Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Congratulations, Senior(s)!

Congratulations to our newest senior chief petty officers! The Navy announced this afternoon that Chief Musicians Bob Couto, Pete Czekaj, Laura Grantier, Bill Mulligan and Steve Williams were selected for advancement.

Chief Musician Robert Couto, a native of New Bedford, Mass., joined the Navy Band in 1992. He earned a Bachelor of Music from The Hartt School of Music in 1989 and a Master of Music from The Juilliard School in 1991. He has performed with the Hartford, New Haven, Maryland and Annapolis Symphony Orchestras as well as the Berkshire Opera Company, and has also appeared with notable conductors Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur and Zubin Mehta. Couto is a former member of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the George Washington Faculty Brass Quintet. His teachers include Ray Mase, Chris Gekker, Roger Murtha and Tim Morrison.

Couto currently performs as principal trumpet in the Concert Band, and he also serves as section leader, managing all Concert/Ceremonial trumpet section matters. He enjoys spending his free time traveling with family, reading, and painting.

Chief Musician Peter Czekaj, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., joined the Navy Band in 1999. He earned a Bachelor of Music in trumpet performance, from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1988. His teachers included Brian Lewis, Wayne Linehan and David Kuehn. Czekaj enlisted in the Navy in 1990 as a trumpet instrumentalist and was stationed at Sixth Fleet Band in Naples, Italy. After this first tour he transferred to Navy Band San Francisco, then Navy Band Southwest in San Diego, Calif. As a self-taught audio engineer, he worked at local nightclubs in the San Francisco Bay area including Slims and The Berkley Square where he worked with Pearl Jam, Green Day, No Doubt, 311, Weezer and other alternative rock bands. In 1996, he was instrumental in starting the first audio engineer training class for fleet bands. In 1998, Czekaj was appointed to the Navy Band, and reported in 1999 as an audio engineer for the newly formed Cruisers. Currently the unit leader for the audio/visual specialty unit and recording archivist, he is in the process of digitizing the entire analog tape history of the Navy Band.

Chief Musician Laura Grantier, from Natchez, Miss., And Denham Springs, La., joined the Navy Band in 1995. She earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of Alabama in 1993 and is currently assistant principal clarinet. Prior to her appointment with the Navy Band she was pursuing a Master of Music at the Eastman School of Music.

As an undergraduate, Grantier won the University Concerto Competition and traveled to Guatemala and Costa Rica to perform recitals and teach masterclasses. She has performed at the Morges Music Festival in Morges, Switzerland, and with the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Annapolis, Arlington, McLean, New World, and Tuscaloosa Symphonies. She was principal clarinet of the American-Russian Youth Orchestra in 1995 and was a semi-finalist in the 1992 Ciudad de Dos Hermanas competition in Seville, Spain and the 1996 International Clarinet Association Young Artists Competition in Paris, France. She has appeared as a soloist with the Navy Band and the Alabama Symphony and was also a featured soloist with the Fayetteville High School Wind Ensemble in Georgia and at the 23rd annual Alabama Honor Band Festival in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Grantier is a member of the Harbor Winds clarinet quartet, and is also pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Catholic University of America. Her teachers include Eugene Mondie, Kenneth Grant, and Scott Bridges.

In addition to her music degrees, Grantier also holds an Master of Business Administration from Averett University. She serves as the medical liaison and as an assistant command fitness leader. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, running, and mountain biking in Moab, Utah.

Chief Musician William Mulligan, a native of Columbus, Ohio, joined the Navy Band in 1997. He is the Commodores’ master of ceremonies and alto saxophone instrumentalist. He attended The Ohio State University School of Music as a National Merit Scholar where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, in 1987. His teachers included Vince Andrews, James Hill, James Pyne, Katherine Borst-Jones, and Hank Marr. While studying at Ohio State, he was selected from a nationwide audition search to perform with the Walt Disney World All-American College Band.

Mulligan has performed with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Columbus, Baltimore, and Richmond Symphony Orchestras and was featured with the Master Chorale of Washington at the Kennedy Center. He has played with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, and performs regularly with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He has also appeared with such renowned artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow, Bernadette Peters, Doc Severinsen, Stanley Turrentine and Joe Lovano. Prior to joining the Navy Band, he toured Europe with the musical “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies,” and traveled to six continents as a musical director for Princess Cruises.

Mulligan has served as the Commodores’ librarian, leading petty officer, command woodwind section supply manager, and command assessment team enlisted head. He is currently the Commodores’ leading chief petty officer. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, and is an avid bicyclist and scuba diver.

Chief Musician Steve Williams, a native of Pensacola, Fla. joined the Navy Band Commodores in March 1994. The ensemble's lead saxophonist since 1997, he was the music director from 2003 to 2009. He has composed/arranged over 40 compositions for the group and produced the CD “Directions.”

Williams has appeared on several albums including the Grammy-winning “Caribbean Jazz Project/Afro-Bop Alliance Big Band featuring Dave Samuels.” He played lead alto saxophone with The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, toured with The Glenn Miller Orchestra and was a semi-finalist in the 1988 Hennessey Cognac Jazz Search. He has performed with Joe Williams, Linda Carter, The Temptations, Rita Moreno, Jim Neighbors, Linda Lavin, Hal Linden, Eddie Fisher, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, The Ice Capades, The Mills Brothers, Floyd Cramer, Al Hirt, Boots Randolph, Wayne Newton, Maureen McGovern, and many others. He has also performed with The Fort Worth, Richmond, and Baltimore Symphonies as well. Prior to the Navy Band, Williams was a bandmaster and sideman with Crystal, Princess, Norwegian Caribbean, Premier, and American Hawaii Cruise Lines.

Williams attended North Texas State University where he played lead alto saxophone in the famed One O’ Clock Lab Band. While there he studied saxophone with Jim Riggs. He briefly attended Florida State University where he studied saxophone with Patrick Mieghan and improvisation with Bill Kennedy, and he later led an ensemble that won the 1988 National Collegiate Jazz Competition.

1 comment:

Utah Bands said...

Congrats to all of them! They sure do look great in their uniforms with their instruments!