Two University of Iowa Graduates Play a Part in President Biden's Inauguration

By Katie Linder
Iowa Music School alumni Kara Santos and Kira Wharton are part of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band.
'The President's Own' United States Marine Band performs during the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021. "The President's Own" United States Marine Band performs during the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021. Photo credit: United States Marine Band

A flutist and music librarian both University of Iowa School of Music graduates participated in the inauguration celebration of President Joe Biden.

Flutist Gunnery Sergeant Kara Santos (01MA, 05DMA) and Librarian Master Sergeant Kira Wharton (95MA, 97DMA) are members of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, which performed "Hail to the Chief" and accompanied Lady Gaga during the national anthem at the inauguration on January 20.

Gunnery Sgt. Santos is originally from Iowa City and earned her master's degree in 2001 and doctorate in flute performance in 2005 from the UI. Before joining the Marine Band, she performed as principal flute for the Quad City Symphony in Davenport, Iowa, and for the Evansville Philharmonic in Indiana.

Librarian Master Sergeant Wharton earned a master's degree in music history in 1995 and a doctor of musical arts in 1997 from the UI. During the inauguration, she managed the music sheets and remained on the platform with the band during the ceremony. In her role, she regularly prepares music for performances and assists with maintaining the music library.

"The President's Own" United States Marine Band was founded in 1798 and has performed for every U.S. president since John Adams. Its mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

University of Iowa School of Music graduate Kara Santos plays the flute during President Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, 2021. University of Iowa School of Music graduate Kara Santos plays the flute during President Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20, 2021. Photo credit: United States Marine Band
Iowa Magazine
Explore the Winter 2020 edition of the Iowa Magazine.

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Statement unless you have disabled them in your browser.