CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Staff Sergeant Robert Bonner of Payne Springs performed as a trumpeter/cornetist of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in the Inauguration ceremony Jan. 20.
The Marine Band provided music for the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol while seated directly beneath the inaugural platform. The band performed “Hail to the Chief” to honor newly sworn-in President Joe Biden immediately after he took the oath of office.
Since joining the United States Marine Band in 2015, Bonner has participated in two presidential inaugurations. “The only differences were the ones caused by the COVID pandemic. Normally, after our participation in the swearing in ceremony, we march in the inaugural parade. This year however, I only performed in the band during the swearing in ceremony,” said Bonner.
Staff Sgt. Bonner began his musical instruction on trumpet at the age of 11 and is a 2006 Eustace High School graduate. Bonner says his mom and stepdad still live in the Cedar Creek Lake Area and are very proud of his service in “The President’s Own.” “They love seeing all the unique aspects of my service in the Washington, D.C. area and around the country,” he says.
He earned his Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Texas Tech University Lubbock in 2010 then proceeded to earn a master’s degree in music performance in 2014 from Colorado State University. Before Bonner joined the “The Presidents Own”, he performed with the Colorado and Fort Collins Symphony Orchestras, the Minnesota Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institute Orchestra in College Park, Md.
Bonner says his most notable teachers are Justin Bartels of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Ray Mase of the Aspen Music Festival, Jeffrey Meyer and Max Matzen. He says one of the most rewarding parts of his job as a trumpet player in the Marine Band is sounding “Taps” at Arlington National Cemetery but playing outside in the elements can be challenging, especially in the cold or rain. “I also really enjoy performing on our national concert tour. Performing a concert almost every day for a month requires endurance,” Bonner says.
Bonner performs with the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra at the White House, in the Washington, D.C., area and across the country during the band’s annual concert tour. In addition to musical duties, he also serves as the band’s Antiterrorism Officer.
The Marine Band which was founded in 1798, is America’s oldest, continuously active, professional musical organization. The band has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. Known as “The President’s Own” since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band’s mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.