A surprise visit for the 5th Grade Junior Bengals Band
On February 2nd, 2018, the 5th grade band at Garfield Elementary had a surprise visitor. Mr. Roger Stoner, a graduate from the University of Kansas, and former member of the “President’s Own Marine Band”. Mr. Stoner graduated from KU with a Music Education degree in 1968. Upon his graduation, he auditioned for the military bands and was selected to join the “President’s Own Marine Band” in Washington D.C. He played five days a week in the White House under Presidents Johnson and Nixon. He told us, that the challenge was to read new music every day and encouraged our young musicians to “learn to read music, work on good tone, and playing in tune”. A part of his talk was about the annual national tours, the “President’s Own” is doing to this day. He played wonderful music and met some very important national and international people, which certainly shaped his life.
Mr. Stoner fulfilled his contract and returned to KU to audition for a teaching position as the trumpet instructor, which he won and he taught trumpet at KU, which was then followed by administrative assignments at Eastern Illinois University, and at Missouri State University in Springfield MO.
He also told the band that it is important what they do in school and how their character can – and will – influence their future. After his audition for the Marine Band, all his teachers and principals were interviewed about his character, even his grade school teachers, to get clearance to work at the White House! He said: “Anything you do in life can affect your future”.
Mr. Stoner lives in Topeka KS, close to his two daughters and their families.