Percussionist Master Gunnery Sergeant Mark Latimer joined "The President's Own" United States Marine Band in January 1997. He was appointed principal percussion and section commander in 1999. Master Gunnery Sgt. Latimer began his musical training at age 8 when he started instruction with John Kasica of the St. Louis Symphony. Upon graduating in 1986 from Vianney High School in Kirkwood, Mo., he earned a bachelor's degree in music performance from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1993. His instructors included George Gaber and Gerald Carylss of Indiana University.
Prior to joining "The President's Own," he was principal timpanist of the American Soviet Youth Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin. He also was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colo., and the Summit Brass Ensemble in Denver. Master Gunnery Sgt. Latimer performs with the Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra at the White House, in the Washington, D.C., area, and across the country during the band's annual concert tour.