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Colonel Thomas Palmatier


Colonel Thomas Palmatier culminated a distinguished military career spanning more than 37 years as the Leader and Commander of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” the largest military music unit in the United States and was the senior musician in the U.S. Armed Forces. He is now able to dedicate his efforts to music education and to maximizing the success of arts organizations as a clinician, guest conductor, and consultant. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Music at Old Dominion University.

Previously he commanded the Musical Ambassadors of the Army, The U.S. Army Field Band, being the first Officer to command both of the Army’s top premier bands. Other postings included the founding Commandant (dean equivalent) of the U.S. Army School of Music, Commander and Conductor of the U.S. Army Europe Band and Chorus, Commander and Conductor of The U.S. Continental Army Band, and Associate Bandmaster of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” where he directed The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and The Army Brass Band.

His United States performances have spanned all 50 states and included concerts in the John F. Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall, and Strathmore Music Center in the Washington, D.C. area, the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, and Bass Hall in Fort Worth. He has appeared in 52 countries and performances have included concerts in the Rudolfinium in Prague, the Beijing Concert Hall, the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, and a rare performance inside the Kremlin. Colonel Palmatier is an active clinician, guest conductor, and consultant on organizational structures and leadership around the world. He was founding Music Director of the Virginia International Tattoo, Producer/Director of the Rochester International Tattoo, and led the Dominion Brass Band to the Honors Division championship of the North American Brass Band Association. He is currently Director of Symphonic and Jazz Bands at the Czech Youth Music Camp and a Director of Bands at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He is also a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician.

Colonel Palmatier has received numerous awards and recognitions. Military awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit, and seven Meritorious Service Medals. He was the first Army Music Officer to earn both Parachutist and Air Assault badges and earned the right to wear a Combat Service Identification Badge for service in El Salvador and Iraq. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bandmasters Association and the John Phillip Sousa Foundation, as well as an Honorary Life Member and Past President of the North American Brass Band Association. He was named a Distinguished Member of the Regiment and received a Superior Lifetime Achievement Award from The Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Association.

Colonel Palmatier and his wife Shirley reside in Norfolk, Virginia when they are not visiting the two cutest grandchildren in the world in the Dallas, Texas area.

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