The Recording Lab records various Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra concerts and sessions and provides sound reinforcement for performances. In addition, they are responsible for the recording studio and the preservation of the band’s recorded archive collections.
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.
Staff Sergeant Michael Ducassoux
Assistant Chief 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.
Staff Sergeant Daniel Fookson
Video Recording Engineer Staff Sgt. Daniel Fookson joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in March 2021. Staff Sgt. Fookson began playing piano at age 6. After graduating in 2015 from Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, Ill., he attended DePaul University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in film and television production in 2019.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Staff Sgt. Fookson shot and edited short films, music videos, and commercial work for private clients, and freelanced for Whitehouse Post in Chicago. In 2019, he served as the lead videographer for Festival Mosaic under the direction of conductor and violinist Scott Yoo. In 2018, he interned at Jem Henson Music – Cutting Edge Group in Los Angeles, where he assisted in content publishing and Muppets internal media.
Staff Sergeant Ophir Paz
Recording Engineer Staff Sgt. Ophir Paz joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in November 2018. Staff Sgt. Paz began his musical training on saxophone at age six. After graduating in 2014 from Orange High School in Pepper Pike, Ohio, he attended the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), from which he earned a bachelor’s degree in audio recording, with a minor in saxophone performance, in 2018. He studied audio at CIM with Bruce Egre, Alan Bise, and Jack Renner, and saxophone with Greg Banaszak of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Staff Sgt. Paz started a production company in 2014 where he provided audio and video services for students and artists including the Callisto Quartet. From 2014-18 he was an audio engineer for the CIM Recording Arts & Services, where he recorded the CIM Orchestra, operas, and student recitals. In 2016 he recorded the Juilliard Quartet, renowned young musicians, and the summer concert series for the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival in Blue Hill, Maine. Most recently, in 2017, he interned at WNYC/WQXR radio station in New York, where he assisted in productions such as the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America at Carnegie Hall, the Knights at Central Park, 2 Dope Queens podcast, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark on Soundcheck podcast.