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. Sergeant First 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, Sergeant First 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, Sergeant First 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.
Sergeant First 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.
Sergeant First Class 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, Sergeant First Class Beaver serves as the managing editor for the band’s publicity department.
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 Sergeant 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 Sergeant 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 Sergeant Jenkins has performed with artists such as 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.
Staff Sergeant Manuel Ramos joined the West Point Band in February of 2018. As an orchestral musician, Staff Sergeant Ramos has performed with the Hilton Head Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Columbus Ballet Orchestra, Battle Creek Symphony and Northbrook Symphony. As a soloist, he has performed with the Columbus State University Philharmonic Orchestra, LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, and the South Loop Symphony in Chicago. Staff Sergeant Ramos has participated in programs at the Brevard Music Center, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Decoda/Skidmore Chamber Music Institute, and was an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago during their 2016/2017 season. Additionally, he performs chamber music regularly with the 10th and Broadway Clarinet Quartet and flute/clarinet duo, Sol-Klang with Chicago flutist, Jennifer Shanahan. An advocate for music education, Staff Sergeant Ramos previously worked at the Merit School of Music in downtown Chicago as an administrator and substitute instructor. Staff Sergeant Ramos holds his Masters of Music in Clarinet Performance and Literature degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelors of Music Performance in Clarinet from Columbus State University. His teachers have included Steve Cohen, J. Lawrie Bloom, Leslie Grimm, and Lisa Oberlander.