March/April 2017 w Volume 38 Number 2
Navy Band Womenâ€™s History Young Artist Competition Concert Band and Sea Chanters tours Spotlight on MU1 Tina Catalanotto
A Message from the Commanding Officer
fanfare Volume 38 Number 2 Commanding Officer
Capt. Kenneth C. Collins Public Affairs Officer CHIEF MUSICIAN
Adam K. Grimm
Editorial Staff SENIOR CHIEF MUSICIAN
Melissa D. Bishop MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
Photographers SENIOR CHIEF MUSICIAN
Stephen W. Hassay CHIEF MUSICIAN
Brian P. Bowman MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
David B. Aspinwall
Sarah F. Blecker
MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
Layout and Design SENIOR CHIEF MUSICIAN
MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
Stephen W. Hassay MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
Adrienne W. Moore
Jon C. Barnes
t’s only March, and this year has already been full of exciting events here at the Navy Band. In January we hosted the 39th International Saxophone Symposium, which included more than 120 lectures, masterclasses, recitals and concerts throughout the two-day event. We also participated in the 58th Presidential Inauguration, performing for multiple events, including the inaugural parade, a candlelight dinner, one of the balls and the national prayer service. It was an honor to represent more than 320,000 Sailors while supporting the peaceful transition of power. This edition of fanfare is packed with great articles and information. March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate, the issue features an article chronicling the history of women in the Navy Band. We take a look ahead at our annual Young Artist Solo Competition and shine the Spotlight on Musician 1st Class Tina Catalanotto, drummer and musical director for Country Current. With the advent of a new year, it is also time to prepare for our annual spring tours by the Concert Band and Sea Chanters, which start a little later than usual this year. The Concert Band begins their tour March 13 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before continuing their travels through the upper Midwest, making stops in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. The Sea Chanters begin their tour April 18 in Morgantown, West Virginia, traveling through Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska before finishing May 7 in Laramie, Wyoming. More details can be found on page four. Should you live near any of our tour stops, please stop by and see us; we’d love the opportunity to say hello. We thank you for your continued support of the Navy Band.
Lauren R. Cook
MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
Adele B. Demi
MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
Brittany L. Foster
MUSICIAN 1ST CLASS
David A. Smith
fanfare is a bi-monthly magazine published by the U.S. Navy Band public affairs staff.
Kenneth C. Collins, Captain, USN Commanding Officer
Front Cover: Musician 1st Class Adele B. Demi, a drum major for the Navy Band, salutes a fallen shipmate in Arlington National Cemetery. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class David Aspinwall/released)
We had an absolute wonderful experience listening to the Country Current last evening at Washington College. They were great!!! We loved the song selections and totally enjoyed the professionalism of the group. Yet, they were very engaging with the audience; friendly and personable. Of course, the military aspect of the show was outstanding. It surely made us proud to be Americans and proud of our military personnel - past and present. – M., Chestertown, Md.
Simply put, we proved ourselves: First women in the U.S. Navy Band by Senior Chief Musician Melissa Bishop
Evangeline Bailey Taylor
Heidi Hunter Kammer
n 1972, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, then chief of naval operations, signed a directive that authorized limited entry of women to all Navy ratings, thus creating the opportunity for women to join the Navy Band. Although a WAVE named Marie McLean Townsend had served as the Navy Band’s first female musician while assigned here as a yeoman from 1943-1949, the rating of musician was not held by a woman until 1972. A Navy Band public affairs press release from that year reads: “The Navy Band has been searching for a qualified female vocalist for some time, and surprisingly enough, after searching the entire country around, found her right at our own front door at Bethesda. With the hiring of Evangeline, the Navy Band hopes to open up Navy Music to many more talented women. Evangeline is just one more example of the forward-moving, now-thinking NEW NAVY.” Evangeline Bailey, now Taylor, who had been studying music and working as a church musician,
Tensel Parker Leach
joined the Navy in 1972 to become a dental technician. While at basic training in Bainbridge, Maryland, she was often given the opportunity to sing the national anthem and other patriotic music at ceremonies and graduations, impressing the officer in charge, who happened to be a friend of Lt. Cmdr. Allen Beck, then the Navy Band’s assistant leader. She was sent to Great Lakes, Illinois, for hospital corps school and then to her first assignment at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. It was from there in September 1972 that she was invited to come hear the Navy Band both in rehearsal and in concert. Impressed, she auditioned and was hired on the spot. Initially, she performed with the Navy Band’s Port Authority rock band. They left for tour two weeks after she joined the group, to help calm some of the racial unrest at naval bases in Scotland, Italy, Greece, Continued on page 4 Rome and Sicily. She recalls, “The early years were magical.
To state that CC consists of superb musicians is an understatement. They certainly provide an entertaining show and obviously enjoy what they do. In a significant and respectful way, they also remind listeners of the importance of US armed services-- individuals who sacrifice for the safety of us all. – Dave, Oakton, Va.
First women in the U.S. Navy Band cont’d
Hall in Washington, D.C. When the hall balked at her singing there because she was African-American, the band refused to perform. “I was so proud to be a member that day.” Other memorable highlights include singing the national anthem for the Navy Band’s performance at the Texas Music Educators Association convention and for the World Series at Yankee Stadium. Taylor served in the Navy Band for 11 years before switching over to the U.S. Army Band, where she served for 12 years and retired as a master sergeant. In December 1972, the U.S. Naval Academy Band hired its first woman, a singer named Heidi Hunter, now Musician 1st Class (now Chief Musician) Casey Campbell, musical director of the Sea Chanters Kammer. By the spring of 1973, she ‘Old timers’ like Jerry Wallace and Dick Bain, men I had transferred to the U.S. Navy Band greatly admired and respected, guided me and taught where she joined two other women (Karla Harris me what it meant to be a professional musician and and Gayle Baker) in the newly formed Aquarians, a Sailor.” She also acknowledges the challenges, saying, singing and dancing group, complete with red, white “It was not easy being the only woman. There were and blue outfits. Later, Kammer went on to sing with those who were very protective, but there were others the Concert Band as a classical vocalist, performing on who…were very disrespectful and were sometimes nine national tours, using her talents in productions on mean-spirited….This was a time when there were very a collateral basis, and then becoming full-time public few guidelines for…what was or was not appropriate affairs staff in 1979. She recalls that the locker room behavior. So, I had to develop a thick skin, and tune out as much as I could.” Bailey went on to perform with the Concert Band, the Commodores, and even made a few appearances with Country Current and the Sea Chanters. “When women came to the Navy Band it became a kinder, gentler organization. Those [women], who were hired with equivalent skill on their instruments as the men, were respected and held in high regard.” Taylor says, “Since the band has such a public face it is important that it be representative of all the people of this great country.” Early in her career with the band, she was supposed to solo with the Concert Band in a performance at DAR Constitution Chief Musician Shana Sullivan, vocalist with the Cruisers
I wanted to say Thank You to the Commodores for a wonderful performance last night! Our family truly enjoyed the show. The featured vocalist was phenomenal! Her voice was crystal clear, and her rendition of the National Anthem was spot on! The musical talent exhibited by each performer radiated throughout the entire performance. This is definitely a show NOT to miss! – Carla, Indian Head, Md.
expansion necessary to accommodate the addition of several women in late 1973 involved the newcomers helping to paint the room. She says, “Women have definitely impacted the band in a very positive way - both in talent and mere presence.” Adding women to the organization gave “those women looking to share their music abilities, leadership and versatility a greater incentive to join the Navy and serve their country.” Kammer served in the Navy Band for 23 years and retired as a chief musician. Another of the Navy Band’s first women was Tensel Parker, now Leach. She was only 19 years old when she joined the Navy Band’s new country music group, Country Current. She went to Oklahoma City for her first gig with the group on July 4, 1973. Before joining the band, she had been studying vocal music with an emphasis in opera, and a background in gospel and country music. Leach says, “Although it was exciting to join Country Current in those early days of the group, it was tough being the only female. The difficulty wasn’t with the men, but with their wives,” who didn’t know what to make of the teenager. “I loved serving my country. We made an impression wherever we performed, and there was this awareness of instilling pride in the
Musician 1st Class Kristine Hsia, vocalist with the Commodores
country. We were able to help with recruiting efforts during that difficult period at the end of the Vietnam War. I loved being part of the new Navy.” Leach also recalls the support and guidance she received from the other members of Country Current, something for which she was extremely grateful. Other women who were hired during this time include Rose Lewis in Port Authority, Karla Harris in the Commodores, Lyn Sylfest in the Aquarians and Charnissa Butts in the Commodores. The first woman hired as an instrumentalist in the Navy Band was flutist Nancy Stanly, who came on board in 1974. Right after her audition, the man she was replacing advised her not to take the job. Fortunately, she did not take his advice. Since her husband had also just been hired, she feels she had some protection from any resentment there might have been at her arrival. She did feel welcomed and respected by her male sectionmates who always stood up for her before concerts when she came out to take her place on stage. She was also aware that her co-workers cleaned up their language when she was around. Separate accommodations now had to be made for housing
Lt.j.g. (now Lt.) Luslaida Barbosa, Concert/Ceremonial department head and assistant conductor
Continued on page 8
Bravo! Just saw you pass in review: outstanding sound and looked great! Makes an old sailor very proud...
- Karl, on Facebook
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 www.twitter.com/usnavyband. For the most up-to-date information, please check our online performance calendar at: www.navyband.navy.mil
SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 12:30 P.M.
SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 1 P.M.
Frederick Community College 7932 Opossumtown Pike Frederick, Md.
CEREMONIAL BAND St. Patrick’s Day Parade Old Town Alexandria, Va.
FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 7 P.M. Mountain View High School 2135 Mountain View Road Stafford, Va.
CEREMONIAL BAND Blessing of the Fleets U.S. Navy Memorial 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C.
SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 1 P.M. Anacostia River Festival Good Hope Road and Anacostia Drive SE Washington, D.C.
FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 7:30 P.M.
WOODWIND QUINTET SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2 P.M. Montclair Community Library 5049 Waterway Drive Montclair, Va.
NATIONAL CONCERT TOURS THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 11 A.M. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 7 P.M. CONCERT BAND Toledo Museum of Art Marcus Center for the Performing Arts The Concert Band embarks on a 25day tour starting March 13. All dates, times and locations are subject to change.
MONDAY, MARCH 13, 7 P.M.
Soldier and Sailors Memorial Hall 4141 Fifth Ave. Pittsburgh, Pa.
TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 7 P.M. Stambaugh Auditorium 1000 Fifth Ave. Youngstown, Ohio
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 7 P.M. Akron Civic Theatre 182 S. Main St. Akron, Ohio
2445 Monroe St. Toledo, Ohio
929 N. Water St. Milwaukee, Wis.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 7 P.M.
THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 7 P.M.
SATURDAY, MARCH 18 7 P.M.
FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 7 P.M.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 3 P.M
SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 7:30 P.M.
MONDAY, MARCH 20, 7 P.M.
SUNDAY, MARCH 26, 3 P.M.
Pioneer High School 601 W. Stadium Blvd. Ann Arbor, Mich. Frauenthal Theatre 425 W. Western Ave. Muskegon, Mich.
Warsaw Community High School 1 Tiger Lane Warsaw, Ind. West Leyden High School 1000 N. Wolf Road North Lake, Ill.
CONCERT BAND AT SAXOPHONE SYMPOSIUM
Indian Trail High School 6800 60th St. Kenosha, Wis.
Sun Prairie Performing Arts Center 888 Grove St. Sun Prairie, Wis. State Theatre 316 Eau Claire St. Eau Claire, Wis.
Bethel University 3900 Bethel Drive St. Paul, Minn.
The performance by the concert band was of course superb as always on January 7th…Thank you for your outstanding band and look forward to your next performance. – David , on Facebook
MONDAY, MARCH 27, 7 P.M. College of St. Benedict/St. John’s 37 S. College Ave. St. Joseph, Minn.
TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 7 P.M. Civic Arena 200 Ninth St. NE Watertown, S.D.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 7:30 P.M. Morningside College 1501 Morningside Ave. Sioux City, Iowa
THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 7:30 P.M. C.Y. Stephens Auditorium Iowa State University 1900 Center Drive Ames, Iowa
FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 7 P.M.
Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School 2001 Radford Road Dubuque, Iowa
SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2 P.M. Augustana College 3703 Seventh Ave. Rock Island, Ill.
MONDAY, APRIL 3, 7:30 P.M.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts University of Illinois 500 S. Goodwin Ave. Urbana, Ill.
TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 7 P.M. Pike High School 6701 Zionsville Road Indianapolis, Ind.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 7 P.M. Pickerington North High School 7800 Refugee Road Pickerington, Ohio
THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 7:30 P.M. Templeton Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium Ohio University 47 E. Union St. Athens, Ohio
The Sea Chanters embark on a 20-day tour starting April 18. All dates, times and locations are subject to change.
TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 7 P.M. The Metropolitan Theatre 373 High St. Morgantown, W.Va.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 7:30 P.M. EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall University of Akron 190 Hill St. Akron, Ohio
THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 7 P.M. St. Ignatius High School 2008 W. 30th St. Cleveland, Ohio
FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 7:30 P.M. Archer Auditorium 1440 King Road Ashland, Ohio
SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 7:30 P.M.
Swartz Creek Performing Arts Center 8427 Miller Road Swartz Creek, Mich.
SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 3 P.M.
Riverside Brookfield High School 160 Ridgewood Road Riverside, Ill.
TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 7 P.M. Lake Geneva Middle School 600 N. Bloomfield Road Lake Geneva, Wis.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 7 P.M. East High School 2929 Charles St. Rockford, Ill.
THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 7 P.M. Bettendorf High School 3333 18th St. Davenport, Iowa
FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 7 P.M. Independence High School 700 20th Ave. SW Independence, Iowa
SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 7 P.M.
Theodore Roosevelt High School 4419 Center St. Des Moines, Iowa
SUNDAY, APRIL 30, 7 P.M.
Iowa Central Community College 1 Triton Circle Fort Dodge, Iowa
MONDAY, MAY 1, 7 P.M.
Glenwood Community High School 504 E. Sharp St. Glenwood, Iowa
TUESDAY, MAY 2, 7:30 P.M.
Holland Performing Arts Center 1200 Douglas St. Omaha, Neb.
THURSDAY, MAY 4, 7 P.M.
Lincoln Southwest High School 7001 S. 14th St. Lincoln, Neb.
FRIDAY, MAY 5, 7 P.M. North Platte High School 1220 W. Second St. North Platte, Neb.
SATURDAY, MAY 6, 7 P.M. Midwest Theater 1707 Broadway Scottsbluff, Neb.
SUNDAY, MAY 7, 7:30 P.M. University of Wyoming 1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, Wyo.
SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 1 P.M.
Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church 511 Groveland Ave. Minneapolis, Minn.
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy the performance videos that are on-line. I find myself listening to [them] over and over again…Thank you so much for the all the wonderful talent you share with us. I love great music…always have and always will. Please keep the videos coming. – Gary
First women in the U.S. Navy Band cont’d women whenever the band traveled. Stanly recalls a trip to Bermuda in 1975 when she stayed in the chiefs’ quarters while the men stayed in enlisted barracks. For the Bicentennial celebrations in New York on July 4, 1976, she and her roommate stayed in quarters on the Brooklyn Navy Yard while the men of the Navy Band slept in hammocks on a ship in New York harbor. She also remembers driving to Richmond with Kammer to have concert dress uniforms made for them, noting that their uniforms were more expensive than the men’s. She says, “The band could do so many more special performances and productions with the advent of women, especially after the Sea Chanters went co-ed….We all worked together to make the band a better place to work.” Stanly went on to become the band’s head librarian and retired as a senior chief after serving for 26 years. In 1977, Gail Ascione became the first female clarinetist in the Navy Band. She remembers her first day in the band when one of the senior members of the band said, “Just what we need—another woman!” She vowed to herself to make sure no one was ever treated the way she was when she first arrived. Ascione tells a story of a tour concert in 1979 when the band arrived on site to find that the sponsor had not thought to provide a separate dressing room for the women. None of the restrooms were unlocked, so they took turns changing in a tiny janitor’s closet full of
Musician 1st Class Eileen Bedlington, trumpeter with the Concert/Ceremonial Band
mops and buckets with a dim lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. None of them had much time to warm up for the concert! Ascione was appointed as the first womens’ enlisted representative, and later served as the band’s first female unit leader (of the Concert Band) and the first female chief in charge (of the Concert/Ceremonial department). She says, “I had the support of many talented and dedicated senior enlisted people….Senior leadership at the time was a real team effort.” She went on to become the first female master chief in the entire Navy music program. Ascione recalls, “There was definitely harassment and discrimination during the first Chief Musician Jennifer Krupa, trombonist with the Commodores years that I was in the band.” To
U.S. NAVY BAND
Wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thanks for such a great concert…The musicians, singers, and conductor were fantastic!! The clips of sailors and family members were a very nice touch. My daughter and I were very moved. – Gaye, Washington, D.C.
get by, she says, “I rolled with the punches and dealt with whatever came my way. I didn’t complain, but I definitely stood up for myself when I thought something was unfair. Over time, things improved.” She goes on, “I insisted on being heard and given the same consideration as any other person in department head/senior meetings.…My goal was for women to be treated the same as the men and to be judged on their professional merits, rather than their sex.” Ascione retired after a 22-year career in the band. She says, “I worked hard because I loved what I was doing.” The Sea Chanters, which had been an all-male chorus since its formation in 1956, added women in 1980. The first woman in the group was Deborah Greenawald, followed the next year by Janet Marney, Therese Jenkins Butkiewicz, Karen Leigh Campbell, Heidi Oleyar McGeorge, Jeanette LaVoy, Gretchen Lux Ellrod and Alison Turk Gingerich. The addition of women allowed the group to expand its musical offerings dramatically to include Broadway and other popular musical genres, as well as classical repertoire. French horn player Diana Ogilvie was hired in 1981 and found more than a handful of women already in place who were welcoming and happy to help her navigate her early days in the band. “It was nice to belong to this group of accomplished, intelligent women,” she says. “I was lucky to follow those trailblazers who made the way smoother for the rest of us.” Ogilvie became the band’s first female senior enlisted leader, and retired as a master chief after a 28year career. Of the impact the first women had on the history of the band, she says, “Encouraging diversity in a group makes it stronger, richer, more capable and more resilient. Women brought a gentler touch and a different perspective to the once all-male group.” Retired Lt. Cmdr. Lorelei Conrad has the distinction of being the Navy Band’s first female officer. During her time at the Navy Band from 1994-97, she served as operations officer and acting assistant officer in charge. Throughout the 12 years she served as an officer in the Navy music program, she was the only woman doing so, although at present there are four female officers in Navy music. When she was being considered for the officer program, one of the concerns was how her husband would get along with the officers’ wives. About her appointment to the Navy Band, one senior officer dryly said, “Well, I guess there’s no law against it.” Despite the gruff welcome, Conrad adored her time at the band and was grateful for the opportunity.
Highlights for her included marching in the inaugural parade, conducting the band for the White House garden tours, and working with the band’s gifted soloists. Almost all of the women interviewed mention the challenges of getting along with their male colleagues’ wives early on, having to have uniforms speciallymade for them (particularly maternity uniforms), and keeping up with the band’s schedule while raising children. While the challenge of balancing the needs of a family with the demands of the job still exists, that is true for both men and women in the band. Maternity leave was once only four weeks; it is now a generous 12 weeks, and men get two weeks of paternity leave. Women can be found performing in every ensemble in the Navy Band and the 45 women on board make up more than 25% of the band’s personnel, including five senior chiefs, fifteen chiefs and one officer. In the words of retired Master Chief Diana Ogilvie, “It was gratifying to know that our efforts while representing the United States Navy and the nation were appreciated by the audiences for whom we played.” ff
Chief Musician Emily Dickson, harpist with the Concert Band
I really enjoyed the performance of the Commodores. The arrangements and performers are at a very high professional level. The playlist had an excellent mix. But, beyond the music, and maybe most important, was the interaction between the band and the audience. The personnel brought a warmth and friendliness to the audience. You really made us like you. – Joseph, Henderson, Nev.
2017 Young Artist Competition by Musician 1st Class Josh Arvizu
n its 16th year, the United States Navy Band’s High School Young Artist Solo Competition is in full swing. Out of a pool of applicants from around the country, our panel of judges narrowed our preliminary round to six finalists. These finalists auditioned live at the Historic Sail Loft in Washington, D.C., on February 25, 2017. The winner will perform in-concert on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to the performance opportunity, the winner will also receive the Ambassador Middendorf Young Artist Award of $1,000. The second and third prize awards of $250 and $150 have been generously donated by the National Capital Council of the Navy League of the United States. We are also happy to invite all six finalists to perform side-by-side with members of the Concert Band on a piece at the performance. Encouraging young musicians is a top priority of the band and we are pleased to offer this national competition for them! ff
2016 Young Artist Competition winner, flutist Yaema Ho, performs with the U.S. Navy Band on April 27, 2016, at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria, Va. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class Jonathan Barnes/released)
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Chief Musician John Schroeder
Congratulations to... Musician 1st Class Darrell Fitzpartin for receiving the Colonel Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award for 2016.
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal Musician 1st Class Patrick Gulley Musician 1st Class Kyle Huron Musician 1st Class Shawn Purcell Musician 1st Class Danny Stewart
Welcome aboard to... Cruisers saxophonist Musician 1st Class Manuel Pelayo, who comes to the Navy Band from the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band; Concert Band clarinetist Musician 1st Class Amanda Eich; and Sea Chanters soprano vocalist Musician 1st Class Amy Broadbent.
Senior Enlisted of the Quarter October-December 2016 Chief Musician Tony Halloin
Sailor of the Quarter October-December 2016 Musician 1st Class Eric Brown
Congratulations on a very fine performance. To do something at studio recording level at such live circumstances is quite remarkable…You all made us very proud. Thank you so much. God bless you all as you continue to serve our country through music. – Stan, Washington, D.C.
Spotlight on... Musician 1st Class Tina Catalanotto by Musician 1st Class Sarah Blecker
Musician 1st Class Tina Catalanotto is the drummer with Country Current. In addition, she is musical director of the group. She reported on board in 2007. Tell us about your musical background. What made you decide to pursue percussion? I believe my love for the drums started when I first heard the marching bands pass by during Mardi Gras parades. I would get so excited, especially when the loud drums passed by. I grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, and started playing the drums in fifth grade. I think my parents were a little surprised that I picked drums over the flute, but they were very supportive. I started taking private lessons a year later, studying with a local drummer, Rory Faciane. Thankfully, he gave me such a solid musical foundation to add to in the years to come. While in high school I studied privately with two great percussionists, Scott Higgins and Christopher Deviney, both of whom are former members of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. I was also very fortunate as a high schooler to study for four years with John Wooton, the director of percussion studies at the University of Southern Mississippi. My first gig was with a Dixieland band made up of myself and a group of high school friends. We performed on a Sunday afternoon at a Maxwell’s Café in the French Quarter. I can remember our parents being the only people in the audience, but it was still a gig! After high school I attended the University of Southern Mississippi to continue studying with Wooton, and after two years I transferred to the University of New Orleans. At UNO I had the opportunity to study with three top drummers in the country, John Vidacovich, Ricky Sebastian and Jason Marsalis. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in jazz studies at UNO and graduated in 2002.
After college I played professionally in New Orleans, Atlanta and central Florida for four years. I played in all types of bands, jazz combos, big bands, Cajun and zydeco bands, praise bands and even worked as a pit musician for musicals Musician 1st Class Tina Catalanotto and orchestral productions. While playing a jazz combo gig in 2006, I met a former Navy Band musician, Robert “Rabbit” Simmons, who highly recommended the Navy Band’s program. So I looked into what the military had to offer young musicians and discovered there was an opening for a drummer in Country Current. I flew up to Washington, D.C., for an audition in September 2006 and reported to the Navy Band in January 2007. What are some highlights of your Navy career thus far? There are so many great moments and opportunities in this job! Some of highlights that first come to mind are performing in the Louisiana Super Dome during the halftime show for the New Orleans Saints, performing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and marching in President Obama’s first inaugural parade. But one of my very favorite things that Country Current gets to do is our “Music In the Schools” program. What does your job as Country Current’s music director entail? As music director I am responsible for the overall musical product that we provide to the public. It starts with directing rehearsals and working on building our repertoire. I program every performance with the goal of providing musical selections that are pleasing to an Continued on page 12 audience of varied musical
Tonight’s performance…was awesome! The quality, variety, and professionalism was very impressive. Thank you for performing at our small venue. You make me proud to serve the U.S. Navy (25 years as a federal employee). All the Navy bands that have performed at St Charles and La Plata have been terrific ambassadors for the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Country. Thanks again! – John, St. Charles, Md.
of the navy
THE UNITED STATES NAVY BAND 617 WARRINGTON AVE SE WASHINGTON NAVY YARD DC 20374-5054
PRESORTED FIRST-CLASS MAIL U.S. POSTAGE PAID Washington DC Permit No 6184 DATED MATERIAL RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
Spotlight, contâ€™d tastes. Country Current performs music from the classic country era to modern day country and everything in between, while trying to showcase the instrumentation in our band. It can be challenging at times but it is also a rewarding job.
Contact Information: Public Affairs Office The United States Navy Band 617 Warrington Ave. SE Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5054 202-433-4777 (office) 202-433-3366 (information)
What do you like to do when you are not at work? When I am not at work I am a mom. I love spending time with my husband and kids. Any other free moments will go directly to gardening! ff
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Published on Mar 3, 2017
Published on Mar 3, 2017
A Message from the Commanding Officer; First Women in the U.S. Navy Band; National Tours; 2017 Young Artist Competition; Spotlight on Musici...