by Musician 1st Class Timothy D. Stanley
Tonight the Commodores descended upon the University of Mississippi, affectionately known as “Ole Miss”. We were so fortunate to perform at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the beautiful Ole Miss campus. The hall is breathtaking and anyone who happens upon the opportunity to catch a performance in this breathtaking venue, should not hesitate.
Those who have been keeping up with the Navy Band tour blog know that one of the great thrills of going on national tours is the chance to see friends and family that live close enough to attend concerts. In fact, it happens almost every night. It was for this reason that I was going to find something else to write about tonight, but I was thrown a curve ball.
As far as I can remember, no Commodore has ever found long lost relatives on the road…until now. Chief Musician Steve Williams met, for the first time, his second cousin, Jean Parkinson Blackston. Both Steve and his cousin were aware of each other’s existence, but had never met. She didn’t even know he was in the band! Jean is the daughter of Steve’s Great Aunt Martha, who lived to be 106 years old.
There were also some first time happenings on stage tonight. Musician 1st Class Jon Barnes premiered his first arrangement for the band, Duke Pearson’s “Empathy”. In the midst of this arrangement, Senior Chief Musician Phil Burlin played his very first flute solo in the band after 22 years of service. He sounded like he’s been practicing for 22 years!
Thanks to Ole Miss, Ms. Blackston and all the fine folks of Oxford, Mississippi for a wonderful evening. We hope to see you all again soon!