Staff Sergeant Kristin Bowers, a 2002 North High graduate, is a member of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and will perform at the Inaugural Ceremony tomorrow, Wednesday, January 20, in Washington, D.C. The Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. Founded in 1798, the band has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. The incoming president is expected to take the oath of office at 11 a.m. Central Time.
“We are incredibly proud of Kristin, and her service to our country. She was an exceptionally gifted musician as a student at North High and member of our District 99 Honors Band. It will be very exciting to tune-in on Wednesday and see her performing with the finest musicians in our nation,“ said DGN Fine Arts Department Chairperson Brayer Teague.
Click here to watch a video message from Staff Sgt. Bowers.
Staff Sgt. Bowers began her musical training on clarinet at age 10 and was a member of the Downers Grove North High School musical program. She has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in clarinet performance and served as principal clarinet in the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. before joining “The President’s Own.” In 2018 Bowers was honored with North High School’s “Alumni Award of Excellence.”
The following is a Q&A between Teague and Bowers about her performance tomorrow:
Teague: You auditioned into "The President's Own" United States Marine Band in 2017, so this is your first Inauguration as a member of the band. Previously, you were the Principal Clarinetist with the Air Force Band of Washington, D.C. Have you ever participated in official Inaugural events as a musician with the Air Force?
Bowers: I first participated in inaugural events in 2013 as a member of The United States Air Force Band. I was honored to march in the inaugural parade for the second inauguration of President Obama. I also had the privilege of performing at an inaugural ball that night, and vividly remember being just feet away from Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys! I did not participate in the 2017 Inauguration--I watched from home as I took care of my infant daughter!
Teague: The mission of "The President's Own" is to perform for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. I imagine that there is a great deal of professional pride that comes with each and every performance, but is the Inauguration a special or unique opportunity for the musicians of the United States Marine Band?
Bowers: There's nothing quite like performing for the Inauguration of a President. I am so greatly honored to be one of the few who will witness this historical event in person.
Teague: The Inaugural Ceremony is likely the most public and most watched of the band's performances. What are some other important performances that are a part of the band's mission, but maybe less-seen by the general public?
Bowers: Many of our most important performances happen inside the White House! Members of The President's Own are present for almost every historic event that occurs at the White House. Whether it is a State Dinner, bill signing, important speech or reception--the Marine Band is there! The Marine Band also performs Full Honors Funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring the deceased service men and women of the United States Marine Corps. The President's Own takes great pride in presenting free concerts to the public throughout the DC area and across the country. Some of our most rewarding work is participating in educational outreach programs which provide us the opportunity to connect with music students of all ages.
Teague: COVID-19 has significantly changed the traditional ways in which musicians are able to come together and rehearse. How has this impacted "The President's Own" protocols for rehearsing in preparation for the Inauguration this year?
Bowers: Honestly, it has been wonderful and somewhat surreal to be rehearsing as a large band for this event. All members of the band were tested for COVID-19 before rehearsals began. We have subsequently been tested twice for entrance into the Inauguration dress rehearsal and main event. Our chairs are placed in a socially distanced setup, and the most directional instruments have plexiglass between rows. We also rehearse for only 40 minutes before taking a break to allow aerosols to disperse.