This afternoon the Navy announced that the leadership torch will be passed to six outstanding Sailors at the U.S. Navy Band. Chief (select) Musicians Jon Agazzi, Michael Belinkie, Brian Bowman, Randy Johnson, Christopher Sala and Kevin Taylor were all selected for the rank of chief petty officer. Congratulations and BZ shipmates!!
Agazzi has performed with many ensembles including the Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Orchestras, Pittsburgh Symphony, Taipei Experimental Orchestra, Albany Symphony, Conspirito Woodwind Quintet and Tallahassee Symphony. He attended the Interlochen Music Camp and the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina and Spoleto, Italy.
In addition to playing Eb clarinet in the Navy Band, Agazzi enjoys his duties as national tour manager, clarinetist in the Windjammers woodwind quintet, and as the International Saxophone Symposium’s annual College Quartet Series coordinator. In his free time, he enjoys bicycle racing and hiking.
Musician 1st Class Michael Belinkie, a native of Richmond, Va., joined the Navy Band in 2002. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in music and in economics from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 1998, and he also holds a Juris Doctorate from George Mason University. While at UVA, he performed with the vocal groups Virginia Gentlemen and Coro Virginia and also with the Virginia Glee Club. He studied voice with Bruce Tammen and George Gibson, and has performed with the Washington Bach Consort, the Master Chorale of Washington and the Woodley Ensemble.
In 2005, Belinkie sang the world premiere solo “A Season of Miracles,” by Marvin Hamlisch, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with Hamlisch accompanying on piano. He is also the leader of the Sideboys, a Sea Chanter men’s vocal ensemble and was selected as Navy Band sailor of the quarter for the fourth quarter of 2007. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, tennis, and singing in his 1980s tribute band, The Reflex.
Musician 1st Class Brian Bowman, a native of Arlington, Va., joined the Navy Band in 1997. He earned a Bachelor of Science in classical recording from Indiana University, where he studied with David Pickett and Wayne Jackson. Prior to joining the Navy Band, he worked as house sound engineer at Rhino’s music club, and as the front of house engineer for CMC recording artists, Cutters. In addition to his duties as sound engineer for the Navy Band Cruisers, he serves as the Navy Band’s assistant recording engineer and as leading petty officer for the audio visual unit.
Musician 1st Class Randy Johnson, a native of Wayzata, Minn., joined the Navy Band in 2000. He earned a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University in 1998 and a Master of Music from the New England Conservatory in 2000. His teachers include Frank Epstein, Gerald Carlyss, James Strain, Tom Stubbs, William Roberts, Richard Haglund, Gordy Knudtson, Andrew Heglund, and Bob Bushnell, who was his first instructor.
Johnson has presented clinics at The Midwest Clinic, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), the PAS Virginia Day of Percussion, the PAS Maryland Day of Percussion, and at universities and high schools throughout the United States. He has performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Maryland Symphony, New Bedford Symphony, Boston Philharmonic, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, New Philharmonia Orchestra, the Star of Indiana Brass Theater and has appeared with David Baker, Livingston Taylor, and Dave Brubeck. Johnson has also been an active drum set performer in jazz, musical theater, rock, funk, and calypso.
In addition to his primary duty as a percussionist, Johnson serves as the sponsor/command indoctrination program coordinator and as the concert series manager for the Concert Band, assisting with scheduling the Concert Band's local yearly concert series and managing logistical, performance, and concert site details for each concert. Johnson enjoys spending free time with his family, undertaking whatever adventure the day brings.
Musician First Class Christopher M. Sala, from Clifton Park, N.Y. and Wilbraham, Mass., joined the Navy Band in 2001. In 1994 he earned a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music in music education and trumpet performance and in 1996, a Master of Music from The Florida State University in trumpet performance, where he was a member of the faculty brass quintet. He is the first place winner of the 1996 International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition, the 1997 ITG Mock Orchestra Competition, and the second place winner of the 1997 National Trumpet Competition. He has also been a semi-finalist in the Brandt Competition in Russia and the Maurice André Competition in Paris. Prior to the Navy Band, he toured the United States and Costa Rica with Atlantic Brass and Epic Brass, playing recitals and as featured guest artists with symphony orchestras. He is a frequent soloist with the Navy Band, plays second trumpet in the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and is on the faculty at Washington Conservatory of Music. His teachers include Charles Geyer, Steve Schiller, and Bryan Goff.
Sala is a member of the Navy Band Brass Quintet and serves as the quintet’s operations petty officer. He also serves as Concert Band operations assistant. In his free time he enjoys running, being with his family, reading, and charcuterie.
Musician First Class Kevin Taylor, a native of Cranesville, Penn., joined the Navy Band in 1993. He studied percussion at The Pennsylvania State University with Dan C. Armstrong, earning a Bachelor of Science in Music Education as well as receiving the Penn State School of Music Performer’s Certificate. In 1992, as a graduate teaching assistant at PSU, he won the Music Teachers’ National Association Collegiate Artist Competition. He has appeared as xylophone soloist with the Concert Band for the 2001 National Tour, with the Penn State Percussion Ensemble at the Penn State School of Music 25th Anniversary in 2005, and with the Colonial Forge High School Wind Ensemble (Stafford, VA) at the 2008 Virginia Music Educators Association Convention. He has presented percussion clinics for the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, The Midwest Clinic, and Maryland chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. Petty Officer Taylor has performed with two Navy Band units, spending 11 years with the Concert/Ceremonial Band and in 2004 moving to the Sea Chanters chorus where he performs on drums and percussion. Additionally, he serves the band as Percussion Supply Manager and Sea Chanter Crew Chief.
Taylor spends some of his off-duty time as a school percussion instructor and maintains a private percussion instruction studio. He enjoys spending time with his family and volunteer coaches youth soccer and basketball.