by Senior Chief Musician Gina Todd
In 19 years of serving in the Navy Band, I have never missed a tour. I have been to every state in the Union, including Alaska. I have performed in hundreds of cities and towns and met thousands of people. What a privilege it is to do this for my country.
As the leader of the Sea Chanters, I make it a habit to head to the concert venue early with the tour manager and stage manager. I like to walk on the empty stage and get a good look at the place before we start rolling in our gear for setup. Every stage has its own unique feel and history. I also enjoy meeting the sponsors and stage managers and having a little extra time to talk with them, especially if the theatre is an antique, and we have had a few of those on this tour!
After 19 tours, there are still things about touring that never get old. Walking on that empty stage and looking out in the hall knowing it will soon be filled with people never gets old. Watching this team of exceptionally talented artists working in tandem before, during and after the concert never gets old. Asking veterans to stand and be recognized for their service to our country and singing their service songs to them never gets old. Greeting patrons in the lobby after the concert every night, shaking hands, thanking patrons for coming to the show, accepting their compliments, autographing programs, meeting and encouraging budding young musicians, joyful hugs, even tears of nostalgia from some audience members- those things never gets old. My pride in the Sea Chanters is overwhelming at these moments, and I wish they could all hear every word of praise I receive on their behalf.
Last night we performed in Decker Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa. This was lucky day number 13 of tour. The Sea Chanters were showing signs of fatigue during setup and I was a little worried that the show would lack the energy of previous nights. After all, 13 nights on the road can take its toll. But by the third song, I knew I was mistaken. They gave the same 110% to Fort Dodge that they gave to every other town so far, because performing is fun, the music is what makes us feel alive, and it never gets old!