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Captain Kenneth R. Force

Captain Kenneth R. Force, USMS holds a BM, MM and 6th year Professional Diploma from the Manhattan School of Music. He has an additional Masters Degree in Counseling from the New York Institute of Technology. Captain Force's distinguished musical career includes assistant first trumpet with the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra; numerous Broadway shows; the Master Virtuosi of New York; and numerous free-lance positions. In addition, he was a member of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Band under the legendary Merle Evans and the Clyde Beaty-Cole Bros. Circus Band.

Captain Force received his bandsman's diploma from the U.S. Naval School of Music in Washington, D.C. and subsequently served as a cornet soloist with the First U.S. Army Band at Governors Island, New York. Several years later, he served as Bandmaster for the 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division Band and the 319th "Statue of Liberty" Army Reserve Band. Captain Force was appointed as a professional consultant to Columbia Artists Management for sever British Military Band tours of North America. He co-produced the "British Salute to the U.S. Bicentennial Tattoo" in Newport, RI which featured a cast of over 5,000.

Prior Experience

Prior to Captain Force's appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy as Director of Music in 1971, he was the Band Director of the Port Chester High School Band in Port Chester, New York. During his five years at Port Chester, the band rose in prominence and consistently won superior 6A ratings in concert music from the N.Y. State School Music Association. The groups also consistently won marching awards and remains the only high school band in America ever to be chosen to play for an actual performance of the Ringling Bros. Circus. After gaining fame in many tours and festivals, the Band was chosen in 1971 to march in the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California. Today former members of that band serve as music educators, department chairpersons, school principals and as professional playing musicians in major symphony orchestras throughout America.

Captain Force has written many articles on music for magazines and is also an arranger/composer. He was commissioned by the State of New York Bicentennial Commission to compose a Cantata for Chorus and Band based on the Inauguration of George Washington in 1789. He was subsequently commissioned by the State of New York, to compose a second Cantata based on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which received its premiere in 1986.

Captain Force is a prolific writer whose articles have appeared in "The Instrumentalist," "Musical America," "BD Guide," and several other publications. He is the author of the book "British Band Concepts in America" and is frequently called on to give clinics and guest conduct throughout the U.S. and Europe. The NY Times called him "...a human encyclopedia of military ceremonial and musical data." Amongst the Bands he has conducted are the US Marine Corps Band (The President's Own), The Band of the Black Watch, The Band of Her Majesty's Grenadier Guards and Her Majesty's Welsh Guards, The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, and The Dutch Royal Military Band as well as numerous College, University, and High School All-State Festival Bands.

Captain Force currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the World famous Goldman Memorial Band who's home is at the Damrosch Park in the band shell at Lincoln Center in New York City. This professional band is the third oldest music organization in New York after the NY Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Company. The Band recently celebrated its 83rd Anniversary of presenting free summer concerts to the citizens of New York. He also serves on the Board of the Gramacy Brass Band, a very active professional band that performs throughout the New York City area.


In 2002, Captain Force was made an honorary member of the Alumni of the Merchant Marine Academy (a rare occurrence). Also in 2002, the USDAN Center for the Performing Arts honored Captain Force with a lifetime achievement award, along with actor Alan Alda and Betty Allen, from the Metropolitan Opera. In presenting this award, Dale Lewis, Executive Director of the Center, referred to Captain Force as an "American treasure." Dana Giona, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, cited him for his "...distinguished career as an outstanding musician and teacher representing a lifelong pursuit of excellence. I commend [him] for devoting [his] life's work to one of the most soul-stirring of music's genres - band music - and for [his] expertise as a composer, conductor and music historian. [I hope his] talents continue to inspire and uplift audiences for many years to come."

In March 2004, Captain Force was elected to Honorary membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association which was founded by John Philip Sousa and Edwin Franko Goldman. (He is one of only eight individuals world-wide to hold that distinction.) In May 2004, he was presented with the Daughters of the American Revolution "Medal of Honor" for his dedication and service to the "Arts, Historic Preservation, and for his Patriotism."

Updated: Saturday, January 26, 2013
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