Master Sgt. Christine Lightner is the principal cellist with the Air Force Strings, The United States Air Force Band, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C. Originally from Mission Viejo, California, her Air Force career began in 2006. Lightner currently serves as the band's principal cellist.
Lightner received a Bachelor of Music performance degree from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2003 and a Master of Orchestral Music performance degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2005.
While at USC, Lightner was selected as a soloist for the Colburn Zipper Orchestra Educational Outreach Concert Series, and also performed extensively with the American Youth Symphony under Mehli Mehta and Alexander Treger. She also received scholarships to attend the Music Masters course in Kazusa, Japan, in 2004, and the Manchester Music Festival in 2002 and 2004. In New York City, Lightner was principal cellist with the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra, and as a freelance cellist performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and One World Symphony.
Her teachers have included Alan Stepansky, Margo Tatgenhorst-Drakos and Eleonore Schoenfeld.
Highlights of Lightner's Air Force career include the 2009 inauguration concert on the national mall, as well as a 2016 performance for the King and Queen of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.