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Naval Academy Band

Musician 1st Class William Kelly



A native of Portage, Wisconsin, Musician 1st Class William Kelly studied at the University of Minnesota, Texas Tech University, and Indiana University. He has studied saxophone with Eugene Rousseau and Otis Murphy, and clarinet with John Anderson, David Shea, and Howard Klug.

Kelly began his military career in 2002, when he enlisted in the Army Reserves as a saxophonist. In 2009, he joined the U.S. Navy Band as a clarinetist, and in 2010, he was selected as the band’s auxiliary low clarinet specialist, performing extensively on the contrabass, contra-alto, and alto clarinets. Kelly also served as the bass clarinetist in the Clarinet Quartet, and director of the Navy Band Chamber Players recital series. As a featured soloist, he gave performances of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen, and Paul Jeanjean’s Carnival of Venice.  

Kelly joined the U.S. Naval Academy Band in 2018, and performs as saxophone instrumentalist in the marching band and ceremonial units, and wind ensemble. A highly versatile woodwind specialist, he performs regularly on saxophone, clarinet, and bass clarinet, and is also a member of the chamber winds and clarinet quartet. He also currently serves as the band’s Command Leading Petty Officer, Ceremonial Unit Conductor, Assistant Drum Major, Clarinet Quartet Unit Leader, Marching Band Leading Petty Officer, Chamber Winds Leading Petty Officer, Command Fitness Leader Assistant, Recital Series Coordinator, and Education Services Officer.

Kelly's awards include the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), the Navy Good Conduct Medal (three awards), the Army Reserves Component Achievement Medal, and the Army Reserves Component Overseas Training Ribbon (two awards). He was also named the 2022 Sailor of the Year by both the USNA Band and the Naval Academy - Annapolis Area complex. 

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