Thursday, November 15, 2012

A little George Michael with your big band jazz?

by Musician 1st Class Scott Shepherd
Being one of the tour managers for the Commodores has its benefits. Once I found out that the band was going to be in North Carolina, I immediately got on the phone and called Dr. Jay Jackson, Associate Dean of Music at Appalachian State University (ASU) and booked the band for this years tour. I graduated from ASU back in 1995, and have not been back since 1999. It had been to long, and I needed get back to Boone and I wanted to bring the best big band in the country with me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homeward Bound

by MU1 Jon Barnes

MU1 Jon Barnes
Our concert yesterday morning was at the North Carolina Music Educators Association Conference (NCMEA) in Winston-Salem, NC. An enthusiastic audience comprised of music educators, students, and community members greeted us. Performing for this type of audience is a joy, especially since my favorite aspect of tour is the opportunity to work with music students.

MUCS Matthew Neff
Over the course of the tour, the band conducted several clinics and I enjoyed meeting many young trumpet players. Sharing my love of this music is the best part of the job. Yesterday afternoon, our trombone section was able to share their combined knowledge and experience with a large group of about 350 NCMEA conference attendees. They demonstrated section playing and improvisational techniques, as well as approaches to teaching younger trombone students.

Now with my first Commodores tour almost under my belt (I'm the newest member of the band), I look forward to next year and another opportunity to share music across this great country!

About the Author

MU1 Jon Barnes is a  native of the Baltimore area and joined the Navy Band in 2012. After earning a Bachelor of Music in jazz studies from Rowan University, he went on to study with Jon Faddis and Scott Wendholt at Manhattan School of Music, where he earned a Master of Music in jazz performance.

What An Honor!

by MU1 William Dunn

As a member of the US Navy Concert/Ceremonial Band trumpet section it can be difficult to align schedules to get to attend other performing units' concerts. There isn’t a better way to hear the Commodores than to go on tour with them! It has been an enormous honor substituting in the trumpet section for the Commodores 2012 Tour. Just amazing! Performing on Veterans Day with my fellow shipmates will be a memory I will cherish forever.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day from the Road

by MU1 Casey Elliott
Any veteran of our U.S. Armed Forces can tell you that a job in the military is full of unexpected turns and extraordinary moments. As a member of the Navy Band Sea Chanters, the Navy Band’s chorus, I was surprised and excited when I found out I'd be joining the Commodores Jazz Ensemble for their 2012 fall tour through the South. Today our concert took place in the P.E. Monroe Auditorium on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C. The Sea Chanters normally tour in the spring, so performing a tour concert on Veterans Day was a once-in-a-lifetime privilege! Our audience was full of proud American veterans, as well their families and friends who knew well the meaning of the word "sacrifice." The auditorium rang with patriotism as the audience sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," and it was a thrill to see so many veterans stand and receive well-deserved applause as the Commodores played each Armed Forces service song. After the concert, the performers took advantage of the chance to visit with these veterans and hear stories about their time in service, and about those with whom they served.

A Blue Ridge Birthday

MU1 Nicholas R. Cooper
by MU1 Nicholas R. Cooper
The Commodores arrived at their first stop in North Carolina today. Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina was absolutely stunning. With the nearly perfect weather, you could see for miles. The band began the day by performing a jazz clinic for the students of McDowell High School, and the children were very enthusiastic with some great questions for the band.

The highlight of the clinic was our sponsor, Lloyd Weinberg, trading solos with Commodore's unit leader Senior Chief Musician Phil Burlin. Mr.Weinberg was Phil's junior high school band director and his first private saxophone instructor. Mr. Weinberg was responsible for turning Phil onto jazz in 1972, and the rest is history. Mr. Weinberg served as a Musician Third Class in the Navy music program from 1964-1968, and he was a member of the first graduating class of the School of Music at Little Creek, VA. The concert was also very special for Senior Chief Musician Steve Williams as he stood in front of our audience and gave a touching speech for his mother, Louise Williams, who was attending the evening's concert. Steve closed his speech by having everyone in attendance sing "Happy Birthday" to his mother who turned 80 on Halloween of 2012. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Williams!!

About the Author

MU1 Nicholas R. Cooper,a native of Phoenix, Ariz., joined the Navy Band in July 2005. He currently plays lead trumpet in the Commodores.

America, the Beautiful, Bohemian Rhapsody, and quidditch...

by Musician 1st Class Jennifer Krupa
Tennessee Tech University Trombone Choir
One of the best things about traveling around the country with the Commodores is the opportunity to work with students at local schools. Upon arriving to Cookeville, fellow trombonists Musician 1st Class Dave Perkel, Senior Chief Musician Matt Neff and I headed over to Tennessee Tech University to hang out with the trombone choir under the direction of Dr. Joshua Hauser. After breaking the ice with introductions around the room, we sat in on numerous arrangements by Dr. Hauser. We always like to emphasize listening to as many different styles of music and to play in as many varied musical situations as possible, but we didn't expect to see it in action in the same day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Commodores swing into the country music capitol

by MU1 Dave Perkel
Portland High School Band students enjoyed the
Commodores concert.
It's hard to believe that the Commodores have been on the road for more than two weeks now! I have been in the Commodores for ten years, and this has certainly been one of my favorite tours. The band sounds absolutely incredible every night, and the soloists are all very inspiring. As the lead trombonist, I sit right in the middle of the band, and it is truly a pleasure to be surrounded by so many talented musicians. Everyone plays at such a high level and I can't help but think, “I can’t believe this is what I do for a living!”