Jari Villanueva is retired from the United States Air Force where he served 23 years as a trumpeter, drum major, and staff arranger with The United States Air Force Band in Washington, DC. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Music degree from Kent State University, Ohio. He is a 2006 graduate of the Air Force Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.
Villanueva served as Director of Bands at UMBC from 1998-2010 and was Director of the Johns Hopkins University Band from 2008-2010. He received his commission as a Major (MDDF) in the Maryland Defense Force in October 2008 as the founding commander and conductor of The MDDF Band, and was promoted to LTC (MDDF) in January 2014. He retired from the MDDF in May 2017. Villanueva’s military awards and decorations include the USAF Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the State of Maryland Distinguished Service Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, Adjutant General’s Special Recognition Ribbon, State Service Medal, and the Maryland Defense Force Achievement, Community Service, and Recruitment Ribbons.
From February 2008-May 2017 Villanueva served the State of Maryland as Director of Veterans Affairs for the Maryland National Guard Honor Guard, overseeing the performance of military funeral honors for thousands of Maryland veterans. He is a member of the American Legion Post 109 in Arbutus, MD, the Air Force Musicians Association, Maryland Historical Society, Maryland Military Historical Society, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and an associate member of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In 2011 he was appointed by the Governor of Maryland as a Commissioner on the Maryland Military Monuments Commission.
A Civil War historian and re-enactor, since 2007 he has been the Artistic Director of the National Association for Civil War Brass Music, Inc., where he directs and leads the Federal City Brass Band and the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band, recreated regimental bands of the Civil War era. He has taught at the National Civil War Field Music School and has served as guest conductor with high school honor bands and community bands. Villanueva is also recognized as an accomplished music arranger. His arrangement of “Goin’ Home” was featured in the Tom Clancy film “Clear and Present Danger” and was performed by The USAF Band during the state funerals of former presidents Reagan and Ford. His arrangements and compositions have been performed and recorded by bands and brass groups including the WestWind Brass, Patriot Brass Ensemble, Moore County Concert Band, and Virginia Grand Military Band.
Nationally and internationally recognized as a leading expert on military bugling and bugle calls, Villanueva was the founder of TAPS 150, an organization formed to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the bugle call Taps in 2012. He currently serves as Board President for the Patriot Brass Ensemble and is an advisor to Taps for Veterans, an organization that helps provide live buglers for military funerals. He is married to Heather Faust and resides in Catonsville, Maryland.