Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Higgs
Chief Recording Engineer Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Higgs joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in July 2014. Gunnery Sgt. Higgs began his musical training on percussion and piano at age 7 and audio in middle school. After graduating in 2001 from Pueblo South High School he enlisted in the Marine Corps and attended recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Following Marine Combat Training in Camp Pendleton, Calif., he went to the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Va., for the Basic Music Course. He returned to the School of Music in 2008 for the Unit Leader and Senior Musician Courses, where he also served as the Marine Detachment Platoon Sergeant. In addition, he attended Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music business in 2014. He studied with Stanton Moore in New Orleans and volunteered at the House of Blues as an audio engineer.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Gunnery Sgt. Higgs served with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band in Okinawa, Japan from 2002-04 as a percussionist, audio engineer, and an instructor in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program; the Marine Forces Reserve Band in New Orleans from 2004-08 where he became the platoon sergeant, chief audio engineer, and small ensemble leader; the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Band at Twentynine Palms, Calif., from 2010-12 as the leader and coordinator of several ensembles, chief audio engineer, and music arranger; and the Parris Island Marine Band in South Carolina from 2012-14 where he served as the small ensemble leader and chief audio engineer, performed with the All-Star Marine Jazz Combo, and was the audio engineer for the All-Star Marine Big Band.
As Chief Recording Engineer, Gunnery Sgt. Higgs records various Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra concerts and sessions and provides sound reinforcement for performances. In addition, he is responsible for the recording studio and the preservation of the band’s recorded archive collections.
Staff Sergeant Christian Amonson
Recording engineer Staff Sergeant Christian Amonson joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in October 2014. Staff Sgt. Amonson began his musical training in theory, composition, and keyboard in high school. After graduating in 2005 from Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, Va., he cataloged recordings for the Classical Music Library Online and Jazz Music Library Online and performed on tour as a drummer with a rock trio. He has also studied organ and presented a recital of original chamber compositions.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Staff Sgt. Amonson started his own multimedia studio in 2008 which specializes in audio recording, high-definition videography, and photography. He has produced recordings for groups such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; NPR’s JazzSet; the Virginia Opera in Norfolk; Concordia Choir in Moorhead, Minn.; Washington Master Chorale in Washington, D.C.; Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in Virginia; Imani Winds in New York; the Brevard Music Center Festival in North Carolina; and the Credo Festival at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio.
Staff Sergeant Michael Ducassoux
Recording engineer Staff Sergeant Michael Ducassoux joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in February 2016. Staff Sergeant Ducassoux began his musical training on percussion at age eight. After graduating in 2001 from Interboro High School in Prospect Park, Pa., he attended Temple University in Philadelphia, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in music education and jazz studies in 2007. While at Temple he studied classical percussion with Glenn Steele, jazz percussion with Erik Johnson, and jazz studies with Terell Stafford. In 2014, he earned a master's degree in music technology-production track from the University of Valley Forge in Phoenixville, Pa.
Prior to joining "The President's Own," Staff Sgt. Ducassoux started a production company in 2011 where he recorded and composed for academic ensembles, composed music for film, and designed sound systems. He is also an active percussionist and has performed throughout the East coast in various styles and settings. Staff Sgt. Ducassoux has been a guest clinician and commissioned composer at the middle and high school level for jazz and percussion ensembles, music technology workshops, and recording/live sound workshops. Most recently, he taught band, orchestra, jazz, and general music for nine years at Tredyffrin/Easttown Middle School in Berwyn, Pa., in addition to teaching high school marching bands, indoor drum lines, and maintaining a private studio.