Sergeant Daniel Ruiter has been serving with the United States National Guard as an Army Bandsman for 12 years and serving communities as a teacher for 25 years. He currently serves with the 133rd Army Band. Having joined the Lancer Family as the Director of Instrumental Music at Kennedy Catholic three years ago, Sergeant Daniel Ruiter goes by Mr. Ruiter here on campus but is always in uniform wearing his National Guard issued boots wherever he goes.

While reflecting on what became nearly a year in quarantine, Mr. Ruiter noted that while the last year brought many unforeseen challenges, it also created great opportunities for him to set and accomplish new goals! He set out to be healthier, increase his quality of life and get a better score on his National Guard Fitness test. Over quarantine, he lost 50 pounds and ran two miles in 13 minutes and 47 seconds! But his mission didn't stop there. COVID-19 canceled all National Guard Army Band performances and Mr. Ruiter was tasked with figuring out a way to contribute and serve in an online environment. He helped form the Generals 7 Dixie Band with his fellow Army Bandsman. 

After six months of recording in their homes, and overlaying all of their own pieces, the Generals 7 Dixie Band published "Bourbon Street Parade Virtual Jam" for the community! Check it, along with some Q&A's out below!

What brought you to Kennedy Catholic High School?
I choose Kennedy Catholic because I always admired our Band! Kennedy Catholic really supports the arts, and I was seeking a place like that for the next part of my teaching career. Plus, I live in the neighborhood and the commute is great!

Why did you join the National Guard?
Ever since high school, I wanted to play in a military band because I thought they were awesome and it just never happened. Then 9/11 happened, and it made me think "I need to do something." An Army Bandsman approached me and recommended I join the National Guard Army Band. It's been a great opportunity to serve my country, fulfill my dream, and support my family. 

What is your favorite part of being an Army Bandsman?
Less than one-half of one percent of the U.S. population is active-duty military so not very many people get to meet a soldier. I get to interact with the public, often being the first soldier they've ever met, and represent soldiers whose duties call them elsewhere. It is really a special thing to get to spread gratitude for the public's support of Veterans and the Army.

What is a fun fact people don't know about you?
I am one of the official National Anthem singers for the State of Washington. 

Where is your favorite place to sing the National Anthem?
The drill floor in the PCRC because the room has amazing reverb.

Mr. Ruiter Fast Facts:
Trombone or Trumpet - Trombone
Coffee of Tea - Coffe and lots of it
Listening: Vocals or Instrumentals - Instrumental for sure
Performing: Vocals or Instrumentals - I can't pick just one! No way, I refuse to pick one!
Spray or Pump Hand Sanitizer - Pump, but not the greasy kind. 
Gym or Home Workout - Home workout! Kettlebells and Yoga are game-changers.
School Band or Summer Band  - Just band, it's all amazing!
Sneakers or Army Boots - Army Boots for sure!

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