FAQ for Prospective Musicians

Photo of the MDDF Band
MDDF Band, Marching in the Catonsville 4th of July Parade

What is the process for joining the band?

First is an audition and interview. You will be asked to have a prepared selection and be able to sight read. Musical scales are also required. Upon selection, you must complete the application for service in the Maryland Defense Force. Upon acceptance you will be sworn in and assigned to the MDDF Band.

How long is the enlistment?

Service in the Maryland Defense Force is voluntary. Musicians enlist for two year renewable periods. You may be involuntary discharged, on an honorable basis, at anytime, with or without cause. You have a right to resign, at anytime by giving not less than 30 days notice. More information on terms of membership in the MDDF can be found in the application package.

Do I have to go to basic training?

All members of the MDDF Band should complete Initial Entry Training (IET) within 18 months to to become eligible for promotion. This course covers basic military drill and ceremonies and history of the MDDF.

What rank do I hold?

Prior enlisted service members will retain the rank they held while on active. Civilian enlistees will start at enlisted ranks determined by their skill level, experience and education. All members of the band are eligible for promotion and for state decorations and awards.

Is my participation in drills, rehearsals or other operations mandatory?

We strongly encourage you to attend the bi-monthly rehearsals/drills, and to volunteer for whatever operations (i.e., concerts, ceremonies, parades) your calendar allows. In sum, in either the active or inactive status, it takes a pattern of deliberate non-participation for there to be any consequences. It is really a question of professionalism, both as a musician and a Soldier. In any event, the only penalty for non-participation is being dropped from the rolls of the unit and being involuntary discharged, although that is extremely rare. Call up for state emergencies is made by the Governor, and although not strictly covered under the Maryland Military Law, members are expected to make their best effort to assist the stricken community or serve in the called event.

Is prior military experience required?

It is preferred, but not required.

Do I need to be a resident of Maryland?

No. Any U.S. citizen is eligible to join, regardless of their legal state of residence.

Where does the Maryland Defense Force Band rehearse?

The band meets at the Pikesville Armory in Pikesville, Maryland. The Armory is located at 610 Reisterstown Rd Baltimore, MD 21208 and has gated parking.

When & how often does the band meet?

Rehearsals take place twice a month-On the first Sunday (1500-1730) and third Tuesday (1900-2130) of each month. We will plan longer drills on certain Saturdays. Members of the band are expected to make their best effort to attend as many of these events as possible. Annual schedules are published and distributed each September for the following year, allowing members to make their plans accordingly. Generally, 30 days notice is given prior to any events added to the schedule after the distribution of the annual schedule.

Can I be sent overseas?

Absolutely not. The MDDF cannot be federalized and cannot be deployed outside Maryland.

Are uniforms and military insignia provided?

MDDF Band members buy their own basic field uniform (ACUs). Because the MDDF is a voluntary organization, members are expected to purchase their own berets, boots, and basic insignia (patches and pins), though many of these items may be purchased used, for very nominal cost. The band provides the ceremonial tunic, cap and insignia. Members are asked to purchase the blue trousers and black patent leather shoes. (Corfams).

What benefits can I receive by joining the MDDF Band?

First is the sense of community service to the state and your community. There will be opportunities to perform before appreciative audiences and play good band music. You will also have access to training through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Maryland Defense Force. Members are eligible for a Maryland State Tax credit of $3500 after 36 months of service.

If I have more questions?

Please contact Lieutenant Colonel (MDDF) Jari Villanueva, Maryland Defense Force for more information and assistance.