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Alumnus Participated in Inauguration as a Member of “The President’s Own:” Master Gunnery Sgt. John Cradler

Jan. 30, 2017
Category: Performance

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Music took part in the 58th Inauguration of the President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2017, as a member of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. This marks the Marine Band’s 55th inaugural appearance.

Tuba player Master Gunnery Sergeant John Cradler joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in July 1989. He was named section leader in 2000, low brass section commander in 2003, and principal in November 2013. Master Gunnery Sgt. Cradler began his musical instruction at age 11 and graduated in 1983 from Lake Mills High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in tuba performance from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1987 and a master’s degree in tuba performance from the University of Akron in Ohio in 1989. His instructors have included John Stevens of the University of Wisconsin, Tucker Jolly of the University of Akron, and Ronald Davis of the University of South Carolina. Master Gunnery Sgt. Cradler 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 1994, Master Gunnery Sgt. Cradler Cradler performed a recital at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and in 1998, he was a featured soloist at the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference (ITEC) in Minneapolis and the U.S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference in Arlington, Va. In 2005, he performed as a member of the Marine Tuba-Euphonium Quartet at the U.S. Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference and the Potomac Festival’s International Tuba and Euphonium Competition in Fairfax, Va. In 2006, the same ensemble performed at ITEC in Denver, Colo. In 2007 the members of the quartet were guest artists at the Leonard Falcone International Tuba-Euphonium Festival and featured at the ITEC in Cincinnati in 2008 and Tucson, Ariz., in 2010.

The Marine Band provided music for the Inauguration swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, led the second division of the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, and performed at the Salute to the Armed Forces Inaugural ball. “The President’s Own” is the only musical unit to participate in all three events.

Research suggests that on March 4, 1801, the Marine Band performed for Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration. An accomplished musician himself, Jefferson recognized the unique relationship between the band and the Chief Executive and is credited with giving the Marine Band the title, “The President’s Own.”

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 mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

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Jeffrey Vande Leest ’75 retired June 30, 2021.

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