Staff Sergeant Bryan McKinney, originally from Belleview, Missouri, attended Northwestern University for his undergraduate and graduate studies. He earned his dual Bachelor of Music in music education and trumpet performance and Master of Music in trumpet performance. After his studies, he won a two-year position with the Chicago Civic Orchestra and had the pleasure of working with the conductors Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez. While there, he studied with Adolf Herseth and Christopher Martin. Prior to joining the Hellcats in 2010, Staff Sgt. McKinney freelanced with many of the Chicago local orchestras and taught at St. Xavier University in Chicago.