Sergeant Major Christopher D. Jones from Fairhope, Alabama, joined the West Point Band in September of 1992. He is currently the Element Leader of the Concert and Marching Bands and serves as Drum Major Emeritus. In this position, Sgt. Major Jones oversees all of the Concert and Marching Band and chamber group concerts, ceremonies, and athletic event performances. Sgt. Major Jones was the Drum Major of the Marching Band from December of 2008 to February of 2015. During his tenure, the Marching Band performed numerous times for NFL Football, Major League Baseball (including the opening of the new Yankee Stadium), Hiring Our Heroes by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NASCAR at the Pocono Raceway, the Belmont Stakes, and Army Football. On 14 September 2014, the 200th Anniversary of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” the West Point Band performed two full live TV broadcasts on Fox and Friends in Manhattan and at the MetLife Stadium for a Jets vs. Cardinals game. Sgt. Major Jones has led the band for the New York City Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Veterans Day Parade, and the Columbus Day Parade. “Leading the Corps of Cadets on graduation parades, football reviews, march-on for the Army/Navy Game, and the Alumni Old Grads March during Homecoming and Graduation week are among some of my favorite memories serving at West Point,” says Sgt. Major Jones. He also led the processions of the full military funerals of Generals William Westmoreland, Wayne Downing, and Norman Schwarzkopf.
From the earliest part of Sgt. Major Jones’s career, he served as a publicist for the unit. From 2008 to 2011, Sgt. Major Jones served as the Publicity Division Chief, overseeing all band-related print, press, radio, website, and social media promotional materials.
As a member of the Concert Band clarinet section, Sgt. Major Jones plays section, alto, and bass clarinets. He has given clarinet clinics at the New York State Band Directors Association Summer Conference and performed as a soloist with the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra. Sgt. Major Jones studied clarinet privately with Kalman Opperman in New York City for more than ten years. He holds a Bachelor of Music in music education from the University of North Alabama, Florence, and a Master of Music in clarinet performance and conducting from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. Sgt. Major Jones also performs dinners and ceremonies as a founding member of the West Point Clarinet Trio.
Master Sergeant Shawn Herndon is a clarinetist with the Concert Band and serves as the Concert Band Woodwind Group Leader. He has appeared as a soloist with the West Point Concert Band and has given recitals and master classes in the United States and Japan. He has premiered works by Paul Harvey and “Collage” for clarinet quartet and band by Hudson Valley composer Robert Baksa. Master Sgt. Herndon’s first assignment was with the U.S. Army Japan Band at Camp Zama, outside of Tokyo. There he was able to perform with the members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Central Band, which ultimately lead to collaborations between the West Point Band and the Central Band members both in New York and in Tokyo. A native of Dallas, Texas, he earned a bachelor's degree in clarinet performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and a master's degree in performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His teachers have included Stephen Girko, former principal clarinetist of the Dallas Symphony, and Ron deKant at the University of Cincinnati. Master Sgt. Herndon has also performed with Albany Pro Musica and the Albany Symphony.
Master Sergeant Sam Kaestner has been a member of the West Point Band since 2002. Since joining the band, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, at the Dallas Symphony’s Meyerson Symphony Hall, and at other venues throughout the country. He has participated in recitals at the Juilliard School, the Rockport Music Festival, the University of Southern California, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Potsdam Clarinet Summit, and at West Point. In 2009, he performed a recital with Toronto Symphony bassoonist Sam Banks at Butler University that commemorated the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn’s birth. Within the band, he is a member of the West Point Woodwind Quintet. Prior to joining the band, he attended the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he was a student of Edward Palanker and Anthony Gigliotti, and Northwestern University where he was a student of J. Lawrie Bloom.
Sergeant First Class Kristen Mather de Andrade is principal clarinet of the West Point Band and clarinetist with Quintette 7. She frequently performs with the West Point Band and other bands as a soloist. In 2010, she recorded a CD of the music of Raymond Scott with Quintette 7. Sgt. 1st Class Mather de Andrade frequently tours with chamber ensembles from the West Point Band and as a soloist to perform and give master classes in colleges across the country. After forming a partnership between the West Point Band and the El Sistema-inspired Harmony Program in New York City, Sgt. 1st Class Mather de Andrade returned to studying and was recently granted a master’s degree from Columbia University’s graduate school of education, Teachers College.
In 2005, Sgt. 1st Class Mather de Andrade earned a Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance from The Dana School of Music, where she studied with Robert Fitzer. In 2006, she attended DePaul University in Chicago and studied with Chicago Symphony Orchestra principal clarinet Larry Combs. As a student, she was selected to perform in master classes by many musicians, including Grammy award-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and Cleveland Orchestra clarinetists Daniel Gilbert and Daniel McKelway.
Sgt. 1st Class Mather de Andrade has a varied musical background. Prior to obtaining her position in the West Point Band, she performed with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (with which she was soloist), the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra, renowned jazz quintet The Dave Holland Quintet, singer Maureen McGovern, and theater star Tommy Tune, among others. An advocate for new music and the music and culture of Brazil, she has worked with the New York City-based composer collective Vox Novus to collect a new repertoire of music inspired by Brazilian themes.
Staff Sergeant Erin Beaver joined the West Point Band in October 2004. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with professor Ron de Kant. In addition to her performing duties, Staff Sgt. Beaver serves as the managing editor for the band’s publicity department.
Staff Sergeant Sam Ross joined the West Point Band in September of 2012. Originally from Russellville, Arkansas, Staff Sgt. Ross earned his Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance from the University of Arkansas, where he studied with Nophachai Cholthitchanta, and his Master of Music from the University of North Texas, where he studied with John Scott and Daryl Coad. While at North Texas, Staff Sgt. Ross performed with and recorded multiple CDs with the North Texas Wind Symphony. Following his master’s program, he began studies with Greg Raden, principal clarinetist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
In 2011, Staff Sgt. Ross won third prize in the International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition in Northridge, California. He attended the Hot Springs Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Round Top Festival Institute, and has performed with the Arkansas Symphony, Victoria (Texas) Symphony, Texarkana Symphony, Fort Smith Symphony, and Lone Star Wind Orchestra. He has also studied with Yehuda Gilad, Steve Cohen, and Anthony Taylor, and has performed in master classes for Jon Manasse, Daniel Gilbert, Fred Ormand, and Frank Kowalsky. Staff Sgt. Ross is the E-flat clarinetist in the Concert Band and performs with the Academy Wind Quintet.
Staff Sergeant Julian Jenkins joined the West Point Band in September 2016. He previously served as clarinetist with the Eighth Army Band in Yongsan, South Korea, and the Army Ground Forces Band at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Staff Sgt. Jenkins is originally from Lancaster, California, where he studied music privately for ten years with Lee Matalon—saxophonist, clarinetist, flutist, and student of Phil Sobel. In 2011, he received a Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, where he studied with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and Los Angeles Opera clarinetist, Dr. Michael Grego. In 2013, he received a Master of Music in clarinet performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Jonathan Gunn, acting principal of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Staff Sgt. Jenkins joined the Army Band Program in September of 2013. During his time in the Army Bands, he has performed with The Army Field Band for their 2015 Fall tour and at the 2015 Midwest Clinic in Chicago. He has also performed and taught in master classes with the FORSCOM Four Clarinet Quartet at universities in the Midwest and Eastern United States.
Staff Sgt. Jenkins has performed with artists like Igudesman & Joo while second clarinet for the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra from 2012-2013, and Ben Folds while substituting as second clarinet for the Augusta Symphony Orchestra in 2015. He has participated in master classes by former principal clarinet of New York Philharmonic, Stanley Drucker; Cleveland Orchestra clarinetist Daniel Gilbert; and professor of clarinet at Université de Montréal, André Moisan.