Master Sergeant Elisabeth Plunk
Flutist Master Sergeant Elisabeth Plunk joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in June 2004, was named assistant principal in 2009, co-principal in 2015 and principal in 2020. Master Sgt. Plunk began her musical instruction at age 6. Upon graduating in 1997 from Moline High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory in 2001, and in 2003 received a master’s degree in music from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Her flute instructors included Randolph Bowman of Cincinnati College-Conservatory, and Jeanne Baxtresser and Alberto Almarza of Carnegie Mellon.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Master Sgt. Plunk performed with the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh and as guest principal flute with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Betsy Hill
Flutist Master Gunnery Sergeant Betsy Hill joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in August 1992. She was named section leader and section commander in 2009, co-principal flute in 2001, and served as principal flute from 2009 to 2020. Master Gunnery Sgt. Hill began her musical instruction at age 11. After graduating from Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, W.V., in 1983, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County where she studied with Gail Cameron Schuring. She earned a master’s degree in music at Florida State University in Tallahassee where she studied with Charles Delaney.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Master Gunnery Sgt. Hill was a member of the Mexico City Philharmonic. She was also an instructor at Frederick Community College in Maryland.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Hill has been featured as a tour soloist in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2012.
Watch Master Gunnery Sgt. Hill's interview about the 2013 Inauguration.
Gunnery Sergeant Ellen Dooley
Flutist Gunnery Sergeant Ellen Dooley joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in May 2005. Gunnery Sgt. Dooley began her musical training at age 10. After graduating in 1992 from the New World School of the Arts in Miami, she attended the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, earning a bachelor’s in music performance in 1996. She earned a master’s in music performance from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 2002. Her teachers include Jeanne Baxtresser, former New York Philharmonic principal flute; and Mark Sparks, St. Louis Symphony principal flute.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Gunnery Sgt. Dooley was professor of flute at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa., flute instructor at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., and performed in educational outreach programs for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in Washington, D.C.
In addition to her musical responsibilities, Gunnery Sgt. Dooley also serves as a coordinator for educational outreach, as well as for auditions in the Marine Band.
She performed James Kazik’s orchestration of Michael Mower’s “Bossa merengova” from Sonata Latino as a soloist on the 2010 national concert tour.
Gunnery Sergeant Kara Santos
Flutist Gunnery Sergeant Kara Santos joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in June 2009. Gunnery Sgt. Santos began her musical instruction on piano at age 5 and flute at age 7. After graduating in 1994 from Iowa City West High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree in music in flute performance from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1998. She earned her master’s degree (2001) and doctorate (2005) in flute performance from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Her notable instructors included Leone Buyse and Jeffrey Zook at the University of Michigan and Tadeu Coelho and Robert Dick at the University of Iowa.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Gunnery Sgt. Santos was principal flute of the Quad City Symphony in Davenport, Iowa, and flute instructor at the University of Evansville in Indiana. She was also principal flute of the Evansville Philharmonic and a member of the Owensboro Symphony in Owensboro, Ky.
She performed Master Sgt. Stephen Bulla's transcription of Camille Saint-Saens' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso as a soloist on the 2015 national concert tour.
Gunnery Sergeant Heather Zenobia
Flutist Gunnery Sergeant Heather Zenobia joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 2006. Gunnery Sgt. Zenobia began her musical instruction on piano at age 6 and flute at age 9. After graduating in 1997 from Youth Performing Arts School, she earned her bachelor’s degree in music from Cleveland Institute of Music in 2001. She earned her master’s degree in flute performance in 2006 from New England Conservatory in Boston, Mass. Her notable instructors included Elizabeth Rowe, principal flute of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jeanne Baxtresser, former principal flute of the New York Philharmonic, and Joshua Smith, principal flute of the Cleveland Orchestra.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Gunnery Sgt. Zenobia was co-principal flute with the Hingham Symphony in Hingham, Mass., and was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckinridge, Colo. She also was a fellow at Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Mass., and a member of the National Orchestral Institute in College Park, Md.