We got our 2011 national concert tour off to a great start last night with a very enthusiastic full house at Yavapai College Performance Hall in Prescott , Ariz. Many thanks to a great sponsor and long time friend of the Navy Band, Mr. John Hafer.
The Commodores were thrilled to have former Navy musician and local jazz legend, trumpeter Mike Vax, sit in with the group last night. Mr. Vax brought the house down with a very spirited performance of "St. Louis Blues." It was great to see Mike again after performing with him at the 2010 Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago.
In the audience were two other former Navy musicians, retired Master Chief Musician Roland Gilbert and retired Chief Musician Bill Bowers. Master Chief Gilbert brought along a very interesting photo of the Navy band he led in Charleston, S.C., from 1982-84. In the photo, holding a herald trumpet (and sporting quite the moustache), was none other than our commanding officer, Capt. Brian Walden, as a young musician second class. Master Chief Gilbert gave me the photo and a personal letter to hand carry back to Washington to present to Capt. Walden.
Master Chief Gilbert and I had a wonderful conversation before the show. It is always a great pleasure to meet folks like Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Bowers, and worth all the trials and tribulations of “life on the road” to see the pride and joy the Navy Band brings to people all across our great country!
Senior Chief Musician Phil Burlin plays tenor saxophone and is leader of the Commodores.