FWHS grad performs with Marine Band at inaugurations

Gunnery Sgt. Karl Johnson - Courtesy photo
Gunnery Sgt. Karl Johnson
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Courtesy of Master Sgt. Kristin duBois, Marine Band Public Affairs Chief:

Bass trombone player Gunnery Sgt. Karl Johnson of Federal Way, will perform in the 57th Inauguration of the President of the United States on Jan. 21, 2013, as a member of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. This marks the Marine Band’s 54th consecutive inaugural appearance.

The Marine Band provides music for the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, leads the second division of the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, and will perform at the Commander in Chief’s inaugural ball. “The President’s Own” is the only musical unit to participate in all three.

Gunnery Sgt. Johnson joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in May 2000. He began his musical training at age 10. After graduating from Federal Way High School in 1992, he earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, where he studied with Daniel Bachelder of BYU and Russell McKinney of the Utah Symphony. In 2000, he earned a master’s degree from The Juilliard School in New York, where he studied with Donald Harwood of the New York Philharmonic.

Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Gunnery Sgt. Johnson recorded music for television and motion pictures and substituted with Natalie Cole, the Canadian Brass, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Harry James Orchestra.

Gunnery Sgt. Johnson performs with the Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, and Marine Chamber Ensembles at the White House, in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and across the country during the band’s annual concert tour.

Gunnery Sgt. Johnson, the son of Dale and Darlene Johnson of Federal Way, currently resides in Stafford, Va., with his wife, Staff Sergeant Karen Johnson, a violinist in the Marine Chamber Orchestra, and their children, Julia, Audrey, Natalie, and Axel.

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. Known as “The President’s Own” since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band’s primary mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.


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