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Marine Chamber Orchestra to perform at Howard Community College

Staff Sgt. Sheng-Tsung Wang will perform with the United States Marine Chamber Orchestra in a rare public performance at Howard Community College April 12.
Staff Sgt. Sheng-Tsung Wang will perform with the United States Marine Chamber Orchestra in a rare public performance at Howard Community College April 12. (Courtesy photo)

The United States Marine Chamber Orchestra will be staging a rare public performance at Howard Community College April 12.

The Marine Chamber Orchestra, part of the larger United States Marine Band, provides music for the nation's president and the commandant of the Marine Corps. The band performs regularly throughout the year at White House State Dinners, receptions, and other functions, typically in Washington and Alexandria, Va.

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It's believed to be the first time that the Marine Chamber Orchestra will be performing at the community college.

Since 2007, the U.S. Marine Band — also known as "The President's Own" — has included Howard Community College adjunct faculty member and North Laurel resident Staff Sgt. Sheng-Tsung Wang.

"Now, finally the orchestra gets to be showcased in this area and for everybody to witness firsthand, the wonderful musicians that make up The President's Own," he said.

Wang, 40, was approached by Howard Community College Chair of the Music Department, Hsien-Ann Meng, about bringing the orchestra to the college as part of its annual concert series featuring faculty and guest artists.

After a few phone calls by Meng to the orchestra's directors, the show was booked.

"For students, faculty, and the community at large to hear a professional orchestra on campus, this is pretty unique. This is pretty rare," she said.

Wang moved with his family from Taiwan to the United States when he was 8-years-old, not knowing a word of English.

"I remember landing at JFK airport and thinking to myself, in Chinese, 'when am I ever going to learn this language?' It was very daunting," he said.

He soon began practicing the violin and has been playing it ever since.

Wang graduated from Centennial High School in 1993 and attended the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in violin performance. He's also earned a doctor of musical arts degree at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Wang earned a spot in the orchestra in his first audition, which isn't typical.

"I guess I lucked out," he said.

Before joining "The President's Own," Wang founded the Gemini Piano Trio and had been part of the Arts Club of Washington concert series and on National Public Radio.

Wang has taught off-and-on at the community college since 1999.

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In addition to teaching at Howard Community College, Wang has taught at the Peabody Preparatory in Baltimore and the Levine School of Music in Washington.

He previously taught with the Howard County Public School System at Centennial Lane Elementary School and Wilde Lake Middle School. Wang now operates a private music studio in Howard County.

Wang will be performing what he says is one of his favorite pieces, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K.216.

"To be able to play that piece in front of friends and with this amazing group of musicians that I get to work with day-in and day-out, it's just a perfect scenario for me," he said.

Meng added that the performance will be "pretty special" for the college.

"We're very excited to have such a prestigious orchestra coming," she said.

The show on April 12 begins at 4 p.m., and tickets are free. Tickets can be picked up at the Horowitz Center Box Office.

Tickets are required and going fast, according to Meng.

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