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September/October 2015 w Volume 36 Number 5

Captain Walden Retires Navy Birthday Concert Spotlight on MUCS Chris Raifsnider

A Message from the Commanding Officer (Acting)


am humbled and honored to have been selected as the 14th leader of the U.S. Navy Band, but first, I need to thank the 13th leader, Capt. Brian Walden. Capt. Walden has left an indelible mark on not just the Navy Band, but all of Navy music. His legacy is one of musical excellence, unceasing service, and a stalwart commitment to telling the Navy story. To say that he will be missed is a huge understatement. All of us here at the Navy Band, and Navy bands all over, wish the captain and his family well as they embark on the next stage of their life journey. As for our future, I’m very excited to work with the incredible people here at the U.S Navy Band. I am committed to honoring our past and the standard of excellence that has made the Navy Band what it is, while forging ahead to ensure we remain the face of today’s cutting-edge Navy. We continue to maintain a very active performance schedule. As I write this, Country Current is touring Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. Our Navy celebrates 240 years in October, and we’ll be commemorating the occasion with a special concert at the Music Center at Strathmore. The Commodores head out on their fall tour in late October, performing in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.


Again, I’m delighted to be here at the Navy’s flagship musical organization. Thank you all for your continued support of the Navy Band and Navy music.

Volume 36 Number 5

Commanding Officer/Leader (acting) CDR Kenneth Collins

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 MU1 Maia Rodriguez

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

Ken Collins, CDR, USN Commanding Officer/Leader (acting)

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: Captain Brian Walden and his wife, Staci, depart through the side boys at his retirement ceremony. Capt. Walden was the commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Band and retired after 35 years of service. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class Jonathan Barnes/Released)


My wife and I really enjoyed your performance this evening at the National Harbor in Maryland. We look forward to hearing you again.



Navy Band commanding officer retires by Master Chief Musician Aaron Porter


t 1 p.m. on Friday, July 24, all hands at Navy Band gathered in the Sail Loft for a ceremony that felt familiar but at the same time was one not often experienced by band members. The contradiction in that statement has a simple explanation: it was a retirement ceremony for our former commanding officer, Capt. Brian O. Walden. Retirement ceremonies are regularly performed by the band, but they’re anything but routine for Navy Band commanding officers, which made this one unique. Capt. Walden’s career was celebrated with all the pomp and circumstance that one might expect for an officer who has contributed 35 years to the Navy and the nation. Starting as a teenager in recruit training and entering the fleet with big dreams of seeing the world and playing the trumpet for a living, Walden’s rise to the top position in the music program was filled with travel, adventure and challenges. The ceremony was attended by a who’s who of Navy music and two guest speakers, high-ranking leaders that have been strong supporters of the Navy Band: Vice Adm. John F. Caldwell, director of Navy Staff, and Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, Navy chief of information. Three former leaders of the band were present along with several bandmasters, retired and active. After a solo rendition of the national anthem by Chief Musician Shana Sullivan, the band’s incoming acting commanding officer, Cmdr. Ken Collins, acknowledged the guests and welcomed Walden to the podium, who introduced Cutler. In her remarks, Cutler said, “I am deeply honored to participate in this most important ceremony for such a distinguished leader as Capt. Brian Walden, the man who has devoted his life to serving our nation and the Navy for 35 years.” Cutler went on to relate what she learned about Navy bands as a public affairs officer. “I learned very quickly about the shared mentality among Navy musicians: only the best – the best talent, best attitude, the best skills.” In closing, she said, “I think any good commander will tell you that the true measure of a leader’s success is not how well he or she performs, but how well the Sailors and their team perform, day to day, during holidays, on tour or

Director of Navy Staff Vice Admiral James Caldwell speaks at the retirement ceremony of Captain Brian Walden. Capt. Walden was the commanding officer of the United States Navy Band and retired after 35 years of service. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class Jonathan Barnes/Released)

wherever duty calls. And Brian would be the first one to point to these officers and Sailors he has worked with over three decades for all the reasons for his success....but I can’t stress enough the importance of his guidance, leadership and all that he embodies, that enabled your Sailors to be successful. His legacy will serve the Navy and the music program and the U.S. Navy Band for decades beyond his service.” After her concluding remarks, Cutler introduced Caldwell. In his speech, Caldwell emphasized Walden’s dedication not only to the Navy and the entire music program, but the contributions he will continue to make to music after his retirement. Walden is going on to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, to be the director of bands. “He will continue to serve in great ways,” Caldwell said. “If you doubt for a second that their [Marshall’s] music program will grow, well, think again…it’s going to grow, and they’re going to go on to amazing things with Brian at the helm.” He closed by thanking Walden and his entire family for their service over the last 35 years. Before he left the podium, he awarded the Legion of Merit to Walden, which stated, in part, “Capt. Walden displayed Continued on page 6


Loved, loved, loved the concert last night at the Fairfax County Government Center. Great evening. Thanks for the performance. Please come back next year. Pat (Fairfax, Virginia)


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:


TUESDAY, SEPT. 1, 7:30 P.M. Navy Memorial 701 Pennsylvania NW Washington, D.C.



Walker Pavilion Lovettsville 11 Spring Farm Dr. (Town Green) Lovettsville, Va.


FRIDAY, SEPT. 4, 5:30 P.M. Calvert Marine Museum 14220 Solomons Island Road Solomons, Md.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9, 7 P.M. Heritage Shores Club House 1 Heritage Shores Circle Bridgeville, Del.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 18, 7 P.M.




Sydenstricker United Methodist Church 8508 Hooes Road Springfield, Va.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 8, 7:30 P.M.

La Plata Town Square 305 Queen Anne St. La Plata, Md.



The Fountains at Washington House 5100 Fillmore Ave. Alexandria, Va.


Belle Mehus City Auditorium 210 N. 6th St. Bismarck, N.D. Medora Musical Medora, N.D.

Dawson County High School 900 N. Kedrick Ave. Glendive, Mont.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9, 7 P.M. Shrine Auditorium 1125 Broadwater Ave. Billings, Mont.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 10, 7 P.M. Heritage Center Theater 1635 Reata Drive Gillette, Wyo.

Country Current is currently on tour; following is a list of their remaining tour performances.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 11, 7 P.M.

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage 2700 F St. NW Washington, D.C.


SUNDAY, SEPT. 13, 7 P.M.


THURSDAY, SEPT. 3, 7:30 P.M.

MONDAY, SEPT. 14, 6 P.M.

Village Green Pavilion 1000 Walter Thomas Road NSF Indian Head, Md.


SUNDAY, SEPT. 13, 6:15 P.M.

Hagerstown Community College 11400 Robinwood Drive Hagerstown, Md.


Tornstrom Auditorium 804 Oak St. Brainerd, Minn.

South Dakota State University Performing Arts Center 1601 11th St. Brookings, S.D.

FRIDAY, SEPT. 4, 7:30 P.M. Northern State University Aberdeen Civic Theater Aberdeen, S.D.

Main Street Square 526 Main St. Rapid City, S.D. Midwest Theater 1707 Broadway Scottsbluff, Neb.

MONDAY, SEPT. 14, 7:30 P.M. Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall University of Wyoming 1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, Wyo.

TUESDAY, SEPT. 15, 7 P.M. Cheyenne Civic Center 510 W. 20th St. Cheyenne, Wyo.

We enjoyed the performance by the Commodores at Shamrock Park in Bel Air, Maryland on July 1. The music was a great way to enjoy a summer evening. The musicians were very talented. We hope that you will continue these concerts in Bel Air. Frank and Valerie (Bel Air, Maryland)



TUESDAY, OCT. 27, 7 P.M.

TUESDAY, OCT. 20, 12:10 P.M.

Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center Crause Performance Hall Lima, Ohio



Howard Community College 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway Columbia, Md.


Church of the Epiphany 1317 G St. NW Washington, D.C.

Lerner Theatre Elkhart, Ind.

FRIDAY, OCT. 2, 8 P.M.

Evanston Township High School Auditorium Evanston, Ill.




The Falls Church Episcopal 115 E. Fairfax St. Falls Church, Va.


The Commodores jazz ensemble departs Oct. 24 for their 2015 fall tour through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa. Below is a partial list of tour dates. Visit our website for a complete listing of dates and times.


Lake Geneva Middle School Auditorium Lake Geneva, Ill.

SUNDAY, NOV. 2, 7 P.M.

Waunekee High School Field House Waunekee, Wis.


Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School Auditorium Dubuque, Iowa

Garrett College Gymnasium McHenry, Md.





THURSDAY, OCT. 15, 7:30 P.M. Lake Braddock Secondary School Little Theatre 9200 Burke Lake Road Burke, Va.

Soldiers and Sailor Memorial Hall Pittsburgh, Pa.



Reservoir High School Auditorium 11550 Scaggsville Road Fulton, Md.

Stambaugh Auditorium Youngstown, Ohio

Sailor and Senior Enlisted of the Quarter Oct-Dec 2015 MU1 David Perkel MUC Lera League


Letter of Commendation MUC Christian Johanson, MUC Jennifer Krupa, MUC Greta Loggins, MU1 John Armstrong, MU1 Jon Barnes, MU1 Dana Booher, MU1 Justin Cody, MU1 Dan LaMaestra and MU1 David Miller

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal MUCM Michael Schmitz, MUC Stephen Hassay, MUC Courtney Williams and MU1 Antje Farmer

Legion of Merit CAPT Brian O. Walden

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal MU1 John Armstrong, MU1 Jon Barnes, MU1 Ben Bransford, MU1 Lauren Cook, MU1 Philip Eberly, MU1 Darrell Fitzpartin, MU1 Dan Frazelle, MU1 Anthony Halloin, MU1 Susan Kavinski, MU1 Patrick Martin, MU1 Dennys Moura, MU1 Kristin Pagent, MU1 Jenny Stokes, MU1 Colin Wise and MU1 Michael Webb


Uplifting concert tonight by the Sea Chanters on the steps of the Capitol. Thanks for honoring our nation through your service in song. Ron (Facebook)


America’s Navy: Ready Then, Ready Now, Ready Always by Musician 1st Class Amanda Polychronis


ctober marks the 240th birthday of the United States Navy, and to celebrate, the Navy Band will present a concert on Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. We are very excited to perform again in this beautiful venue. Hosted by the chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, this year’s theme is “America’s Navy: Ready Then, Ready Now, Ready Always.” Throughout the evening we will celebrate the centennial of the Navy Reserves, highlighting its past, present and future missions and accomplishments. Notable reservist Sailors and their stories will be featured throughout the concert, supported by dynamic video footage and still images. We will also honor our

wounded warrior heroes and their families and will close the concert with a patriotic tribute to our great nation. Three of the band’s six performing ensembles will participate with music ranging from patriotic and classical tunes to country and rock. Please join us as we celebrate the Navy and our great country! The Music Center at Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Maryland. Free parking will be available at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station garage on Tuckerman Lane. The event is free, but tickets are required. For more details and how to acquire tickets, visit our website at For details on parking and how to get to Strathmore, please visit your-visit/directions-and-parking. ff

Walden retirement continued... exceptional leadership, artistry and technical acumen. His many accomplishments made a significant and lasting positive impact on the Department of the Navy, Navy music and the U.S. Navy Band.” In his remarks, following a brief performance by Country Current, Walden recognized four very deserving musicians currently in the band that, as he said, “are exceptional examples of what being a Navy musician is all about.” Musician 1st Class John Armstrong received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal was awarded to Musician 1st Class Antje Farmer and Chief Musicians Stephen Hassay and Courtney Williams. After the award presentation, he said, “I used to tell people all the time about going to the Navy Band, I always thought it would be about music, it’s going to be about the highest-level music that I can possibly try to work on, it’s going to be music, music, music… and I don’t say that anymore. What I tell people now is, I get to work with great people, every day, and those great people make great music.” He also recognized the contributions of the band’s ombudsman, Christinia Armstrong, with a letter of appreciation from the 89th Commandant of Naval District Washington, Rear Adm.


The United States Navy Band Country Current performs at the retirement ceremony of Captain Brian Walden. Capt. Walden was the commanding officer of the United States Navy Band and retired after 35 years of service. (U.S. Navy photo by Musician 1st Class Jonathan Barnes/Released)

Yancy Lindsey. Armstrong has served as ombudsman for many years, not only for the members and families of the Navy Band, but also for the Navy Ceremonial Guard during a time when they did not have an ombudsman. Walden recognized several people in the audience that were central to his development throughout his career, first as a young enlisted musician and later as a limited duty officer. He also told many stories about his youth Continued on page 8

Had plans tonight to see the U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note, but it was canceled due to weather. Happened upon the U.S Navy Band Country Current concert as we left dinner. Came all the way to D.C. to see a country concert. Pretty awesome; thanks y’all! Caroline (Facebook)


Spotlight on... Senior Chief Musician Chris Raifsnider by Chief Musician Cynthia Wolverton

Did you know that the Navy Band has an 18-member support staff that works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly for six performing units? At the helm of this highly-productive team is Senior Chief Musician Christopher Raifsnider. He began his Navy career in 1992 as a clarinet instrumentalist and is now serving as the career information program manager and staff department chief in charge. Tell us about your musical background. In a lot of ways I think my early years were the perfect storm for creating a military musician! I grew up in Pennsylvania, a state with a rich tradition of band music, and my elementary and high school band teachers were a married couple who happened to live across the street. Sometimes they would correct my mistakes as I practiced scales with the windows open (“That’s a B-flat!”). I earned a Bachelor of Science in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Music in wind instruments from the University of Michigan. After graduation, I taught instrumental music in public schools for two years before joining the Navy. I was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Band for five years before transferring to the U.S. Navy Band, and in 2004 earned a doctorate in orchestral instruments (clarinet performance) from the Catholic University of America. What prompted you to transition from performing to support staff? Was this a difficult decision for you? While performing with the Concert/Ceremonial Band, I spent several years working as an assistant in the career information office and found the work very rewarding. When the full-time staff position became available, it was certainly a difficult decision to make the transition because I truly enjoyed playing every day alongside so many highly-talented musicians. But now I have the opportunity to contribute to the Navy Band in a different capacity as CIPM and staff department CIC.

What are the responsibilities of the CIPM? As CIPM, I serve as the band’s career counselor, responsible for managing the Navy Enlisted Retention and Career Development Programs. My job encompasses several areas including auditions, assisting new members who Senior Chief Musician Chris Raifsnider are transitioning into the Navy, reenlistments, security clearances, educational assistance programs and providing counseling to members who are about to make the transition to a civilian career. Overall, it’s my job to make sure all of our Sailors have the opportunity to enjoy long, productive careers and understand the many Navy programs available to assist them each step of the way. It’s been a very rewarding duty because I spend most of my time at work helping the wonderful people at Navy Band. Could you share some highlights of your time with the band? For a musician, I can’t imagine another job that would create so many interesting memories. Performing with the band on national tours and concerts has always been very rewarding, but the most meaningful highlights of my career have been the many times I’ve participated in ceremonies honoring fallen Navy members. I’ll always remember performing “Eternal Father” at the dignified transfer of Sailors killed in the attack on USS Cole and at the Pentagon for survivors of 9/11, and the many fullhonors funerals in which I’ve participated at Arlington National Cemetery. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? I still enjoy practicing, teaching and performing locally on clarinet and saxophone, but since we’ve recently purchased a Continued on page “pre-owned” house I’ve



I’ll just say it. The @usnavyband is the best thing about America. Particularly when performing…

@DanEnRoute (Twitter)




of the navy




Walden retires continued...

in South Carolina and his early days as a Navy musician. Walden thanked the band’s current junior officers, Lt. j.g. Luslaida Barbosa and Lt. Christopher Cornette, and the senior enlisted leader, Master Chief Musician Kevin Dines. In closing, he mentioned that the CNO appointed Cdr. Ken Collins as his replacement, saying, “You’re about to enter the best job that anybody can get, and you’re going to work with the best people. The band is lucky to have you in the Navy music program.”

Spotlight continued...

been dedicating lots of time to home improvement projects! Mostly, I enjoy spending time with my family at home, hiking, reading, and an occasional motorcycle ride with friends. Name three CDs you are currently listening to? Wow, this is a tough question! My iTunes collection


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

The Navy Band and the entire Navy music program wish Capt. and Mrs. Walden and their family fair winds and following seas. We hope to see them again at a tour concert, or perhaps at the next alumni gathering in 2016. ff COL. Finley R. Hamilton Award for Outstanding Military Musician MU1 Casey Campbell

is my most valued possession and I’m constantly switching between artists and styles. I recently discovered Brian Wilson’s “Smile” recording. I never get tired of listening to Bill Evans… this morning I listened to Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder” three times! ff

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Fanfare (September/October 2015)  
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Capt. Brian Walden retires; Navy Birthday Concert; Spotlight on Chris Raifsnider