Sergeant McKay Heaton was raised in Orem, Utah, USA. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in trombone performance from Brigham Young University in 2015, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and entered basic training in 2016. He has previously served with the Army Band at Fort Benning, Georgia where he competed for and won Soldier of the Year in 2019. During his civilian and military career he has performed with musicians such as Wayne Bergeron and Wycliffe Gordon. He was also a soloist during a tour of Brazil, performed on national television during Fox Sports' 2018 Veteran's Day NFL coverage, and supported the 75th anniversary of the landing in Normandy on D-Day. At the SHAPE International Band Sergeant Heaton lends his bass trombone skills to the NATO Jazz Orchestra and NATO Brass Ambassadors and plays tenor trombone with the NATO Jazz Combo.