21 days, 18 shows, eight states and thousands of miles later, we played our last concert last night in York, Pa., and headed home. We can't thank our patrons enough for their wonderful support at each and every performance on our 2011 tour!
There are many ups and downs that accompany a national concert tour: weather, traffic and other variables out of our control can surface to wreak havoc on even the best laid plans. This year we were fortunate to have minimal effects on our travels from such interferences.
Overall, I know we all feel as though 2011 presented an immensely satisfying tour for the Sea Chanters - thank you to all of our patrons this year. You helped share with us the immense honor that comes with taking the time to remember those who have served, and are serving, in the armed forces of this great nation.
This year's tour will hold a particularly dear place in my memory as we bid a fond farewell to two important members of our Sea Chanters family. First: Jerry Novak, our motor-coach operator. If you feel like you've read his name in these tour blogs before, you're correct. Jerry is a consummate professional who has driven the Sea Chanters on the past six national concert tours. His unswerving desire to go above and beyond the normal scope of his responsibilities is unparalleled. A Navy veteran and musician himself, Jerry has always taken a genuine interest in everything we do and everything we represent as Navy ambassadors. We wish him, and his wonderfully supportive wife Gloria, nothing but the best of wishes in his retirement. We'll miss you, Jerry.
Second: Musician 1st Class Dustin Lucas, one of the tenor vocalists in the Sea Chanters, is leaving the Navy Band to pursue an opera career with multiple organizations this year. His superlative talents have made him a critical asset to the Sea Chanters - not only as a vocalist, but as a conductor, as well. Be sure to look for him this summer in productions at Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, and later on this year with the Minnesota Opera. His contributions to the Navy Band the past four years have been considerable, and he will surely be missed.
We wish both Jerry and Dustin the best as they venture into the next chapters of their life; in the finest Navy tradition: "fair winds and following seas."
Musician 1st Class Michael Webb is a bass vocalist in the Sea Chanters.