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May/June 2015 w Volume 36 Number 3

Summer Concert schedule Band member wins photo award Spotlight on MU1 Brandon Almagro

A Message from the Commanding Officer


congratulate Morgan Short, the winner of our 2015 High School Concerto Competition. All of the finalists are great musicians and fantastic young people. Music gives us an opportunity to work with students of all ages, all around the country, to instill a culture of hard work, excellence and service. Meeting and working with someone as dedicated and talented as Morgan was a real treat. Warm weather is right around the corner! Every summer since 1922, we have been performing on Monday evenings at 8 p.m. at the U.S. Capitol, and this year will be no different. Tuesdays will find us at the U.S. Navy Memorial in our regular 7:30 p.m. time slot, and our popular Concerts on the Avenue series returns on select Tuesday evenings. All of our groups will be at venues across the Washington area, so make sure to check our performance schedule in this issue or online to see when we’ll be in your neighborhood.

In April, two of our Sailors directed a base-wide blood drive and bone marrow donor registry drive. Congratulations to Chief Musician Chris Bayes and Musician 1st Class Jenny Stokes for taking charge and organizing these events. Every day, our folks are out in the community, volunteering their time and skills. It says a lot about the character of these individuals, and the quality of all of our Sailors in the Navy. Finally, welcome aboard to Cmdr. Ken Collins, our new executive officer. Ken comes to us from Fleet Band Activities, where he spent several successful years as director. He’s excelled everywhere he’s served, and I’m looking forward to working with him here in Washington.

fanfare Volume 36 Number 3

Commanding Officer/Leader

Brian O. Walden, Captain, USN 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

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: Two young patrons enjoy listening to Musician 1st Class Sarah Tietsort sing “Let it Go” from the movie sound track “Frozen” at the U.S. Navy Memorial during a free summer “Concert on the Avenue” performance by the Navy Band. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Musician Stephen Hassay/Released)



I thoroughly enjoyed the performance given by the Commodores. The overall musicianship, balance blend, variety, and showmanship is incredible. I am really glad that the group is doing performances in the local area schools giving students exposure. I’m sure the students at Colonial Forge learned a lot and were excited to be a part of the show as openers. Thanks a million for coming to Stafford! -Sorrell (Stafford, Virginia)

Navy recognizes band member with photo award by Master Chief Musician Aaron Porter


anfare subscribers will remember the March/April 2014 issue’s main story and cover photo profiling Chief Musician Christian Johanson’s project to photograph the Ceremonial Band in tough weather conditions. As Johanson said at the time, “I wanted to photograph the band during bad weather primarily to show people what type of conditions the Ceremonial Band performs in regularly. Unlike concerts and other ceremonies that are canceled or moved indoors in case of inclement weather, funerals happen no matter what type of weather occurs. Participating in funeral services is one of the primary missions of the band, and not many people ever get to wit-

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Members of the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard and The United States Navy Ceremonial Band march along a funeral route as they participate in a full honors funeral during the Jan. 21 snowfall at Arlington National Cemetery. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Musician Christian Johanson/Released)

Harpist wins Navy Band concerto competition! by Master Chief Musician Aaron Porter


he winner of the Navy Band’s 2015 concerto competition is Morgan Mackenzie Short, a 17-year-old harpist from Virginia. Since age 10, Short’s summers have been spent attending harp camps and festivals like the American Harp Institute, Young Artist’s Harp Seminar, Saratoga Harp Colony and Masterworks Festival. She has participated in masterclasses from notable harpists such as Elizabeth Hainen, Marissa Robles, Maria Luisa Rayan-Forero, Judy Loman, Joan Holland, Mieko Inoue, Julie Ann Smith and Lynne Aspnes. As a result, Short became interested in competing. Since 2012, Short has entered 25 competitions and has been awarded 18 prizes. Competitions were for solo pieces, orchestral, chamber and, most recently, concertos. She has traveled to Szeged, Hungary, and Caernarfon, Wales, in the last year and has

enjoyed presenting her works at the Mora Ferenc Museum and the Galeri Caernarfon. She appeared on Hungarian Duna TV in a documentary about the Third International Harp Competition of Szeged. Currently, Short is the principal harpist of the Roanoke Youth Symphony, a position which she has held since 2011. This spring, Short will perform Handel’s Concerto in B Flat with the Roanoke Symphony. The band’s concerto competition committee starts their process every year in the fall with a nationwide request for applications from high school musicians. This year we received 23 submissions. In February, six finalists were announced and invited to audition for the committee in the Sail Loft, the band’s rehearsal space at the Washington Continued on page 6 Navy Yard. From those


I am a student at Palmetto Scholars Academy and I just want to say amazing job playing you all rocked. It was truly the best concert I have ever been to ever. -Lexie (North Charleston, South Carolina)


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:




FRIDAY, MAY 8, 7:30 P.M.

Apple Blossom Festival Winchester, Va.

National Harbor 165 Waterfront St. National Harbor, Md.

CONCERT BAND Westlake High School 3300 Middletown Road Waldorf, Md.



SUNDAY, MAY 17, 4 P.M.

Promenade at Virginia Gateway 14030 Promenade Commons St. Gainesville, Va.


WEDNESDAY, JUN. 24, 6:15 P.M. Hagerstown Community College 11400 Robinwood Drive Hagerstown, Md.

Chattanooga Parade 6th and Market streets Chattanooga, Tenn.

SATURDAY, MAY 23, 7:30 P.M.



Leesylvania State Park 2001 Daniel Ludwig Drive Woodbridge, Va.

National Memorial Day Concert U.S. Capitol (West Lawn) Washington, D.C.

SUNDAY, JUN. 14, 6 P.M.


SUNDAY, MAY 24, 8 P.M.


FRIDAY, MAY 29, 6:30 P.M. Vienna Town Green Vienna, Va.


THURSDAY, MAY 21, 7 P.M. O’Donnell Wharf Lake 10400 O’Donnell Place Waldorf, Md.

SUNDAY, MAY 24, 8 P.M.

Fairfax Corner Plaza 11901 Grand Commons Ave. Fairfax, Va.

SUNDAY, MAY 31, 7 P.M. Allen Pond Park 3330 Northview Drive Bowie, Md.

Bethany Beach Bandstand Bethany Beach, Del.

CEREMONIAL BAND Ft. McHenry Tattoo 2400 E Fort Ave. Baltimore, Md.



SATURDAY, JUN. 13, 7:30 P.M. Arrowbrook Centre Park 2351 Field Point Road Herndon, Va.

SUNDAY, JUN. 14, 6 P.M.


FRIDAY, JUN. 19, 7 P.M.

SUNDAY, JUN. 21, 6:30 P.M.

Montgomery Village 10120 Apple Ridge Road Montgomery Village, Md. La Plata Town Hall 305 Queen Anne St. La Plata, Md.

SUNDAY, JUN. 21, 6 P.M.

Belmont Bay Marina Pavilion 570 Harborside St. Woodbridge, Va.


War Memorial Park North Tennessee Ave. Martinsburg, W.Va. Bellevue State Park 800 Carr Road Wilmington, Del.


THURSDAY, JUN. 11, 7:30 P.M. Frying Pan Farm Park 2709 West Ox Road Herndon, Va.

Avalon Theatre 40 East Dover St. Easton, Md.


You ably represent the armed services, our country, and people everywhere. I’m am so proud of you, my country and everything we stand for. Thank you for reminding me how meaningful and wonderful it is to be an American! -Barb (Pompano Beach, Florida)


WEDNESDAY, JUN. 17, 7 P.M. Milton Memorial Park Union and Chandler streets Milton, Del.

SUNDAY, JUN. 21, 7 P.M. Canal Basin Park 1 Canal Basin St. Hollidaysburg, Pa.

WEDNESDAY, JUN. 24, 7 P.M. Springettsbury Township 1950 North Hills Road York, Pa.

FRIDAY, JUN. 26, 8 P.M. Rehoboth Beach 1 Rehoboth Ave. Rehoboth, Del.



Shamrock Park William A. Humbert Amphitheater 39 Hickory Ave. Bel Air, Md.

Concerts on the Avenue 2015 by Musician 1st Class Amanda Polychronis


t’s that sunshiny time of year again! Come celebrate America’s Navy with your U.S. Navy Band at the Navy Memorial’s summer Concerts on the Avenue! This series is presented on select Tuesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. This year’s concert will highlight naval history and heritage, honor the centennial of the Naval Reserve, pay tribute to our international partners across the seas and celebrate some of America’s favorite pop music. Three Navy Band ensembles along with the Navy Ceremonial Guard will come together to perform a little something for everyone. The Concert Band and Ceremonial Guard kick off the evening with a rousing version of the “Captain America March.” The men of the Sea Chanters chorus will bring us back to the days of wooden ships and iron men with a traditional sea chanty, while the Cruisers will perform Billboard mega-hits like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” There will be international music with a South Asian flare as well as a powerful Grammy Award-winning song in Swahili. All the musicians will join forces to perform an epic Michael Jackson tribute including favorites like “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” “Rock With You” and “Thriller.” There may even be some dancing, but you’ll have to come on out and join us to see! Finally, this year’s concert wouldn’t be complete without a tribute to all the men and women who serve this great nation. There is nothing common about their heroic service for the freedoms we enjoy. The words of Ralph Waldo Emerson beautifully describe that which is at the core of all our service members, “The characteristic of a genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be common, nor the common heroic.” Please see the schedule below for our summer concert dates in June. The rest of the summer schedule will be published in our July/August issue of fanfare. ff


Jun. 1, Commodores 8, Country Current 15, Concert Band 22, Concert Band 29, Concert Band



2, 9, 16, 23, 30,

Country Current Concert on the Avenue Concert Band Concert on the Avenue Concert on the Avenue


Jun. 18, Commodores Jul. 30, Sea Chanters Aug. 20, Commodores


It was heartwarming to feel the pride the musicians, singers, and conductor hold for our nation’s service men and women. Having two brothers who had served in two branches of the US Military, I deeply am grateful for this experience, among other proud Americans, celebrating courage and freedom that is unique to our United States. -Solango (Orlando, Florida)


Photo award continued... ness one.” The photo shows the band and the Navy Ceremonial Guard marching through the cemetery at the beginning of a snowstorm that would affect the East Coast from Richmond, Virginia, to Portland, Maine. With windblown snow swirling through the scene, it perfectly depicts the Navy’s devotion to honor fallen shipmates, no matter the weather. It is so emblematic of that devotion that The Weather Channel posted it on their website and Facebook page, where it quickly went “viral.” TWC contacted our public affairs office for the first-ever Skype interview with Johanson from the Sail Loft. For Johanson this recognition was something of a vindication, and now he has more confirmation of his well-deserved dedication to this project. Every year, the Navy’s chief of information hosts the Russel Egnor Navy Media Awards program. Entries are solicited from the Navy’s public affairs community around the world to compete in several categories, such as unit awards for publications, websites, blogs, graphics and video presentations, and individual awards for video

production, graphics, feature articles, illustration and photography. This year, 206 senior enlisted mass communications specialists served as judges on 52 panels in 10 locations around the world, and considered more than 1,200 entries submitted from Navy active-duty, reserve and civilian public affairs professionals. The Navy Band submitted several images from our photographers, including Johanson’s. Out of this tough competition, his “Funeral in a Snowstorm” won first place in the individual/photo-news category. Another of his photos from that day in Arlington cemetery of trumpeter Chief Musician Stan Curtis playing taps won honorable mention in the individual/ photo-feature category. For a musician to compete successfully against entries from the Navy’s professional public affairs community is a major accomplishment. We congratulate Chief Johanson for this recognition of his dedication and pursuit of excellence in telling the Navy’s and Navy Band’s story. ff

Concerto competition continued... six, three were chosen as first, second and third place winners. All six finalists performed alongside the Concert Band in a concert at Towson University April 24. Short performed “Danses Sacrée et Profane” by Claude Debussy as a featured soloist, and received The Ambassador Middendorf Young Artist Award of $1,000. The National Capital Council Navy League of the United States generously awarded $250 and $150 for second and third prizes, respectively. We want to congratulate Short and all the finalists for their dedication to musical excellence. The Concert Band was honored to perform with these talented young artists, and we expect to hear great things from them in the future! ff

Congratulations to... MU1 David Perkel, trombone instrumentalist with the Commodores, who was selected as Navy Band Sailor of the Quarter, first quarter 2015. MUC Lera League, clarinet instrumentalist with the Concert/ Ceremonial Band, who was selected as Senior Enlisted of the Quarter, first quarter 2015.



Morgan Mackenzie Short, harpist from Virginia and winner of the 15th Navy Band High School Concerto Competition. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class Adele Mayne/ Released)

It was my good fortune and extreme pleasure to see the U.S. Navy Band perform at Brunswick Community College [Brunswick, Georgia] tonight. It was a performance incredible beyond words. I expected to see a great performance, but I did not expect to be so moved. The performance, was rousing, inspirational, and simply outstanding in every respect. The band, the soloists, the vocalist, and the conductor gave the finest performance I have ever seen. -Larry (Facebook)

Spotlight on... Musician 1st Class Brandon Almagro by Chief Musician Cynthia Wolverton

In recent years, in addition to his primary duty as trumpet instrumentalist, Musician 1st Class Brandon Almagro has served as Concert Band stage crew chief and auditions manager. He performed taps live on PBS at the 2009 National Memorial Day concert on the National Mall and was featured in the National Geographic book, “Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery.” Currently, Almagro is a Ceremonial Band leading petty officer and is the musical director of the Navy Band Brass Quintet. His outstanding contributions recently led to his selection as Navy Band’s 2014 Sailor of the Year. Tell us about your musical background. My earliest memory of hearing a trumpet was when my Dad would play Perez Prado or Harry James albums at home. I don’t know if that consciously or subconsciously led to my choice of the trumpet in sixth grade, but I had that sound in my ear. Throughout middle school and high school I took advantage of the numerous musical opportunities in the greater Milwaukee area, and was lucky enough to live 10 minutes away from my trumpet teacher, Dennis Najoom. He really set the foundation for the musician I am today. After a two-year foray into many different subjects at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I ended up with music degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Maryland. As a trumpet instrumentalist, you have rendered taps countless times. Are there any specific performances that stand out as memorable? In the 10 years I have been in the Navy Band, I have rendered taps at more than 700 military funerals, wreath-laying ceremonies, and memorial services. Although I have been given the honor of performing at many high-profile events, there is one specific standard honors funeral that stands out as memorable

to me. I was at the Columbarium in Arlington National Cemetery and the funeral representative approached me and said that the next funeral service would have no family members or honor guard present. It was literally just me and the cemetery representative. She placed MU1 Brandon Almagro the urn in the Columbarium and after a brief pause, I played taps. It was a very solemn and respectful moment, and really drove home the purpose of what we do as military musicians. I honestly can’t think of a more meaningful situation, musically, than performing taps. Describe a typical work day on the concert band crew. A typical work day on concert band crew ends with 800mg of Motrin! It is hard work unpacking 8,000 pounds or more of gear, playing a concert, and then loading everything back up and driving the trucks back to the Navy Yard. The crew is the first to arrive at the concert site and the last to get home. Luckily, there are enough of us on the team to rotate and equitably share the workload throughout the year. As a crew chief, you are responsible for the loading and transport of all the percussion, sound gear, and equipment needed for the concert. Most importantly, you are in charge of the safety of your crew. Share two highlights during your time with the band. One highlight of my career so far is being a member of the brass quintet. I really enjoy performing with these extremely talented musicians and the friendship and respect we have for each other is more than anyone could hope for. I am humbled that this is probably the best group I’ll ever perform with! Another highlight for me Continued on page 8


I saw the Sea Chanters in Palm Coast, Florida on Sunday 3/8. I was blown away… what a wonderful performance! Every song was perfect and their enthusiasm and patriotism were much appreciated. I haven’t felt so proud to be an American in six long years. -Karyn (Facebook)





of the navy



Spotlight continued... was being chosen as the subject of a Navy Band video documentary. I was followed around by a camera and interviewed for several weeks. At the time, it was pretty uncomfortable to be filmed so much, but I tried to keep everything as natural and honest as I could. I was absolutely horrified watching myself in the finished video, but I realize that this will be a really great thing for my grandkids to watch someday. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? With three kids, there is certainly never a dull moment at home. I enjoy watching them grow up and feel very blessed to have such a beautiful family. My wife and I have started relearning what “date night” is, and enjoy going to many of the great restaurants in our area. HBO GO has taken up any free time that I’ve had lately. I just finished getting caught up on Game of Thrones. ff


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

Fair winds and following seas to... MU1 Jeffrey Snavely who retires as a clarinet instrumentalist after 20 years of active service with military bands: 13 years in the U.S. Navy Concert/Ceremonial band and seven years in the U.S. Air Force Band.

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal MU1 Jeffrey Snavely

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Fanfare (May/June 2015)  
Fanfare (May/June 2015)  

Summer concerts; Band member wins photo award; Spotlight on Sailor of the Year Brandon Almagro