Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Homecoming

by Musician 1st Class John Martinich

Today a I returned home with the Navy Band in tow. I played a hall that I have played hundreds of concerts in over my career as a musician. While attending nearby Grand Ledge high school, I would play concerts at the Wharton Center in East Lansing when participating in honor bands. When I attended college at Michigan State University, the Wharton was the venue we played all of our concerts. After leaving Michigan for grad school, I returned as the principal percussionist of the Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra, and played even more concerts at the Wharton center!

The concert today with the Navy Band was very special, as I had a very large supportive group of people in attendance. During the concert, Chief Musician Courtney Williams always announces if there are any family of Navy Band members in the crowd. I knew I had my family and a number of friends in attendance, but was overwhelmed when nearly a quarter of the almost full Wharton center (over 2,000 seats) stood up and cheered when they heard my name.

It was an honor to come back and be able to play a concert for all the people who helped me grow up. I was especially thankful to hear that my middle school band director was in attendance. Who knows where I would be without Eilleen Houston. She saw something in me, and found a way to motivate me (no small task) with music. Many thanks for all the people from church, high school, college and beyond for coming out.

I was also able to spend a few days with my family while the band was in Ohio and Michigan. It was great to have everyone under the same roof again. Also a special thanks to Kathy Jackson for helping get the Navy Band to come to Michigan State, and for providing food for the entire band! We are all very thankful for your generosity and hospitality.

On to Chicago...

About the Author

Musician 1st Class John Martinich plays timpani in the Concert Band. A native of Grand Ledge, Mich., Martinich joined the Navy Band in 2005. Prior to his appointment to the band, he earned a Bachelor of Music from Michigan State University.

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