Mark Hayward's City Matters: Central buddies play on
Marine Band Assistant Director Maj. Jason K. Fettig conducts the Marine Chamber Orchestra at Northern Virginia Community College. He is being promoted to lieutenant colonel and director of the U.S. Marine Band.
Master Gunnery Sgt. William Kanteres, left, is headed to his next Marine assignment — as senior adviser to enlisted Marines enrolled to the Naval School of Music in Virginia Beach. COURTESY PHOTOS
Jason Fettig and William Kanteres drove together to and from band rehearsals. They played alongside one another in the high school band as well as gigs outside of school. They shared a tent at the Boy Scout band camp.
Like most high school boys, a competitive spirit laced their friendship. Both tried out for drum major at Central. The position goes to only a chosen few, who lead the band at football games and downtown parades. Fettig nabbed the open slot.
Today, Fettig gets promoted to lieutenant colonel. It’s a prelude to an even bigger promotion that comes July 12, when he becomes director of the U.S. Marine Band, which is nicknamed “The President’s Own.”
“I like to think it’s something in the water in New Hampshire,” Fettig said. “Talent and the drive to succeed brought us together.”
Their competitive nature has matured into one of reciprocal admiration.
Fettig noted that Kanteres entered the Marines fresh out of Central. He was recently promoted to master gunnery sergeant, the highest rank an enlisted person can earn in the Marines. Kanteres saw combat. And he looks like a Marine — no longer the long-haired, skinny band kid from Central, Fettig said.
David Bresnahan, the Central band teacher who taught the two, said both were talented, especially Fettig. But one needs more than talent to go as far as Fettig, Bresnahan said. A music director at that level needs a thorough understanding of music and all instruments, luck and an ability to schmooze.
Fettig has been with the Marine Band through three Presidents. Bill Clinton would recognize pieces from his days as a high school saxophonist, Fettig said. George W. Bush liked country and classical music, and once directed the band. Barack Obama prefers jazz and classical, with a special liking for Stevie Wonder.
And why not?
His life — at Central, in the Marines, with Kanteres — is like a pleasing symphonic composition. A theme develops, it expands, it alters but never changes completely. In the end, it’s just two high school buddies, their instruments at their sides, out to make their way in the world.
Mark Hayward’s City Matters appears Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader and UnionLeader.com. He wishes all his readers a happy Independence Day.
READER COMMENTS: 2
- Charles Krauthammer: Ebola vs. civil liberties - 0
- Wayne F. Lesperance Jr.: Republicans are poised to win the Senate... maybe - 2
- George Will: The fictitious war on women - 0
- Thomas Sowell: Irresponsible 'education' - 3
- Our Constitution is crumbling and few seem to care - 4
- Can the administration handle an outbreak as well as Hollywood thinks it can? - 6
- George Will: Tackled by the speech police - 1
- Another View -- Steve Merrill: NH needs Walt Havenstein's Pledge 2.0 - 2
- NH's fantasy budgeting has got to end - 4
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Husband of Salem babysitter sentenced to additional time in second sex abuse case - 0
- Keene police working to identify rioters, notify other colleges of students’ participation - 0
- Man arrested as police investigate shots fired in Manchester - 0
- Alibaba Market robbed; scratch tickets taken from Crosstown Variety on Manchester's West Side - 0
- Hearing postponed for fire official facing harrassment charges in Londonderry - 0
- Bedford woman injured when tree falls on her - 0
- Nashua man accused of choking woman - 0
- High School Football Power Poll: Some shufflling below the top four - 0
- Nigeria declared Ebola-free by WHO after containing virus - 3
Keene State College students clean up after mayhem, say weekend riots were not their fault
Keene Pumpkin Festival has uncertain future
Monitoring social media
On Obamacare: Shaheen doesn't get it
On Obamacare: Shaheen doesn't get it
What rising tide? Kuster vs. Kennedy
A series of sharp exchanges at 2nd CD debate
Keene police working to identify rioters, notify other colleges of students' participation