From Russell Hall to the White House, armed with a trumpet

From Russell Hall to the White House, armed with a trumpet

Anna Flanders /

As a professional musician who got her start at UNI’s School of Music, Master Gunnery Sgt. Susan Rider uses her musical talents to hail the red, white and blue every day — but she still has a special affinity for the purple and gold. She has played in the White House numerous times and been featured in six Presidential Inaugurations, all as part of the mission of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, which she’s been a part of since 1997.

“Keith Johnson, one of my professors at UNI, used to say to me, ‘My trumpet has taken me places I never thought I would go,’ and now I say the same thing,” said Rider, who graduated with a degree in music in 1989. “Through my ability to play a trumpet, I've had the opportunity to be a part of a lot of really, really excellent, fun and meaningful events.”

For Rider, some highlights of her work have included playing for 1.8 million people when President Barack Obama was inaugurated and performing with composer John Williams at the Kennedy Center for the band’s 225th anniversary. 

Susan Rider posing in uniform with trumpet in front of American flag