Describing his career as a French hornist with the U.S. Air Force Band as “a dream come true,” Technical Sgt. Joel Wealer said the presidential inauguration on Monday, Jan. 21, will be the third time he will march in the parade in Washington.
“I did the Bush number two’s second and President Obama’s first one,” Wealer explained, during a telephone interview Sunday from Washington, where the band had just finished a rehearsal for the parade.
“It’s an honor every time I get to do this and be a part of such a great historical event,” Wealer said. “When we pass the reviewing stand, we will be playing the Air Force Song.”
The Air Force’s 99-piece band and 80-person Honor Guard flight both will march along the 1.5-mile route that begins at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and goes past the White House.
The parade will include bands from every branch in the military and other guest bands, Wealer said, such as high school and college bands.
Hannibal native Wealer has been in the Air Force since 2002. He also plays in the Air Force Concert Band. And he is assistant advertising manager for the tours.
He plans to stay in the Air Force until retirement.
began in seventh grade
Before graduating from Hannibal High School in 1994, Wealer played in the school bands, beginning in seventh grade.
“Craig Buck was my band director from seventh grade through high school,” he said.
Wealer also took French horn lessons from Deb Priest, another school band director.
“I was in All State Band as a senior, and that led my way to get scholarships to Missouri State (University) in Springfield,” Wealer said.
In 1998 he received a bachelor of music in horn performance from Missouri State.
Next, he attended the University of Michigan, where he was principal horn player in both the Symphonic Band and the Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, he received his master’s degree in horn performance.
Before joining the Air Force, Wealer was a member of the Motor City Brass Quintet, Ann Arbor Symphony and Windsor Symphony. His former teachers include Sören Hermansson, Ann Ley and David Everson.
Wealer and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. Jackie is in fourth grade; Josie, second; and Jamison, preschool.
Jackie is already following in her dad’s footsteps in music. “She is just in fourth grade and is in her first year on trumpet,” Wealer reported.
Wealer’s family includes his parents, John and Holly Wealer of Hannibal; his sister, Liz Sauer (a band director) of Springfield, Mo.; and three brothers, Matt Wealer of Hannibal, Adam Wealer of Cincinnati; and John Wealer of Virginia Beach.
Page 2 of 2 - Joel Wealer recently brought his family home to Hannibal, he said. “We make the 16-hour drive there once or twice a year. I was just there for Christmas.”