MELVIN PAUL KESSLER, Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret.)

Music Director/Principal Conductor

Melvin Paul Kessler, Lieutenant Commander, USN (Ret.), was appointed Music Director and Principal Conductor of the National Concert Band of America in August of 2008. Mr. Kessler is a native of Imperial, PA and received a Bachelor’s Degree in trumpet performance from Carnegie Mellon University, a Music Education Certificate and Masters Degree in trumpet performance from Duquesne University, and a Masters Degree in conducting from Florida State University. Currently he is a music consultant and maintains a busy schedule as a clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator throughout the United States.

At the time of his retirement he was the Director of the U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, MD.    His previous duty stations were; Fleet Bandmaster FLEET FORCES Band in Norfolk, VA, Associate Conductor/Executive Officer U.S. Navy Band, Post-graduate school at Florida State University, Deputy Director U.S. Navy Music Program, Director Navy Band Mid-South, Assistant Director Atlantic Fleet Band, and as a trumpet instrumentalist and soloist with the U.S. Navy Band, Washington, DC.

Mr. Kessler was the first member of the U.S. Navy Band in over 40 years to be commissioned a Fleet Bandmaster.  In addition to performing with the U.S. Navy Band, he has been a member of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Fairfax, VA, Principal trumpet with the Tidewater Winds, Norfolk, VA, Principal trumpet with the McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh, PA and performed with the Pittsburgh, Maryland and Virginia Symphony Orchestra, as well as Opera Memphis.  He has also performed for such notable artists as Barbara Mandrel, Mac Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bob Hope, as well as Barnum and Bailey Circus and the Ice Follies.

He has taught in private and public schools and was the Band Director at Waynesburg College, Waynesburg, PA.  Mr. Kessler has appeared as a soloist with colleges and secondary schools in Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.  He has served as a choir director in Pittsburgh, PA, Burke, VA, Millington, TN and Annapolis, MD.

Mr. Kessler has appeared as a guest conductor with the Florida State University Wind Ensemble, Germantown Symphony Orchestra, Memphis, TN, George Mason University Concert Band, Carnegie Mellon University Wind Ensemble, Robinson High School Band, Fairfax, VA, Kempsville High School Band, Virginia Beach, VA, and Lincoln High School Wind Ensemble, Tallahassee, FL.

He studied conducting at George Mason University with Anthony Maiello and at Florida State University with Dr. James Croft.  His trumpet teachers include Anthony Pasquarelli, Carnegie Mellon University and Charles Hois, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (three gold stars), Navy Commendation Medal (gold star), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (gold star), Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal (five awards), Good Conduct Medal (three awards), and National Defense Service Medal (three awards) and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.


WILLIAM R. TERRY, Master Chief Musician, USN (Ret.)

Associate Conductor

William R. Terry, Master Chief Musician, USN (Retired) was appointed Associate Conductor of the National Concert Band of America in June 2010. Bill is a native of Glens Falls, NY and began playing the clarinet in fifth grade. For 50 of his 67 years he has been a  professional clarinetist, music educator and conductor.

After college a 30-year career as a Navy Musician began in 1966 with the position of staff instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Virginia. He first served as clarinet and saxophone instructor, and also student concert band rehearsal conductor. Then he was asked to write a conducting curriculum and teach the refresher, intermediate, and advanced band leader conducting courses for Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel.  Bill also founded the School of Music Student Wind Ensemble; this premier ensemble gave quarterly concerts using new student personnel for each performance. During this period he worked outside the military as Production/Stage Manager for The Norfolk Symphony Orchestra under musical director Maestro Russell Stanger. This close collaboration with Maestro Stanger afforded him the opportunity to further perfect his conducting and rehearsal skills.

Upon transfer in 1977 to the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC, he served as clarinet instrumentalist in both the concert band and ceremonial band units. For 18 of his 20 year tenure Bill was the Senior Enlisted Conductor for both of these musical units, serving in this position for five consecutive Officer-in-Charge/Leaders. As part of this position he was asked to be Producer of several of the Navy Band’s currently available compact disc recordings.

An accomplished studio session player exclusively for Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, Maryland, upon Navy retirement in September of 1996 Bill set up The Omega Studios’ School of Applied Recording Arts & Sciences’ Admissions and Job Placement Departments. For 13 years, he was the School’s Director of Admissions and teacher of its  Personal and Career Skills course and Music Theory class. Now fully retired, Bill still returns to teach the aforementioned classes as an adjunct professor for each of the School’s quarterly sessions.

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