Tuesday, October 30, 2012

High up in the sky the little stars climb

by Chief Musician Jamie Way
After several years of touring with the Commodores, this was the first time I was worried about the weather back home. Hurricane Sandy dominates the news, even out here in Texas. As a bachelor, it was a relief to hear my colleagues say things like "I talked to my wife and our power is still on" or, "Washington seems to have avoided the worst of it."

When we began our tour in New Mexico, they were receiving their first colder days of autumn. The accompanying photo should give you an idea of the beautiful short-sleeve shirt weather that greeted us in Fort Worth.

The evening's concert was at Paschal High School (pronounced "PASS-kle), which was founded over a hundred years ago. We always perform a medley of songs from the big band era, and Musician 1st Class Bill Dunn's rendition of "Stardust" received a warm response from the audience. Years ago, the former principal at Paschal lost his son in World War II, and "Stardust" was his son's favorite song. The school band started to perform it, and it was the school song for a while.

Our arrangement of "Stardust" was taken from Artie Shaw's classic 1930s recording, with Harry James on trumpet. Many big band era musicians joined the military during World War II to support the war effort, and Artie Shaw joined the U.S. Navy.

Also in attendance were several family members of Musician 1st Class Casey Elliott, who spent part of her youth in Fort Worth. She is shown here with her mother.

About the Author

Chief Musician Jamie Way joined the Navy Band in 1996. Prior to his appointment with the Navy Band, Chief Way was a member of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, New York, where he performed with the "Jazz Knights" jazz ensemble. He received a diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy and a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music.

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