WASHINGTON (July 19, 2017) Chief Musician Amanda Cline, right, discusses the upcoming video shoot with three of the surviving members of the B-1 Band, from left to right, Simeon Holloway, Jewitt White and Calvin Morrow, the first African Americans to serve in the modern Navy at a rank other than messman. They discussed their contributions to the Navy and Navy music and the difficulties they faced during their naval service as the first African American Navy bandsmen in the newly-integrated Navy for a video documentary produced by the U.S. Navy Band. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Musician Stephen Hassay/released)
recording engineer, who makes sure the audio meets the high standards of the Navy Band. When Brown finishes the product, Musician 1st Class Travis Siehndel and his social media team make sure that the video reaches as many people as possible.
IN THE BEGINNING
Brown didn’t join the Navy Band to create videos. Growing up in La Porte, Texas, he started playing the trumpet in sixth grade, which he chose because “it was the best instrument.” He graduated with a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University in 2006, and was pursuing a master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music when he auditioned for the Navy Band in 2007. He reported to the band in 2008 as a member of the Concert and Ceremonial Bands. He started his journey in video with a handheld video camera, recording recitals while in graduate school. Though technically challenging, Brown discovered that he enjoyed the post-production process. In 2012, he started working as a video production specialist for the band, in addition to his duties playing trumpet. After three years, he became the Navy Band’s first full-time video producer. “I think music and filmmaking are the two greatest team sports in the world, and luckily I’ve gotten to experience both at a very high level.”
CONNECTING WITH THE PAST
It’s Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, and Brown, along with Cline, Senior Chief Musician Steve Hassay (the Navy Band’s visual information chief) and Musician 1st Class Maia Rodriguez (a member of the Sea Chanters and part of Brown’s video team), are meeting with the last surviving members of the Navy B-1 Band, who are holding their 75th reunion in Washington (see July/August Volume 38 Number 4 of fanfare for more about the B-1 Band). Cline learned of their visit, and instantly knew that their story would be perfect to tell at the Navy Birthday Concert in October. “The story of our B-1 heroes must be preserved and told so that we never forget how far we have come as a Navy and as a nation.” Brown worked with Cline and Hassay to figure out where to shoot the video, which was particularly challenging due to an ongoing renovation in the Navy Band building, while Rodriguez and Cline settled on some questions for the interview. Once the footage was shot, Brown and Rodriguez went to the studio to edit the video. Talking about the editing process, Rodriguez said, “Editing videos is kind of like climbing a mountain. You’re never sure if you’ll reach summit. You just have to trust that you told the story the best way you knew how.” The video will premiere at the Navy Birthday Concert Oct. 5, 2017, at The Music Center at Strathmore in
The fall issue of the new bi-annual format of the Navy Band's Fanfare magazine.