Chief Musician Kelly Watkins hails from the great state of Texas. A featured soloist with the band on numerous occasions, MUC Watkins is also a member of the United States Coast Guard Brass Quintet. In addition to her work with the USCG Band, she is currently the artistic director and conductor of the Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band in New York City, as well as the interim music director of Classic Brass in Willimantic, Connecticut. Prior to joining the Coast Guard Band in February 2003, MUC Watkins performed with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, Opera Illinois, and the Illinois State University Faculty Brass Quintet.
In April 2009 and April 2012, MUC Watkins was awarded first prize in the North American Brass Band Association Adult High Brass Slow Melody Solo competition and in 2003 was awarded the grand prize at the International Women’s Brass Conference Solo Competition. Additionally, she has been a prize-winner in the 2001 and 2002 International Trumpet Guild Solo Competitions and in the 2002 National Trumpet Competition.
MUC Watkins holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana and a Master of Music degree from Illinois State University. She has served as President and Executive Director of the International Women’s Brass Conference, and currently serves on its Board of Directors. A Connecticut state certified Emergency Medical Technician, MUC Watkins enjoys volunteering with the Bozrah Volunteer Fire Company in her spare time.