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November/December 2014 w Volume 35 Number 6

Navy Music realignment A look inside productions Spotlight on Lt. j.g. Fritz

A Message from the Commanding Officer


s 2014 draws to a close, we’re excited about several great events. In December, we’re heading to Chicago with the Concert Band to perform at the Midwest Clinic. With more than 17,000 music professionals in attendance, it’s a great opportunity to showcase the talent and ability of “The World’s Finest.” In addition to our two evening Concert Band performances, we will have one chamber ensemble performance and conduct three clinics. Immediately after returning, we head to DAR Constitution Hall for our annual holiday concerts. Our productions staff is diligently working on the event, which is one of our most popular concerts of the year. If you’ve never been before and want to see what all of the buzz is about, go to page five of this issue for more information. Free e-tickets can be ordered online starting Monday, Nov. 3 at 8 a.m. They’ll go fast, so order promptly! As you read this, the Commodores are on tour to the Northeast. Their tour in 2013 was canceled due to budgetary restrictions resulting from sequestration, so we’re happy to have them back on the road, showcasing our great Navy across the country. They would love to see you at one of their concerts, so please check out their itinerary listed on the schedule page of this issue. Finally, as you’ll read about in this issue, we’ve experienced some big changes in Navy music. As of Oct. 1, all Navy bands have been realigned as field activities of the U.S. Navy Band. The realignment and consolidation of bands enabled us to absorb an 18 percent cut while remaining committed to being as efficient and capable as possible. I’m confident that, moving forward, Navy bands will enjoy a long and bright future representing our Sailors around the world.

fanfare Volume 35 Number 6

Commanding Officer/Leader CAPT Brian O. Walden

Public Affairs Chief MUCM Aaron L. Porter Editorial Staff MUCM Aaron L. Porter MUC Adam K. Grimm MUC Cynthia K. Wolverton MU1 Sarah F. Blecker MU1 Amanda Polychronis

Photographers MUC Brian P. Bowman MUC Stephen W. Hassay MU1 James C. Anderson MU1 David B. Aspinwall MU1 Eric A. Brown MU1 Jeremy D. Buckler MU1 Adele D. Mayne

Brian O. Walden, Captain, USN Commanding Officer/Leader

Layout and Design MUC Stephen W. Hassay MU1 Adrienne W. Moore fanfare is a bi-monthly magazine published by the U.S. Navy Band public affairs staff. Front Cover: The start of a haphazard rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas” by the Sideboys. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class David Aspinwall/Released)


What a wonderful night filled with great music as well as great patriotism. Many thanks for this gift of entertainment and we look forward to having you come this way again. --Barb (Bentonville, Arkansas)


Navy music program realignment by Master Chief Musician Aaron Porter


n the July/August issue of fanfare, Capt. Walden briefly mentioned the music program’s impending realignment in his message. This realignment took full effect on Oct. 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2015, and we would like to make you aware of the impact it will have on all Navy bands. Earlier this year, the director, Navy Staff, approved a document outlining the most comprehensive restructuring of the Navy music program in more than 40 years. This plan ensures the long-term viability of the program, more efficiently distributes shrinking budget dollars and preserves superior musical quality, while absorbing an 18% manpower reduction. A Navy-wide mandate in 2012 directed shore establishments to relinquish some billets, or positions, and provide them to sea-going activities. The Navy music program was not immune from this order, and initially recommended eliminating Navy Bands Northwest, Mid-South and Southeast. Another 30 billets were scheduled for elimination in 2013. In the summer of 2013, the secretary of the Navy directed

the chief of naval operations to conduct a thorough review of the music program, and the CNO directed Capt. Walden to provide him with a plan that met this directive while maintaining a superior musical product. One of the SECNAV’s primary concerns was the concentration of musician billets in the Mid-Atlantic region, with the Navy Band and Naval Academy Band, the program’s two premier bands, being separated by about 30 miles. Additionally, a glaring inefficiency came to light in that the program was divided between two chains of command. In 2008, the U.S. Navy Band, formerly under the command of Naval Personnel Command, moved to become its own stand-alone command working for the CNO (known in the Navy as an echelon II command), while the rest of the program remained under NPC. To comply with the CNO’s directive, it was recommended that all fleet and area bands be made field activities under the command of the Navy Band. This move aligns all Navy music assets under one “umbrella” command Continued on page 6

The Navy birthday concert: an insider’s look at the production


by Musician 1st Class Maia Rodriguez

his year’s Navy Birthday concert was held on Oct. 7 at the Music Center at Strathmore. But the concept of this production begins much earlier in the year. Musician 1st Class Amanda Polychronis, the band’s productions director, is the creative force behind it, and she talked me through her process a few days before the show. Finding a starting point: “The concept for the show starts in February,” Polychronis explains, “often with a phone call to the flag aid for the chief of naval operations or the office of the chief of information to find out what the current Navy messaging is.” It’s Polychronis’ job to translate the message into a musical production that resonates with audiences.

The production team puts the final touches on the Navy birthday concert in the Sail Loft. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Musician Stephen Hassay/released)

Building the show: Early in the summer, the productions team meets to write a script, and after command review, it’s sent to CHINFO for approval. Continued on page 6 In an effort to make the


Spent a wonderful, enjoyable evening in Neosho on Sept. 20 listening to Country Current. The music and personalities of the band members was outstanding. Thank you for giving Neosho the opportunity to hear the band and in a small way thank all military personnel for protecting our freedoms. --Sue (Neosho, Missouri)


Performance Schedule

All concerts are FREE and open to the public. Tickets or reservations are not required unless noted (*). Please note that all concert information is accurate at time of publication, though subject to change due to weather and other conditions. For inclement weather announcements, please call 202-433-2525 or visit For the most up-to-date information, please check our online performance calendar at:




Old Presbyterian Meeting House 323 S. Fairfax St. Alexandria, Va.


Stonewall Jackson High School 8820 Rixlew Lane Manassas, Va.



Herndon United Methodist Church 701 Bennett St. Herndon, Va.

CHAMBER GROUPS SUNDAY, NOV. 9, 3 P.M. Faith Lutheran Church 3313 Arlington Blvd. Arlington, Va.

SUNDAY, NOV. 23, 2 P.M. The Athenaeum 201 Prince St. Alexandria, Va.


SATURDAY, NOV. 1, 1 P.M. Maritime Festival U.S. Navy Memorial 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C.

SUNDAY, NOV. 16, 2:30 P.M. Christ Lutheran Church 701 S. Charles St. Baltimore, Md.



SATURDAY, DEC. 6, 7 P.M. River Hill High School 12101 Route 108 Clarksville, Md.


SUNDAY, NOV. 2, 3 P.M.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 3, 12:05 P.M.

Butler Intermediate High School 551 Fairground Hill Road Butler, Pa.


MONDAY, NOV. 3, 7:30 P.M.

The Commodores jazz ensemble departs Oct. 26 for their 2014 fall tour through Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

SUNDAY, OCT. 26, 3 P.M. Rowan University Pfleeger Concert Hall Glassboro, N.J.

MONDAY, OCT. 27, 7 P.M. Scottish Rite Cathedral West Reading, Pa.

TUESDAY, OCT. 28, 7 P.M. Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School Auditorium 1510 North Montgomery St. Hollidaysburg, Pa.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 29, 7 P.M. State College Area High School North Auditorium 653 Westerly Parkway State College, Pa.

THURSDAY, OCT. 30, 7 P.M. Lackawanna College 501 Vine St. Scranton, Pa.

SATURDAY, NOV. 1, 7 P.M. Williamsport Area High School Auditorium 2990 West Fourth St. Williamsport, Pa.

Houghton College Wesley Chapel 1 Willard Avenue Houghton, N.Y.

TUESDAY, NOV. 4, 7:30 P.M. Roberts Wesleyan College Howard Stowe Roberts Cultural Life Center 2301 Westside Drive Rochester, N.Y.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 5, 7 P.M. Auburn Junior High School Auditorium 191 Franklin St. Auburn, N.Y.

THURSDAY, NOV. 6, 7 P.M. Palace Theatre 19 Clinton Ave. Albany, N.Y.

FRIDAY, NOV. 7, 7:30 P.M.

East Ridge Middle School Route 102 and East Ridge Ave. Ridgefield, Conn.

SUNDAY, NOV. 9, 2 P.M.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy Leamy Concert Hall 15 Mohegan Ave. New London, Conn.

MONDAY, NOV. 10, 7 P.M.

Norwalk Concert Hall 125 East Ave., next to City Hall Norwalk, Conn.

After seeing and hearing Country Current in Tulsa last evening, my list of superlatives to describe their presentation, appearance, and musicianship is just too long to write. Keep up the excellent work, fellas! --Dale (Facebook)



TUESDAY, NOV. 11, 7:30 P.M.

Southington High School Auditorium 720 Pleasant St. Southington, Conn.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 12, 7:30 P.M. Tilles Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall 720 Northern Blvd. Greenvale, N.Y.


Lenape High School Auditorium 235 Hartford Road Medford, N.J.

FRIDAY, NOV. 14, 7:30 P.M.

Lower Cape May Regional High School Paul W. Schmidtchen Theatre 687 Route 9 Cape May, N.J.



FRIDAY, JAN. 9, 8 P.M.

John Handley High School Patsy Cline Theater 425 Handley Blvd. Winchester, Va.


FRIDAY, JAN. 23, 7:30 P.M.

North County High School Auditorium 10 East 1st Ave. Ferndale, Md.


Yorktown High School Auditorium 5200 Yorktown Blvd. Arlington, Va.

Friday, jan. 9 and Saturday Jan. 10 at Shenandoah University and the Patsy Cline Theater, both in Winchester, Virginia. visit symposium.shtml for more information.



SATURDAY, JAN. 10, 8 P.M. John Handley High School Patsy Cline Theater 425 Handley Blvd. Winchester, Va.

Welcome aboard to...

Lt. j.g. Christopher Cornette, specialty groups department head; Musician 1st Class Peter Pirotte, trumpet instrumentalist with the Concert/Ceremonial Band; Musician 1st Class Kristine Hsia, vocalist with the Commodores and Musician 1st Class Thomas Eby, trumpet instrumentalist with the Commodores.

Fair winds and following seas to...

Lt. j.g. Gregory Fritz, who transfers to Navy Band Northeast after four years at the Navy Band.

Holiday Concert at DAR Constitution Hall

Saturday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. Capt. Walden and the Navy Band invite you to ring in the season at our annual holiday concerts Saturday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m. Both performances will take place at DAR Constitution Hall, at 1776 D St. NW in Washington, D.C. You can order up to four free e-tickets starting Monday, Nov. 3 at 8 a.m., by visiting This year’s concert combines the musical forces of the Commodores, Country Current, Sea Chanters and the Cruisers for an entertaining and family-friendly show that promises to delight all ages. We’ve heard that there will be a flyover and visit by a familiar guest as well! Please join us as we usher in everyone’s favorite season.


Concert in Memphis was amazing! Thank u for a lovely time… I’m not even American and I got shivers

--Monica (Facebook)


Realignment continued... and means that shrinking budgets can be spent much more efficiently. As one might expect, this move and the cuts to manpower that still had to be made resulted in significant repercussions throughout the program. One was that 16 billets from the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland, had to be redistributed to the fleet, and that the U.S. Navy Band in turn would augment the Naval Academy Band’s core mission: musical support of the Academy’s midshipmen. Another was the disestablishment of two smaller fleet bands, Navy Band Mid-South, located in Millington, Tennessee, and Navy Band New Orleans. The elimination of these two bands means that the remaining stateside bands have to cover much larger areas of responsibility. To help cover those larger areas, some Sailors from Millington and New Orleans were reassigned to Navy Bands Great Lakes, Southwest and Southeast. On a positive note, for

the first time in program history, fleet bands have received a significant increase in mission funding for travel in their areas, meaning they can now perform at more large-scale, high-impact events and plan their travel expenses much more efficiently. This restructuring represents the largest change in the Navy music program in 40 years, and truly opens a new chapter in the program’s history. Though many difficult decisions had to be made, ultimately the program is now in a much better position to serve the public and the Navy more efficiently. Our goal through this process has always been to improve our product without compromising musical quality, and we feel that all Navy bands are in a much better position to do that with this realignment. As always, we look forward to seeing you at a concert, whether it’s in Washington, or anywhere a Navy band is performing throughout the world. ff

Production continued... Navy messaging more meaningful to our audiences, Polychronis and the team decided to focus on Navy communities: Navy divers, Navy on and under the sea, the achievements of women in the Navy and America’s efforts in space. “It’s important for people to know that the Navy has more astronauts than any other service,” she says. “And of course we always celebrate what’s going on under the sea. For instance, I go to the Navy’s website and pull wording about the submarine community. I ask myself how The final product: The U.S. Navy Band performs during an eveing concert at the Strathmore Music Center for the U.S. can I make this interesting to the Navy Birthday Concert. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class David Aspinwall/released) audience and yet make it work for Navy leadership. Heritage, of Navy divers. “I wanted this feeling of being community, and mission. That’s what it’s all about.” underwater. I agonized over the piece, and I actually As an example of mixing the Navy’s message think it turned out pretty good.” with the music and narration, Polychronis chose By August, arrangers Senior Chief Musician Scott Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” sung by Musician Silbert and Musicians 1st 1st Class Mike Webb and backed by video footage Class Tim Hill and Chris Continued on page 8


@usnavyband Sea Chanters at the Steelers game just sang one of the BEST renditions of our National Anthem that I have EVER heard! @RoryGentry (Twitter)


Spotlight on... Lt. j.g. Gregory Fritz by Chief Musician Cynthia Wolverton

After spending 12 years as an enlisted musician, Lt. j.g. Gregory Fritz felt he could best serve the Navy and Navy music as an officer, and we have been fortunate to have him aboard here at the Navy Band for almost four years. He currently serves as specialty groups department head, safety officer, and associate conductor. Fritz will soon be moving on to his next duty assignment as the leader of Navy Band Northeast. Tell us a little about your musical background. I’m a drummer! My father played drums, so there was always a drum set around the house. I started taking lessons from a nun at our church when I was in first grade. That didn’t last very long, as I couldn’t grasp 16th notes and Sister Frances Jean was at her wits’ end! I resumed lessons a couple of years later and continued through high school. During my junior year I began studying at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music preparatory department. At that point I joined the high school band. Previously I had only played in garage bands. During my collegiate studies at the University of Akron I began playing steel drums. After graduation I taught high school band in Massillon, Ohio, and played steel drums on the side. During my third year of teaching I discovered that the Navy had a steel drum band stationed in New Orleans. Playing steel drums full time sounded pretty great, and it just so happened they had an opening. You currently serve as specialty groups department head, safety officer and associate conductor. Tell us a little about each of these roles. My primary responsibility as department head is making sure each of our units has everything it needs to successfully accomplish their mission. This includes everything from instruments, gear and transportation to ensuring personnel are granted leave. As safety officer I am tasked with providing a safe work environment, reporting mishaps and providing safety training to all hands. An associate

conductor at the Navy Band handles a variety of responsibilities. Conducting assignments include fullhonors funerals, arrival ceremonies for foreign naval leaders, changeof-command ceremonies, retirement ceremonies for flag officers, and public concerts. Of course the Lt. j.g. Gregory Fritz most musically challenging are the public concerts with the Concert Band. It has been an amazing experience being in front of such talented musicians! Share a few highlights from your Navy career. Some memorable performances include Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, the 60th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, and the Estonian Military Tattoo. I have even performed in a bullfighting ring in Southern France during their annual festival “Feria de Dax.” (The bullfight had already taken place!) The Navy has taken me to Turkey, Tunisia, Cuba, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Iceland, Spain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, England, Ireland and Greece. Of course, conducting full-honors funerals at Arlington National Cemetery and wreath-laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknowns are always meaningful occasions for me. Participating in the presidential inaugural parade was pretty incredible as well! What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? When I’m not at work my wife and I seem to spend most of our time driving our three sons to their extracurricular activities! Besides spending time with my family, I enjoy bow hunting, motorcycle riding, and eating great food! ff


Wow, @usnavyband #SeaChanters did the Star-Spangled Banner right at Ravens/Steelers game! More pro sports teams should follow suit! @PRHSChoir (Twitter)




of the navy




Production continued... Buchanan have arranged and distributed the music to each unit. Soon the Sail Loft is set up and rehearsals begin in September. The week and day of the show “I can definitely breathe easier at this point because all the pieces have come together,” says Polychronis. “So now it’s just about making sure everything can happen operationally.” She is assisted by Musician 1st Class Jennifer Stothoff, whose work allows Polychronis to focus on what she needs to do onstage. The “load in” is a formidable task, completed the day before the concert. The audio-visual team sets up their equipment in the morning, and then Polychronis


Contact Information: Public Affairs Office The United States Navy Band 617 Warrington Ave. SE Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5054 202-433-3366

oversees the lighting installation in the afternoon. On the day of the concert, there are lighting, video and sound checks in the morning. When the musicians arrive in the afternoon, there is a technical run through, a full dress rehearsal, a break for dinner and then the show. There is no question that the Navy Birthday is the fall highlight for the band, and it’s astonishing how many pieces of the puzzle need to come together to pull it off. But in the end, months of hard work result in a successful concert celebrating our Navy, our Sailors and their mission around the world. ff

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Fanfare (November/December 2014)  

Realignment of Navy music; A look inside Navy Band productions; Spotlight on Lt. j.g. Greg Fritz

Fanfare (November/December 2014)  

Realignment of Navy music; A look inside Navy Band productions; Spotlight on Lt. j.g. Greg Fritz