PATRIOT MUSICIANS

Furman alumni serve as musical ambassadors at home and abroad
MORE: Read about other Furman alumni in the musical military.

Jennifer Everhart ’02

By Erikah Haavie

Sergeant First Class Jennifer Everhart began her career a little differently than most music graduates, with ten weeks of U.S. Army basic training. Since then, she has built a prestigious career as a clarinetist with one of the nation’s premier military ensembles, the U.S. Army Field Band. She tours with the elite 65-member instrumental ensemble 100 days every year in locations across the country and around the world.

Everhart2.jpgThe summer before her junior year of high school Everhart came to Furman for a clarinet workshop, an experience that set her sights on studying music at Furman. Two years later with that goal realized, she quickly became a standout in the eyes of her Furman music professors. “It became increasingly evident to the wind faculty just what a special musician she was becoming,” said Music Department Chair Mark Britt. “She was one of those players for whom you knew great things would come her way.”


In turn, Furman provided the experiences Everhart had hoped for, including a chance to study with Robert Chesebro. “Dr. Chesebro gave me a foundation, especially in technique, that I have continued to build upon. He stretched my limits as a player, pushing me to play cleaner, faster, more defined, and he encouraged me to be more outgoing as a performer, to not shy away from the music but to commit to my musical ideas,” she said. “Jennifer had high expectations for herself musically, and she brought up the level of the players who performed with her,” said Leslie Hicken, director of bands and music education coordinator.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in music from Furman, Everhart went on to earn a master’s degree in music from Indiana University in 2005, where she studied clarinet performance with Howard Klug. Early in his career, Klug played in the U.S. Air Force Band, so he knew the benefits it offered, especially for a player such as Everhart. At his suggestion, she took her first audition during the second semester of her first year at IU, and she kept auditioning until she won the Field Band job in 2005. 

MORE: Read about other Furman alumni in the musical military.

Founded in 1946 and considered by music critics to be one of the most versatile and inspiring musical organizations in the world, the Field Band is the premier touring musical representative for the United States Army. Its members, selected by highly competitive audition, represent some of the finest musical talent in America, and more than six decades as the military’s most traveled musicians have earned them the title, “The Musical Ambassadors of the Army.”

Since joining the Field Band, Sgt. First Class Everhart has performed as a soloist on numerous concert tours. She was recently featured with the band on an episode of Coming Home on the Lifetime Channel, showing their support for a soldier returning home from Afghanistan.

Everhart was a semi-finalist in the 2005 International Clarinet Association’s Young Artist Competition and has performed with the Columbia Indiana Philharmonic, Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, and Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. She is a founding member of Baltimore’s contemporary music ensemble, Mobtown Modern, described by the Baltimore Sun as the city’s “most aggressive champion of contemporary music.”

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