SSG Sam Ross
After starting band in middle school as a percussionist, I switched to clarinet in high school and had some catching up to do. I ended up sticking with and earning both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in clarinet performance, despite having to now deal with reeds. I pursued studies with many different teachers, both in the Dallas area and through various music festivals. Always having enjoyed wind band growing up, I took the opportunity to audition for the West Point Band in 2012 and have been here since!
Greg Raden, Steve Cohen, Yehuda Gilad, Mark Nuccio, John Scott, Nophachai Cholthitchanta
Robert Marcellus; most any opera singer
When did you join the Army?
I plan on putting together a solo recital in the near future; I plan on working on an opera fantasy as well as a very challenging contemporary piece that I’ve been wanting to play for a long time. I’m definitely always working on fundamentals – every day. I’m also always looking out for interesting things to work on with my woodwind quintet as well.
What do you enjoy doing off-duty?
Extra duties: performance accountability NCO (keeping track of all the jobs the band does and how many people show up, etc.), Point of Contact for my woodwind quintet; Hobbies: weightlifting & crossfit, collecting and enjoying rare & unique beer, nature in general, enjoying the multi-level humor of being Uncle Sam to six nephews and a niece.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when…
Sometime when I was a kid and both my older sisters took piano lessons. It just seemed like the most logical thing to do at the time!
An Army performance highlight:
Playing Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry in Sarasota, FL is one of the emotional musical experiences I’ve had while in the band. That and having the opportunity to perform Bach’s setting of Ave Maria as a solo with the concert band in the beautiful Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City last year.
Did you know?
The only time I ever broke a bone affected me musically. Right before going to college, I fell off a ladder (I know, genius, right?) and broke my right wrist. Up to that point, I had been practicing to audition for the drumline in the University of Arkansas marching band that I would be joining in the fall. I felt pretty ready, but then after that incident, I was relegated to marching clarinet the first time in my life. It ended up being a pretty fun time with the clarinet section, but it was the nail in the coffin of my percussion-playing days.