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“The President’s Own”

United States Marine Band

Lieutenant Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
B-flat Clarinet

Watch the clarinet section perform Niccolò Paganini's "Perpetual Motion," Opus 11.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Strouf


Clarinetist Master Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Strouf joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in July 1988. He became assistant principal clarinetist in 1997 and in 2005, was appointed clarinet section commander. In 2012, he was appointed principal clarinet. MGySgt Strouf began his musical instruction at age 14. After graduating from Laramie High School in 1980, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1986 where he studied with Anthony Gigliotti of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also pursued graduate studies at Michigan State University in East Lansing, and as a member of the Halyburton Quintet, where he studied with Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr.

He was a tour soloist in 2012, when he performed Felix Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece No. 2 in D minor, Opus 114.


Staff Sergeant Patrick Morgan Jr.

Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Patrick Morgan Jr. joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in January 2008. He was appointed assistant principal in December 2012. SSgt Morgan began his musical training on piano at age 8 and clarinet at age 10. After graduating from Maryville High School in 2003, he attended Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 2007. His instructors include Roann Romines of Maryville and Howard Klug of the Jacobs School of Music.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” SSgt Morgan was a graduate assistant at the Jacobs School of Music and performed with the school’s orchestra and wind ensemble.


 Gunnery Sergeant William Bernier

Clarinetist Gunnery Sergeant William Bernier joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in July 2002. GySgt Bernier began his musical training at age 9. After graduating in 1993 from Easthampton High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York in 1998. He continued his education at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, earning a master’s degree in music in 2000. He has studied under Kenneth Grant, Ronald DeKant, and Michael Sussman.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” he was a member of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra in Newport. GySgt Bernier also performed with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra in Ohio, and the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in Indiana.

In 2006 he performed Richard Strauss’ Duet Concertino for Clarinet and Bassoon with the Marine Chamber Orchestra and in 2007 performed Claude Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie with the Marine Band.

Watch Gunnery Sgt. Bernier's performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Trio in E-flat, Kegelstatt, K. 498.

Staff Sergeant Andrew Dees

Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Andrew Dees joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in October 2010. SSgt Dees began his musical training on clarinet at age 11. After graduating from Lloyd V. Berkner High School in Richardson in 2001, he attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 2005. In 2006, he earned a master’s degree in music performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. His instructors included Paul Garner of SMU and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Forest Aten of the Dallas Opera Orchestra, and Steve Cohen of Northwestern University.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” SSgt Dees was a freelance musician and taught privately in Richardson.

 
Staff Sergeant Lucia Disano

Clarinet player Staff Sergeant Lucia Disano joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in January 2014. SSgt Disano began her musical training on violin at age 4 and clarinet at age 11. After graduating in 2007 from Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Mo., she attended the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York where she earned a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance in 2011 and studied with Jon Manasse and Ken Grant. In 2013 she completed a master’s degree in clarinet performance from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley where she studied with former Marine Band clarinet player Lauren Jacobson. She also began a graduate diploma from the New England Conservatory Boston where she studied with Tom Martin of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

 

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” SSgt Disano performed with the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami Beach, Fla., the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra in Wyoming, and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra.

Staff Sergeant Parker Gaims

Clarinet player Staff Sergeant Parker Gaims of Los Angeles, Calif., joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 2013. Staff Sergeant Gaims began his musical training at age 9 and graduated from Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in Los Angeles in 2007. He attended DePaul University in Chicago where he earned a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance in 2011. In 2013, he earned a master’s degree in clarinet performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He studied with Julie DeRoche of DePaul, Larry Combs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Steven Cohen of Northwestern.

Prior to joining the band, SSgt Gaims was a graduate assistant at Northwestern, a bass clarinet teaching assistant at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, and performed with the Chicago Chamber Musicians.


Master Sergeant Vicki Gotcher

Clarinetist Master Sergeant Vicki Gotcher joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 1997. MSgt Gotcher began her musical instruction at age 10. Upon graduating Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, Texas, in 1989, she attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1993. She continued her education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she obtained a master’s degree in music performance in 1994 and a Performance Certificate in Clarinet in 1995. Her most notable teachers include Will Reavis of Tyler, Russell Dagon, former principal clarinet with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and J. Lawrie Bloom of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” MSgt Gotcher performed with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, and Kenosha Symphony both in Wisconsin; the Chicago Civic Orchestra, as well as participated in the Spoleto Music Festival in South Carolina, and  the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge and Aspen Music Festival both in Colorado.

In 2004, she performed a solo recital and conducted clinics at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Most recently, MSgt Gotcher performed Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the Marine Chamber Orchestra in 2005 and Carl Maria von Weber’s Concertino with the Marine Band in 2007. In addition to her musical duties, she is the audition coordinator for the Marine Band, managing check in, proctors, and the interview process.

Watch MSgt Gotcher perform  Robert Schumann's Fantasy-Pieces, Opus 73.

Staff Sergeant Christopher Grant

Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Christopher Grant joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in July 2006. SSgt Grant began his musical training on the clarinet at age 9. After graduating in 2002 from James Madison High School in Vienna, Va., he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor in 2006.  His instructors included Kenneth Lee of Vienna, and Fred Ormand and Deborah Chodacki of U-M.

In 2012, he performed Vincenzo Bellini’s Gran Duetto Concertato La Sonnambula for E-flat and B-flat clarinets with GySgt Michelle Urzynicok at the International ClarinetFest in Lincoln, Neb.



Master Gunnery Sergeant Deborah Hanson-Gerber

Clarinetist Master Gunnery Sergeant Deborah Hanson-Gerber joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 1991. MGySgt Hanson-Gerber began her musical training at age 10. After graduating in 1983 from Robbinsdale Armstrong High School in Plymouth, Minn., she earned a bachelor’s degree in music at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1987, where she studied with Gary Davis. She earned her master’s (1989) and doctoral (1999) degrees in music from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where she studied with Howard Klug and David Harris.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” MGySgt Hanson-Gerber performed with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony in Champaign, Ill., and taught at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

She has been featured as a soloist in several Marine Band performances, and has performed with a clarinet quartet for the University of Illinois Clarinet Choir Festival in 1993 and the University of Maryland at College Park in 1999-2000.

Staff Sergeant Meaghan Kawaller

Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Meaghan Kawaller joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in October 2012. SSgt Kawaller began her musical instruction at age 8. After graduating in 2002 from Centreville High School, she attended the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 2006. SSgt Kawaller received her master’s degree in music in 2008 and certificate in performance in 2010, both from DePaul University in Chicago. She studied with Dr. John Scott at UNT, Julie DeRoche at DePaul University, and Larry Combs, also of DePaul and former principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” SSgt Kawaller was a freelance musician in Chicago.



Staff Sergeant Shannon Kiewitt

Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Shannon Kiewitt joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in January 2011. SSgt Kiewitt began her musical training on clarinet at age 10. After graduating from Gatlinburg-Pittman High School in Gatlinburg, Tenn., in 1995, she attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 1999 and a master’s degree in music performance in 2001. Her instructors include Howard Klug and Alfred Prinz of Indiana University.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” SSgt Kiewitt was a member of the United States Army Field Band in Fort Meade, Md., and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band in Fort Monroe, Va. She also performed at the 1999 Belgian Clarinet Academy in Ostend, Belgium, attended the International Orchestra Institute Attergau in Upper Austria in 2000 and was a semi-finalist in the International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition in 2003.

Staff Sergeant Joseph LeBlanc

Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Joseph LeBlanc joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 2005. SSgt LeBlanc began his musical instruction at age 10 on saxophone and switching to clarinet at 19. After graduating in 1999 from Moanalua High School in Honolulu, he attended the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 2003. SSgt LeBlanc also pursued graduate studies at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He studied with Donald Sinta and Fred Ormand of U-M, Cincinnati Symphony principal clarinet Richard Hawley, and Allen Won of New York.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” SSgt LeBlanc performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio and the Honolulu and Detroit Symphony Orchestras.

In 2012, he performed Carlo della Giacoma’s Fantasy on Themes from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.

Master Gunnery Sergent Elizabeth Matera

Clarinetist Master Gunnery Sergeant Elizabeth Matera joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in October 1990. MGySgt Matera began her musical instruction at age 10. After graduating in 1984 from Bettendorf High School, she attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and studied with Maurita Murphy Mead. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in music performance from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., under the instruction of Sidney Forrest.

Prior to joining the band, MGySgt Matera performed in the Cedar Rapids Symphony in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the Quad City Symphony in Davenport, Iowa, and taught instrumental music.


Master Gunnery Sergeant Ruth McDonald

Clarinetist Master Gunnery Sergeant Ruth McDonald joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in October 1985. MGySgt McDonald began her musical instruction at age 8. After graduating from Brearley Regional High School in Kenilworth in 1978, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. in 1982. She continued her education at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she earned a master’s degree in music in 1985. In 1996, she earned a doctor of musical arts degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Her clarinet instructors included Leon Russianoff of New York, N.Y., Peter Hadcock of the Boston Symphony, Herbert Blayman of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and Anthony Gigliotti of the Philadelphia Orchestra.



Master Sergeant John Mula

Clarinetist Master Sergeant John Mula joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in June 1996.

MSgt Mula began his musical training on the clarinet and piano at age 9. After graduating in 1981 from Monticello High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 1986. He continued his education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and earned a master’s degree in music from San Diego State University in 1987. In 2001, he earned a doctorate in music from Florida State University in Tallahassee. He has studied under Howard Klug, Mitchell Lurie, Marion Liebowitz, David Peck, Harvey Hermann, and Frank Kowalsky.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” MSgt Mula taught general music and band in the Santee School District in California and was voted “Teacher of the Year” at two of his five schools. He freelanced with the San Diego Symphony, Opera and Chamber Orchestra, the Sonor Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and was clarinetist for the 1987 world première of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods.

With the Marine Band, MSgt Mula has performed numerous solos including Donato Lovreglio’s La Traviata Fantasia, Luigi Bassi’s Rigoletto Variations, and Eric Richard’s Klezmer Tribute, and with the Marine Chamber Orchestra he played Henri Tomasi’s Clarinet Concerto. He has also performed as a substitute keyboard player with the chamber orchestra and the band, and most notably, he performed celeste on Percy Grainger’s “In a Nutshell” for the band’s educational recording, “The Music Lover’s Grainger.”  In addition to his musical duties, MSgt Mula has served as a Tour Coordinator since 2001, advancing and serving as on-site manager during the band’s annual concert tour. He received the Navy Achievement Medal for his work on the band’s 2002 concert tour.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Janice Murphy

Clarinetist Master Gunnery Sergeant Janice Murphy joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 1989. MGySgt Murphy began her musical instruction at age nine. Upon graduating from Hampton High School in Allison Park, Pa., in 1979, she attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. She continued her education at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 1984. She also attended DePaul University in Chicago, where she earned a master’s degree in music in 1986. She studied clarinet with the late Mitchell Lurie of Los Angeles, and Larry Combs and the late Clark Brody of the Chicago Symphony.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” MGySgt Murphy was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the Elgin Symphony in Illinois. She also performed with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the South Bend Symphony in Indiana. In addition, she was the artist-in-residence at Regents Park in Chicago, where she gave lectures, performed recitals, and conducted community outreach programs.

She has served as a chamber series concert coordinator and a representative in the band’s Music in the Schools and Music in the High Schools education programs. MGySgt Murphy also has served as a Tour Coordinator since 2010, advancing and serving as on-site manager during the band’s annual concert tour.

Gunnery Sergeant Harry Ong

Clarinetist Gunnery Sergeant Harry Ong joined the “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 2003. GySgt Ong began his musical training at age 9. He attended Roosevelt High School in Seattle for three years and graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Mich., in 1999. He attended the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor, where he received a bachelor of music in 2003.  He has studied with Fred Ormand of U-M, and Richard Hawkins and Dan Silver at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” GySgt Ong performed with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, and Contemporary Directions Ensemble; the Seattle Youth Symphony, and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra in Los Angeles.

In 2004, GySgt Ong performed Luigi Bassi’s Clarinet Solo and Concert Fantasia on Motifs from Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. He premiered Michael Daugherty’s Brooklyn Bridge in 2006. He has conducted clinics nationwide and has participated in the Marine Band’s Music in the High Schools educational program. GySgt Ong performed Artie Shaw’s Clarinet Concerto as a 2009 tour soloist and again in 2010 at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts’ Summer Blast Off! at the Filene Center. 

Gunnery Sergeant Tracey Paddock

Clarinetist Gunnery Sergeant Tracey Paddock joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in November 1998. GySgt Paddock began her musical instruction at age eight. Upon graduating in 1989 from West Potomac High School in Alexandria, she attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1992. As a Fulbright Scholar, she earned her master’s in music from the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1994. She completed a doctorate in music performance from Florida State University in Tallahassee in 2011. GySgt Paddock has studied clarinet with Wayne Titerence, formerly with the Air Force Band; James Campbell of Indiana University; the Royal Academy’s Keith Puddy and Angela Malsbury; and Frank Kowalsky of Florida State.



Staff Sergeant Rachel Siegel

Clarinet player Staff Sergeant Rachel Siegel of Manchester, Mo., joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 2013. Staff Sergeant Siegel began her musical training on the clarinet at age 11. After graduating in 2007 from Nerinx Hall High School in Webster Groves, Mo., she attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she earned a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance in 2011. In 2013, she earned a master’s degree in clarinet performance from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. Her teachers included Yehuda Gilad of USC, Burt Hara of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Tina Ward of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to joining the band, SSgt Siegel taught privately.



Staff Sergeant Jonathon Troy

Clarinetist Staff Sergeant Jonathon Troy joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in May 2011. SSgt Troy began his musical training on clarinet at age 10. After graduating from Huron High School in Ann Arbor in 2001, he attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 2005. In 2008, he earned a master’s degree in music performance and an artist’s diploma from Yale University in New Haven, Conn. His instructors included Gabriela Cohen of Washington, D.C., David Shifrin of Yale University, and Fred Ormand of the University of Michigan.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” SSgt Troy attended the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif., performed with the Ann Arbor Symphony and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra in Wilmington, and was principal clarinet of the Las Vegas Philharmonic.

Master Sergeant Frederick Vare III

Clarinetist Master Sergeant Frederick Vare III joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in June 1993. MSgt Vare began his musical instruction at age 9 and in 1989 graduated from Liverpool High School in Liverpool, N.Y. In 1993 he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and clarinet performance from Ithaca College in N.Y., where he studied clarinet with Robert Schmidt. His instructors included James Spadafore and Ralph D’Mello of Liverpool, N.Y., John Flaver Jr. of Syracuse, Ronald Caravan of Syracuse University, Ray McClellan of University of Georgia in Athens, and the late David Weber, former professor of clarinet at The Juilliard School of Music in New York.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” MSgt Vare was principal clarinet with the Ithaca College orchestra and a freelance musician.

He also serves as a tour security coordinator for Marine Band concert tours.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Charles Willett

Clarinetist Master Gunnery Sergeant Charles Willett joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in May 1989. MGySgt Willett began his musical instruction at age 12. Upon graduating from Alton Senior High School in 1979, he attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill., where he earned bachelor’s (1983) and master’s (1984) degrees in music performance. While at Southern Illinois University, he studied clarinet with George Mellott. He earned a premier prix in clarinet from the Conservatoire d’Orléans in Orléans, France, where he studied with Michel Arrignon, and in 1996 he completed his doctorate degree in clarinet performance at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he studied with Frank Kowalsky.

He has performed numerous solos with “The President’s Own,” including Georges Meister’s Fantasia for Clarinet, “Erwinn,” in 1998 and 2002, and Amilcare Ponchielli’s Clarinet Duet, “Il Convegno,” also in 2002. In addition to his musical duties, MGySgt Willett has served as a Tour Coordinator since 2003, advancing and serving as on-site manager during the band’s annual concert tour.