Yesterday was day three of the Sea Chanter national tour, and we traveled from Marion, Ohio, to Fort Wayne, Ind., where we will hub for three days and bus out to our concerts. We arrived at the hotel in Fort Wayne in time for lunch and an hour or two of down time, and then it was time to load back onto the bus and travel for another hour to Warsaw, Ind., the orthopedic capital of the world. I bet you didn't know that! I know I didn't. But that is what one of our sponsors told me before the show.
The concert was held at Warsaw Community High School, the home of the Tigers. This gorgeous school recently underwent a $40 million renovation, making its auditorium an ideal venue for a Sea Chanter concert. Unfortunately, the high school's spring play kept us from utilizing the beautiful theater spaces. So we set up in the gym instead, which turned out to be equally impressive. After our load in, set up, and sound check, one of the sponsors led us to another wing of the school, where the Tri Kappa ladies treated us to a home-made dinner of lasagna, salad, and bread sticks. They even made us cookies with little anchors painted on them and provided us with cartons of milk to wash them down with on the bus ride home! We love cookies!
A very patriotic crowd of 800 patrons filled the floor seats and spilled over into the bleachers. Musicians 1st Class David Sigmon and Sarah Tietsort had the pleasure of performing for local friends and family, who came out in support of the group. It is a rare treat to connect with loved ones while on the road. My heart was warmed when I witnessed Sarah's mother tear up with pride in the front row, when her daughter took the stage for a solo.
After the show, I had the honor of meeting two women who served as WAVES in World War II. Lt. j.g. Joann Martin, who served in Washington, D.C., and Lt. j.g. Kathryn Gillespie Huntington, who served in San Francisco as a cryptologist from 1944-1946, approached a few of the Sea Chanter ladies after the show. These extraordinary women who helped to pave the way for women to serve in the Navy wanted to thank us for such an enjoyable evening. I am always deeply humbled by encounters like that. It makes me feel profoundly thankful for the opportunity to use my talents in service of this great country, as a member of the Navy Band Sea Chanters.
Musician 1st Class Jennifer Stothoff is a soprano vocalist in the Sea Chanters.