The Sound of Music
Navy Band is entertaining, educating and hiring
Musicians have a proud tradition and a rich history in the Navy. Starting in 1798 when the first ship was put to sea with a fifer and a drummer to present day, where Navy music has grown to 11 fleet bands, the Navy has kept pace to music.
The Navy Band Northeast is one of those fleet bands whose mission is to support active duty Sailors by performing on ships, ceremonies and other official events. The musicians tour nationally and their most recent tour was in celebration of Veterans Day.
"It's a salute to our veterans," said Musician 1st Class Chris Sams, who plays saxophone and sings. "We wanted to show them how much we appreciate the sacrifices that they've made through the years."
The Navy has fleet bands in the continental U.S. as well as Japan, Italy and Hawaii. Musician 2nd Class Cassy DeMoss said that playing to international audiences and traveling has been the highlight of her career.
"Just bringing Navy music and military music to people who have never seen an American before; it's pretty powerful," said DeMoss, who plays flute and piccolo. "People think of the military as guns and ships and war. When we go in with music, we can change minds and change attitudes about the United States and what we do, and what we represent."
Another piece of the Navy music mission is to help promote and foster music education in the United States. The band's high level of training and visibility presents a unique opportunity for educational outreach. The current tour included a stop at a New Jersey High School, where the Sailors worked with younger musicians.
"We did a clinic with the students," said DeMoss. "They're preparing contest pieces that they have to audition for and so we helped them with their pieces. Later we played a concert for them."