In July of 2010, Lt. Col. Jim Keene assumed command as the 23rd Leader of the United States Military Academy Band, West Point, New York, where the band has been in continuous residence since 1817. A Native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lt. Col. Keene previously served as Commandant of the Army School of Music at Norfolk, Virginia. Lt. Col. Keene’s military service has also included duties at The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” Washington, DC.; the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, Heidelberg, Germany; and the Army Ground Forces Band, Atlanta, Georgia.
As music director of The U.S. Army Strings and the U.S. Army Chorus in Washington, DC., Lt. Col. Keene arranged and produced performances for international military and civilian leaders, dignitaries, and heads of state. He led The U.S. Army Chorus in performances at the interments of former Presidents Ronald Reagan in Simi Valley, California, and Gerald R. Ford in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the Army, he has conducted the Dallas Wind Symphony and the Cincinnati Pops orchestra. Other highlights include performances for six U.S. presidents and music planning for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, the dedication of the National WWII Memorial, the one year anniversary of 9/11, the "Kennedy Center Honors," "Spirit of America," and the Memorial Day "Times of Remembrance."
Prior to joining the Army, Lt. Col. Keene served as assistant conductor of the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Symphony and was orchestra conductor on staff of the SMU International Conservatory Summer Festival in Taos, New Mexico. A multi-faceted musician, Lt. Col. Keene worked as a violinist, pianist, and music director of the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera. He has worked as an audition accompanist at the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School, and at the Manhattan School of Music. Lt. Col. Keene holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Music with highest honors in Orchestral Conducting from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
Major Derrick Shaw is currently Deputy Commander and Associate Conductor of the United States Military Academy Band, West Point, New York.
More biographical information is forthcoming.
Chief Warrant Officer David Downer joined the staff of the West Point Band in December of 2010 as Associate Bandmaster and Officer In Charge of the Jazz Knights and Hellcats. Originally from Hope Mills, North Carolina, Mr. Downer enlisted in the United States Army in 1997 as a piano player. He has served as a pianist, saxophonist, percussionist, and arranger in a variety of assignments to include Fort Gordon, Georgia; Camp Zama, Japan; and the Continental Army Band at Fort Monroe, Virginia.
In 2004, Mr. Downer was selected for training as a Warrant Officer Bandmaster and attended Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama and the Army Warrant Officer Bandmaster course at the Army School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. As a warrant officer, Mr. Downer has served as the commander of the I Corps Band at Fort Lewis, Washington; the Fires Center of Excellence Band at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and the 2nd Infantry Division Band located in Uijeongbu, Korea.
Mr. Downer holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Lee University. His military training includes the Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course, Warrant Officer Candidate School, and the Warrant Officer Basic Course.
|Band Sergeant Major|
Command Sergeant Major Cal Christensen was appointed to the position of Band Command Sergeant Major in June of 2007. Originally from Browns Valley, Minnesota, he attended the band instrument repair course at Red Wing Vocational Institute in Red Wing, Minnesota in 1979. At the conclusion of his training in 1980, he was employed by Cassinat’s Music in Riverton, Wyoming as their repair technician.
Command Sergeant Major Christensen joined the West Point Band in 1988 as a repair technician. He has held many additional duties including Reception Day NCOIC for Thayer Hall Inprocessing and Facilities Manager. In 2005, he became the Support Staff group leader and was assigned to the additional duty position of Logistics & Resource Management Division Sergeant Major in 2006.
Command Sergeant Major Christensen’s awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Army Achievement Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters.