By Jenna Bagcal
A Douglaston native is part of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Chamber Orchestra that was scheduled to perform during the state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush in Washington, D.C.
Staff Sgt. Foster Wang, a violinist, was set to honor the nation’s 41st president at his funeral service, which was scheduled to take place 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral.
Wang began his musical instruction at age 4 and joined “The President’s Own,” America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization, in August 2016. The Marine Chamber Orchestra was established by an act of Congress in 1798 with the mission “to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.”
Prior to joining the Marine band, Wang graduated from Flushing’s Townsend Harris High School in 2006 and earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Harvard University in 2010. During his time at Harvard, Wang was under the private tutelage of renowned violinist Lynn Chang.
In 2012, Wang earned his master’s degree in violin performance from The Juilliard School where he studied with David Chan, concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The Douglaston native has honed his craft with other notable violinists including Rafail Sobolevsky and Naoko Tanaka.
Wang’s impressive credits include performing as a fellow with the New World Symphony in Miami from 2012 to 2016, as well as taking part in the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Orchestra in Germany and the Breckenridge Music Festival in Colorado.
Wang was set to perform together with the rest of the Marine Chamber Orchestra, which is conducted by Music Adviser to the White House and Marine Band Colonel Jason K. Fettig.
The set of musical selections for Bush’s funeral include Gustav Holst’s Nocturne from A Moorside Suite, Kevin Siegfried’s arrangement of “Lay Me Low” from Shaker Songs, Aaron Copland’s “Our Town,” Paul Christiansen’s arrangement of “My Song in the Night,” John Williams’ “Hymn to the Fallen,” and Samuel Augustus Ward’s “America, the Beautiful.”
President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at the age of 94, served as the nation’s commander-in-chief from 1989 to 1993. A fighter pilot during World War II, he served the country in many other capacities prior to becoming president, including as a Congressman from Texas, director of the Central Intelligence Agency and two terms as vice president under President Ronald Reagan.
He’s also the father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Following this morning’s service at the Washington National Cathedral, former President George H.W. Bush’s body will be flown back to Texas, where he will be interred alongside his wife Barbara at his presidential library in College Station.