Yesterday we had a break from our regular routine while on tour to focus our attention on the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) regional conference, taking place right in downtown Ft. Wayne, Ind. A fantastic event that showcases the best in choral music every year, the Sea Chanters embraced the opportunity to partake in the festivities. We were invited to participate in two ways: a concert in the evening to showcase what the Sea Chanters can do, and an interest session during the day to address some areas of expertise that we could uniquely address.
As the Navy's premier musical representive, we provide music for many different occasions. The Sea Chanters are well-positioned to handle many different styles of music – some of which are not readily available to the general choral academic circles. Adapting our traditional singing technique to perform contemporary and pop styles is one area where the Sea Chanters are recognized as a fine resource for practical application.
Musician 1st Class Casey Elliott led an open interest session during the day, discussing in detail the process that the Sea Chanters go through when asked to perform pop pieces in an authentic, stylistically-appropriate way. I, along with the rest of my colleagues, were proud to serve as examples as she demonstrated several outstanding techniques for how to convey contemporary concepts to choral singers. Demonstrating concepts to the audience and having them repeat them back as a group, she did a masterful job of expressing varying insightful, advanced techniques for getting singers to convey contemporary styles in a healthy, effective way. From the feedback we got it’s safe to say that she represented the Navy in an impressively professional manner. Bravo zulu, shipmate!
After a brief break, we gathered to prepare for our evening concert, which was a featured part of the scheduled events for the ACDA convention. This was a great opportunity for the Sea Chanters to reach an audience that might not normally see what we do. Surprisingly enough, many folks in the high school, collegiate, and professional circles of choral music aren’t aware of what we do. Getting to perform in front of hundreds of people who are deeply engrained in the direction of America’s choral programs provided a great chance to enrich their understanding of how the Navy uses music as a major asset in stimulating America’s patriotism and supporting our armed forces. We hope they found our performance enlightening and that the Sea Chanters play an ever-increasing role in the choral awareness of America’s finest programs.
Today we are headed north to La Porte, Ind., for our performance at the Civic Auditorium. We’ll look to see you there!
Musician 1st Class Michael Webb is a bass vocalist in the Sea Chanters.