifth grade.

He and the other candidate later were informed that both of them were selected to join the band.

"It's very exciting," he said of the opportunity.

Before auditioning, his Army Field Band commander issued a letter granting him permission to seek the Marine Band opening.

The letter also indicated if Huizenga was selected to join the Marine Band, he would be released from the Army Field Band at the end of his current enlistment or when a replacement was found for his position.

Huizenga, whose parents are St. John residents, said the vacancy with the Army Field Band has been posted. He will enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps to become a member of "The President's Own."

Becoming a member of the Marine Band was always on Huizenga's radar. The last time the band had a French horn opening was about 10 years ago, he said.

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