CAPT Kenneth R. Force
Director of Music, USMS
Lodge Historian of St. Cecile


Captain Kenneth R. Force, USMS, holds a BM, MM and 6th year Professional Diploma in Education Administration from the Manhattan School of Music and currently sits on the Alumni Council for his Alma Mater. Last year he was elected to the Manhattan School of Music "Distinguished Alumnus". He has an additional Masters Degree in Counseling from New York Institute of Technology. His professional trumpet playing career has ranged from the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra and Master Virtusoi of New York to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus Band, with several Broadway shows in between.

CAPT Force earned his Army "Bandsman" diploma from the U.S. Naval School of Music in Washington D.C. and subsequently served as cornet soloist with the First U.S. Army Band at Governors Island, New York. Several years later, he returned to the Army National Guard and served as Bandmaster/Commander of the 42D Infantry (Rainbow) Division Band. He has served as a consultant for Columbia Artist Management for several British Military Tours of North America and co-produced the British Salute to the United States Bicentennial in 1976, featuring the Bands of the Royal Marines and Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment). He also produced and directed the "Tall Ships Tattoo" in Newport, Rhode Island which featured a cast of over 5,000 performers with canons and fireworks made by Paul Revere.

Prior to his appointment to the Academy, CAPT Force was the band director for the championship Port Chester (New York) High School Band. Today, many of his former high school students serve as professional musicians in Symphony Orchestras and/or are preeminent music educators. CAPT Force's last appearance with this band was at the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1971.

CAPT Force is also an arranger/composer, and composed and coordinated the musical sequences for the battle scenes in the Dustin Hoffman movie "Little Big Man." The State of New York commissioned him to compose full cantatas for chorus, soloists and band based on the 1789 Inauguration of President George Washington and another based on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Among the world's great bands, he has conducted "The President's Own" United States Marine Band; the Bands of the Grenadier Guards, the Welsh Guards, the Royal Marines, and the Black Watch; and, the Royal Military Band of the Netherlands.

In 2002, CAPT Force was named an Honorary Alumnus of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in honor of his years of devoted service to the Academy. He also served as President of the Board of Directors of the famed Goldman Memorial Band for many years. CAPT Force was also elected to honorary membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (one of eight in the world), and received the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor in 2004.

The New York Times referred to him in 1989 as a "human encyclopedia of military and ceremonial music." In 2004, Dale Lewis, Executive Director of the Usdan Center for Creative and Performing Arts, referred to him as "an American treasure" when presenting him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. Perhaps most fittingly, the Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts cited CAPT Force in part with these words,

"devoting your life's work to one of the most soul-stirring of music genres...band music, your expertise as a composer/conductor/music historian will, hopefully, continue to inspire students and audiences for years to come."

In a January 2009 article, the New York Times noted his eleven Presidential Inaugural parade record. His proudest achievement by far was getting a statue erected to John Philip Sousa at the "President's Own" - U.S. Marine Band Rehearsal facilities in Washington, D.C. The plaque, placed by the U.S. Marine Corps, has the following inscribed on the back of the base, "Imagination of Captain Kenneth R. Force, USMA" along with the "Fund Raising leadership of John Philip Sousa IV." "ACTA NON VERBA!"