Baritone Vocalist and Concert Moderator Master Gunnery Sergeant Kevin Bennear of Keyser, W.Va., joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in January 2000, becoming the third featured vocal soloist since the position was established in 1955.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Bennear began his musical instruction at age 9. After graduating in 1990 from Elk Garden High School in West Virginia, he attended Potomac State College in Keyser and earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1996 from West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown, where he studied with Peter Lightfoot. In 1999, he earned a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Tennessee (UT), in Knoxville, where he studied with George Bitzas.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” he performed with the UT Opera Theater, WVU Opera Theater, Theatre West Virginia, and the Knoxville Opera Company, where he played the role of Sharpless in Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with noted soprano Stella Zimbalis of the Metropolitan Opera. He also taught voice as a graduate teaching assistant at UT.
As Marine Band vocalist and concert moderator, Master Gunnery Sgt. Bennear is a soloist at White House State Dinners and the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ residence, and a featured performer in the annual musical productions of Washington’s Gridiron Club and Military Order of the Carabao. He performs regularly in the Washington, D.C., area and across the country during the band’s annual concert tour.