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"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director

Colonel Jason K. Fettig

Colonel Jason K. Fettig is the 28th Director of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He joined 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 lieutenant colonel in July 2014, one week before assuming leadership of “The President’s Own.” He was promoted to his present rank in August 2017 in the Roosevelt Room by President Donald J. Trump. He is the third Director of “The President’s Own” to be promoted to colonel in a White House ceremony.


As Director, Col. Fettig is the music adviser to the White House and regularly conducts the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra 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. In his first years as Director, Col. Fettig has led the band for numerous major national events both at the White House and throughout the country. He conducted national broadcast performances for the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore, a special Veterans Day performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, and an appearance on the David Letterman Show at the invitation of Michelle Obama in New York. He leads frequent concerts throughout the Washington, D.C., area and across the country during the band’s annual national tour. Live performances by the Marine Band under his direction are often heard on National Public Radio. Col. Fettig is a fervent advocate for both traditional and contemporary American music and remains dedicated to the ongoing development of music for wind band. In recent years, he has conducted world premières of substantial new works by James Stephenson, Jacob Bancks, David Rakowski, Adam Schoenberg, David Conte, and Narong Prangcharoen.


Throughout his career with the Marine Band, 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 made it a priority to maintain a significant presence in schools throughout the nation during the band’s national concert tours. He also began an interactive and theatrical Young People’s Concert series in 2006 and authored, hosted, and conducted this popular annual event until 2015. In 2014, shortly after assuming com­mand of the Marine Band, Col. Fettig launched an ambitious project to re-record all of the marches of John Philip Sousa and provide free performance and educational materials online to schools throughout the world.


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, 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, 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, Col. Fettig has par­ticipated in workshops with several renowned conductors including Osmo Vänskä and Otto Werner Mueller.


Col. Fettig has represented the Marine Band on numerous occasions as a soloist, adjudicator, and clini­cian, and regularly conducts both concert bands and orchestras for all-state and honor festivals. In 2014, he was elected as a member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.

Watch 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 received her doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., in 2015 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 universities throughout the United States. 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, the Helsinki Guards Band, Finland, 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."

Captain Ryan J. Nowlin

Assistant Director Captain Ryan J. Nowlin joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in August 2010 as staff arranger. He was appointed Assistant Director and commissioned a first lieutenant in July 2014 and was promoted to his current rank in July 2016.

With “The President’s Own,” Capt. Nowlin has arranged and composed a variety of music for the Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, brass ensemble, and various small ensembles. In 2013, Nowlin collaborated with Kelly Clarkson (“America”) and arranged a setting of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. He also arranged “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Jordin Sparks, which was performed for the nationwide broadcast of the national anthem’s 200th anniversary celebration in 2014. Capt. Nowlin’s music has been heard in performance at many White House events, including state dinners and the Kennedy Center Honors and Medal of Freedom receptions. His transcription of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor was featured on the 2013 Marine Band recording “From the Keyboard,” and most recently his setting of David Conte’s A Copland Portrait was included in the band’s 2016 release, “Picture Studies.” Additionally, his Let Freedom Ring was performed at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and his arrangement of Amazing Grace is regularly included as part of the annual United States Marine Corps Worship Service held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

As Assistant Director, Capt. Nowlin’s responsibilities include conducting the Marine Band and Chamber Orchestra in their winter/spring concert series and summer concerts on the National Mall as well as at ceremonies in the national capital region and at the White House. Additionally, he conducted the band at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Va.; at The Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago; and on the Marine Band’s national concert tour. He has served as a producer for Marine Band recordings since 2014 as well as for The Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa recording project since its inception.

Throughout his career Capt. Nowlin has been a dedicated advocate for music education. He currently manages Marine Band educational outreach initiatives such as Music in the Schools, Music in the High Schools, and the Concerto Competition for High School Musicians, and he has assisted in the production of the Marine Band’s Young People’s Concerts since 2011. Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Capt. Nowlin was a music teacher in the state of Ohio for ten years, most recently as the director of bands at Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District in Ohio.

Capt. Nowlin is a 1996 graduate of North Royalton High School in Ohio. He earned both a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2000 and a master’s degree in music education and conducting in 2004 from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where he studied horn with Herbert Spencer, Jr. and conducting with Bruce Moss and Emily Freeman Brown. He has also studied composition with prolific composer Anne McGinty and has participated in workshops and master classes with several renowned conductors and educators including H. Robert Reynolds, Mallory Thompson, Col. Arnald Gabriel, Harry Begian, and Frederick Fennell.

In addition to his duties with the United States Marine Band, Capt. Nowlin frequently appears as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator with high school honor bands and music festivals, with community and municipal bands, and with university ensembles across the country. He can frequently be found providing clinics and master classes to student musicians in classrooms around the country either in person or via satellite.

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, 2012, and 2016 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 he studied clarinet with Yehuda Gilad and Mitchell Lurie, both of Los Angeles.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Douglas R. Burian

Chief Warrant Officer 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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. Chief Warrant Officer 4 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.