Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The newest master chiefs

Congratulations to three of the Navy's newest master chief petty officers! Today, it was announced that Senior Chief Musicians Jim Armstrong, Jeff Knutson and Mike Schmitz were selected for advancement to master chief musician. Congratulations to all three!

Senior Chief Musician James Armstrong, who hails from Springdale, Pa., joined the Navy Band in 1993 as a trombonist in the Concert/Ceremonial department. He holds a Bachelor of Music in trombone performance from Duquesne University and a Master of Music from Northwestern University. Armstrong studied with Robert D. Hamrick at Duquesne University and later with Frank Crisafulli during his years at Northwestern and in Chicago. After graduating from Northwestern University in 1986, he worked as an active freelance musician in the Chicago area, performing with the Chicago Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Chicago Lyric Opera and the Grant Park Orchestra, among others. In 1991, he returned to Pittsburgh after winning an audition for the position of acting second trombonist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, a chair he occupied until joining the Navy Band.

Since coming to Washington, in addition to his military duties, Armstrong has remained an active musician in the National Capital region, performing with many ensembles including the National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, the Washington and Baltimore Opera Companies, and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. He has performed on two Grammy-Award winning recordings and has been a member of the Fairfax Symphony since 1994. He has served as unit leader of the Ceremonial Band and in June of 2011, he was appointed to his current postion, concert/ceremonial department chief in charge.

Senior Chief Musician Jeffrey Knutson, a Fargo, N.D., native, joined the Navy Band in 1989 and has served as principal trombonist in the Concert Band since 1993. He earned a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music in 1988 and a Master of Music from Northwestern University in 1989. His teachers include Edward Huttlin, John Marcellus, Raymond Premru and Frank Crisafulli. An experienced soloist, in 1988 he won the International Trombone Association Frank Smith Solo Competition and has appeared as a soloist with the Fargo Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, the United States Army Band, and the United States Navy Band. In addition to his musical duties with the Navy Band, Knutson currently serves as the Concert Band unit leader responsible for day to day operations of the 56 member unit. He has also served as the command fitness leader overseeing the physical readiness and training of the entire Navy Band. Knutson has been the Concert Band trombone section leader and is a former leader of the Navy Band Brass Quintet.

An enthusiastic dilettante, Knutson spends his free time drifting between several hobbies including woodworking, painting, baking, writing and gardening. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Senior Chief Musician Mike Schmitz, originally from Dyersville, Iowa, joined the Navy Band in 1990. He began his musical studies on trumpet with his father at age nine and later earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Northern Iowa in 1983, and a Master of Music from Northwestern University in 1984. He studied trombone with Jon Hansen and Frank Crisafulli. He was featured with the Navy Band trombone section on two national tours and on the compact disc Sail Loft Sounds. Prior to joining the Navy Band he taught instrumental music for six years at Clinton High School in Clinton, Iowa.

Schmitz was appointed the enlisted conductor for the Concert Band in 1996. He has conducted the band numerous times on local concerts, national tours, recordings, and at The Midwest Clinic and the White House. He also serves as the concert band recording producer, producing the last five concert band recordings, including most recently "Command Performance."

He enjoys playing basketball, listening to music, and spending time with his family.

1 comment:

MUCM Bob Snider USN, (Ret.)N said...

Despite the fact that they ALL play trombone,all there are very worthy of this promotion. They care for for the band's mission and it's people! Congrats ! Well deserved!