ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay area native played an integral part in Wednesday’s inauguration of the 46th President of the United States.
There are 160 members in the United States Marine Band, but only 50 were chosen to play at this year’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. One of those band members is a man who grew up in St. Pete.
“I’m admittedly and unabashedly a band nerd through and through,” Gunnery Sergeant Jacob Chmara said, smiling ear to ear.
Sergeant Chmara said he also loves his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.
“Beach culture, that’s my bread and butter. That’s how I grew up,” Sergeant Chmara said.
A Keswick Christian High School grad, he studied music at the University of Michigan.
Now, he’s an active duty member of the Marine Corps. His full-time job, playing saxophone for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band.
“It’s definitely a big deal,” Sergeant Chmara said humbly.
U.S. Marine Band Communications Strategy Chief Amanda Simmons said music is an integral part of the inauguration.
“Music is a universal language, it can evoke a ton of different emotions. We try to do that through our programming and performance,” Simmons said.
We asked Sergeant Chmara if anyone ever messed up during their performances.
“It’s very infrequent, but it’s one of the things you learn along the way is how to make your mistakes gracefully,” Sergeant Chmara said with a slight chuckle.
COVID caused the band to reduce performers for the inauguration so they can spread out safely, but Sergeant Chmara made the cut.
“It’s an honor to represent Florida and the City of St. Pete in this historic event,” Sergeant Chmara said.
Sergeant Chmara told us he’s spending Wednesday night after the big event resting and relaxing with his family in D.C.
Sergeant Chmara said his parents live in Hillsborough County and that he loves to visit St. Pete and Clearwater Beach, so if you see him visiting in the bay area, be sure to say hello.