He has traveled all across the U.S. and parts of Europe as a trombonist, but Sgt. First Class Chris Branagan lives by some homegrown advice from his high school band director, Javier Martinez: “Wherever you go, leave it better than you found it.”
After attending both Adams Hill and Cody elementary schools, Sgt. Branagan attended Pease Middle School and Jay High School, where he began his musical journey. He played mostly in jazz and symphonic bands during his high school career, but he entered Texas Tech University as an advertising major until a visit to New York City.
After the experience of performing in Carnegie Hall in 1993, and with the encouragement of his parents, he changed his major to music. He received a master’s degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and left that institution with two major goals: to play for the San Antonio Symphony and to be a member of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, DC.
He accomplished both goals, and within three months of arriving in Washington in 2003, he played for the President of the United States.
Branagan was a performing member of the band for five years before he took on his current role as the band’s public relations and marketing manager.
He is married to Joy Branagan, a horn player with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, and they enjoy an active life with their dog, Georgia.