“The President’s Own”


“The President’s Own”

United States Marine Band

Lieutenant Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director

Lieutenant Colonel Jason K. Fettig

Lieutenant Colonel Jason K. Fettig is the 28th Director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He joined the Marine Band in 1997 as a clarinetist and soon became a frequently featured soloist with both the band and the Marine Chamber Orchestra. After serving four years in the organization, he was selected as an Assistant Director, and he conducted his first concert with the Marine Band Aug. 1, 2001. He was commissioned a first lieutenant in July 2002, promoted to captain in August 2003, and became the band’s Executive Officer the following year. He was promoted to major in August 2007 and to his present rank in July 2014 one week before assuming leadership of “The President’s Own.”

As Director, Lt. Col. Fettig is the music adviser to the White House and regularly conducts the Marine Band at the Executive Mansion and at all Presidential Inaugurations. He also serves as music director of Washington, D.C.’s historic Gridiron Club, a position held by every Marine Band Director since John Philip Sousa. He leads frequent concerts throughout the Washington, D.C., area and across the country during the band’s annual national tour and live performances by the Marine Band under his direction are often heard on National Public Radio. Lt. Col. Fettig is a fervent advocate for both traditional and contemporary American music and remains dedicated to the ongoing development of the wind band repertoire. In recent years, he has conducted the world premières of substantial new works by James Stephenson, Jacob Bancks, and David Rakowski.    

Throughout his career with the Marine Band, Lt. Col. Fettig has been deeply committed to music education and has taken an active role in the evolution and expansion of the many educational initiatives of “The President’s Own.” In addition to helping refine the Music in the Schools and Music in the High Schools programs, he has spearheaded efforts to maintain a significant presence in the Washington, D.C., public schools through a series of clinics that bring Marine Band musicians side-by-side with middle and high school music students. He also began an interactive and theatrical Young People’s Concert series in 2006 and has authored, hosted, and conducted this popular annual event since its inception.

Lt. Col. Fettig is a 1993 graduate of Manchester Central High School in New Hampshire and holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (UMASS)  in both clarinet performance (1997) and music education with an emphasis in conducting (1998). In 2005, he earned a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Maryland in College Park (UMD) where he served as assistant conductor for two productions of the Maryland Opera Studio. He studied clarinet with Michael Sussman and David Martins, and his principal conducting teachers were Malcolm W. Rowell and James Ross. Additionally, LtCol Fettig has participated in workshops with several renowned conductors including Osmo Vänskä and Otto Werner Mueller. 

Representing the Marine Band on numerous occasions as a soloist, adjudicator, conductor, and clinician, Lt. Col. Fettig has conducted concert bands and orchestras for all-state and honor festivals and has returned to both of his college alma maters as a guest conductor, leading the top wind ensembles in concert at UMASS in 2003 and at UMD in 2007. In 2014, he was elected as a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.  

Watch Lt. Col. Fettig's interview about his 2013 Young People's Concert: "Sound Off!"

Major Michelle A. Rakers

Assistant Director Major Michelle A. Rakers joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in May 1998 as a trumpeter/cornetist. She was appointed Assistant Director and commissioned a first lieutenant in July 2004 and promoted to captain by Commandant of the Marine Corps General Michael W. Hagee on Jan. 1, 2006. She was promoted to major and appointed Executive Officer and Senior Assistant Director in July 2014. She is both the first female Assistant Director and first female commissioned officer in the history of “The President’s Own.”

With the Marine Band, Maj. Rakers has performed at the White House, in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and across the country during the band’s annual concert tour. As an advocate for education outreach, she led the band’s Music in the Schools, Music in the High Schools, and Concerto Competition programs from 2007-14. Additionally, she served as a conductor and supervisor for the acclaimed fall and winter Chamber Music Series, which feature the virtuoso musicians of “The President’s Own.”

Maj. Rakers, a 1986 graduate of the Marian Heights Academy in Ferdinand, Ind., received a bachelor’s degree in music management from the University of Evansville in Indiana in 1990. She continued her studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she earned a master’s degree in trumpet performance in 1991. She is currently finishing her doctorate at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where she studied with Harlan Parker. She also studied conducting with Mallory Thompson of Northwestern University and Kate Tamarkin of The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Her trumpet instructors included James Bursen of the University of Evansville, Vincent Cichowicz of Northwestern University, and Chris Gekker of the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Maj. Rakers enjoyed an active career as an orchestral trumpeter, having performed with many orchestras nationally to include the Evansville Philharmonic in Indiana, the Owensboro Symphony in Kentucky, and the Kalamazoo Symphony in Michigan.

She was nominated as an Assistant Director in 2003, and on June 13, 2004, she conducted her first band concert at the U.S. Capitol. During her tenure as an Assistant Director with “The President’s Own,” Maj. Rakers has been very active as a guest conductor, clinician, and public speaker, having worked with all-state and honor festivals and offered workshops at the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki, Finland and the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Maj. Rakers has also appeared as a guest conductor with bands and orchestras throughout the nation, and internationally with the Slesvigske Musikkorps of Haderslev, Denmark, and the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. In 2009 she received the University of Evansville’s Distinguished Alumni Award and was granted an honorary induction into Tau Beta Sigma, a national music sorority.   

Watch Major Rakers' interview about concert programming and the history of the Marine Chamber Orchestra.

Watch her interview about the 40th anniversary of women joining "The President's Own."

FIrst Lieutenant Ryan J. Nowlin

Assistant Director First Lieutenant Ryan J. Nowlin joined "The President's Own" United States Marine Band in August 2010 as a staff arranger. He was appointed Assistant Director and commissioned a first lieutenant in July 2014. 

With "The President's Own," 1st Lt. Nowlin has arranged and composed a variety of selections for the Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, brass quintet, and various other small ensembles. His music has been performed at the White House, in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, across the country during the band's annual concert tour, at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, and at the National Association for Music Education's Music Education Week in Baltimore. As an arranger for the Marine Band, 1st Lt. Nowlin has created original arrangements of "America" and the National Anthem for performance at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which was featured on the 2013 Marine Band recording, "From the Keyboard."

He has served as a conductor for the fall and winter Chamber Music Series and the band's Conductor Training Program in 2013. He was nominated for his current position in 2014.

1st Lt. Nowlin's early music instruction was on the piano and French horn. Upon graduating in 1996 from North Royalton High School in Ohio, he attended Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio, where he earned a bachelor's degree in music education in 2000 and a master's degree in music education and conducting in 2004. He studied with Herbert Spencer and Bruce Moss at BGSU, as well as prolific composer Anne McGinty.

Prior to joining "The President's Own," 1st Lt. Nowlin was an instructor at BGSU and served as a staff arranger for the BGSU Falcon Marching Band. Additionally, he was an instructor at BGSU where he taught band arranging, conducting, and was the assistant director of athletic bands. He was an instrumental music teacher for 10 years serving as an assistant band director at Jackson City Schools in Ohio and most recently was the director of bands at Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District in Ohio.

In addition to his duties with "The President's Own," 1st Lt. Nowlin has appeared as a conductor and clinician with several ensembles to include the Kansas State University Wind Ensemble and Chorus; the Capital University Honors Wind Ensemble in Bexley, Ohio; the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Wind Ensemble; and the Defiance College Community Band, also in Ohio.

Lieutenant Colonel John R. Barclay

Executive Assistant to the Director Lieutenant Colonel John R. Barclay is the chief advisor to the Director for non-musical matters and serves as the officer-in-charge of the United States Marine Band’s Support Staff, which consists of the following sections: administration, information systems, music library, music production, public affairs, recording lab, and supply.

Lt. Col. Barclay joined “The President’s Own” in January 1988 as a clarinetist and was appointed E-flat clarinetist in 1990. In January 1996, he was named Operations Assistant and Assistant Drum Major, and in 1999 he became the Administrative Assistant to the Director, while retaining his Assistant Drum Major duties. Later that year, Lt. Col. Barclay was named the band’s 37th Drum Major. As Drum Major of “The President’s Own,” he served as the senior enlisted member of the unit and was responsible for the band’s appearance, ceremonial drill, and military decorum. Lt. Col. Barclay served in this capacity until February 2001, when he was appointed to his current position. He was commissioned a captain in August 2001, promoted to major in March 2005, and to lieutenant colonel in September 2015.

In addition to his regular duties, Lt. Col. Barclay also serves as a Ceremonial Marcher at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., and has marched as Parade Commander for the 2008-10, and 2012 Parade Seasons. Since 2008, he has also served as an Escort Commander for Full Honors Funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and as Chief Instructor of Ceremonial Drill for all Marine Barracks officers and staff non-commissioned officers.

Lt. Col. Barclay began his musical instruction at age 5 with his father, Robert, who was a Marine Band clarinetist from 1950-57. After graduating from Bonanza High School in Las Vegas in 1986, he attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles , where studied clarinet with Yehuda Gilad and Mitchell Lurie, both of Los Angeles.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Douglas R. Burian

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Douglas R. Burian has served with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band since 1997 as a trumpeter/cornetist, Operations Assistant, and Operations Chief. He was appointed Operations Officer and promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 3 in February 2013.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Burian graduated in 1991 from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., and received a bachelor’s degree in music from Centre College in Danville, Ky., in 1995. In 1997 he earned a master’s degree in music from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque and received his doctoral degree in trumpet performance at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park in 2008.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Chief Warrant Officer 3 Burian toured China with the New Mexico Brass Quintet and was the 1994 National Brass Winner for the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Artist Competition. As a member of “The President’s Own” trumpet section, he performed with the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra at the White House, in the Washington, D.C., area and across the country during the band’s annual concert tour. He was also active as a performer and conductor for the Marine Chamber Ensembles recital series.

As Operations Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Burian serves as liaison to the White House Military Office for Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra White House commitments and to Headquarters Marine Corps Public Affairs for commitments assigned by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. CWO3 Burian is responsible for proposing and implementing the band’s daily work schedule, coordinating ceremonial events with the Military District of Washington, and overseeing audition procedures.