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Navy Music Program


Navy Music Program

Formerly Navy Music Program (NMP), Fleet Band Activities (FBA) is the central management office for nine active duty fleet bands. Located at Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tennessee, this office has the responsibility of coordinating the assignment and distribution of personnel, equipment and funding to activities worldwide as well as managing the application and audition process for those wanting to serve as Navy musicians. Personnel at the FBA office work directly with Navy Personnel Command's Career Management Department (PERS-4) to meet our Musician manning requirements to the fleet.


  • Fleet Bands in the continental United States 1
    • Navy Band Northwest 1.1
    • Navy Band Southwest 1.2
    • United States Navy Band Great Lakes 1.3
    • Navy Band Mid-South (INACTIVE since 1 Oct 14) 1.4
    • Navy Band New Orleans (INACTIVE since 1 Oct 14) 1.5
    • Navy Band Northeast 1.6
    • U.S. Fleet Forces Band 1.7
    • Navy Band Southeast 1.8
  • Fleet Bands outside the continental U.S. 2
    • PACIFIC Fleet Band 2.1
    • Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band 2.2
    • Commander, Seventh Fleet Band 2.3
  • Premier Bands 3
    • The United States Navy Band 3.1
    • Naval Academy Band 3.2
  • Support Unit 4
    • Fleet Band Activities, Repair Division 4.1
  • School of Music 5
    • Navy School of Music 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8
  • External links 9

Fleet Bands in the continental United States

Navy Band Northwest

Navy Band Northwest is one of 13 Official Navy Bands located throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Italy and Japan. The band's early history dates back to the Bremerton Navy Yard Band of 1918 and the 13th Naval District Band of 1925. In 1944, a group of sailors from various ratings formed a band at Naval Air Station Sand Point in Seattle to welcome the Hellcat Fighter Squadron of Carrier Aircraft Support Unit 7. The band became known as the Hellcat Band in honor of the fighter squadron returning from combat operations in the South Pacific.

The official commissioning of the 13th Naval District Band took place in 1953 at Pier 91 in Seattle. The band moved to Naval Air Station Sand Point in the fall of 1970 where its name was changed to Navy Band Northwest and then to Navy Band Seattle. In April 1985, the band moved into Building 30, a remodeled portion of the hangar where the Hellcat Band welcomed home the World War II heroes of Carrier Aircraft Support Unit 7. Naval Station Puget Sound closed in 1995 as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. In February 1995, Navy Band Seattle moved across the Puget Sound to a new facility at Naval Submarine Base Bangor in Silverdale. Navy Band Seattle officially changed its name to Navy Band Northwest on April 1, 1999 as a result of the Navy Regionalization Initiatives.

The mission of Navy Band Northwest is to provide musical support for official Navy functions and Navy Recruiting efforts, and to serve the communities of the Pacific Northwest in a Public Relations capacity. Throughout the years, Navy Band Northwest has built an excellent reputation for quality musical performances. The 35 rated musicians are called upon to perform in various units, including the Ceremonial and Parade Band, Big Band, Contemporary Entertainment Ensemble, Brass Quintet, and Jazz Combo. From time to time, specialized ensembles such as a Brass or Woodwind ensemble are formed to fulfill a specific performance requirement. In addition to their musical duties, band members carry out all administrative and support functions within the band.

Navy Band Southwest

Navy Band Southwest is one of the Navy’s finest and oldest continuing musical organizations. Now with over 80 years of support to the San Diego community, the band serves as the musical ambassador for the Commander, Navy Region Southwest. In addition to the many military activities it supports, the band’s ensembles perform year round throughout the Southwestern United States.

The 45-member organization calls upon its Ceremonial Band for the majority of its work. The band’s other performing ensembles include the Wind Ensemble, the contemporary music ensemble, Destroyers, the Show Band West, the Brass and Woodwind Quintets, and SeaBreeze, the band’s VIP reception combo.

Navy Band Southwest averages over 600 performances a year. The majority of these performances are in support of the Navy’s retention and recruiting initiatives. It also performs for many different community concert series' and professional sporting events, including regular performances with the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops. As a strong proponent of music education, Navy Band Southwest proudly participates in the Navy’s "Partnership in Education" program through educational concerts and clinics for school music programs.

Navy Band Southwest is a particularly important part of San Diego’s military heritage. From the 30 Sailors who reported for duty in 1923 to the 45 members of today's organization, Navy Band Southwest takes pride in upholding its rich tradition and promoting the pride and professionalism of today's United States Navy.

United States Navy Band Great Lakes

"Pride in Service" has been the theme for Navy Band Great Lakes. From 1911, when the first band was formed to support the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, to Bandmaster John Philip Sousa in 1917, to today's Bandmaster, their music represents the pride and professionalism that is synonymous with the United States Navy. Consisting of a Wind Ensemble, Ceremonial Band, Parade Band, Jazz Ensemble, Contemporary Music Ensemble, Show Band, Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, Jazz Combo, and various specialty groups, Navy Band Great Lakes takes pride in its ability and readiness to perform any genre of music. From 1911 to 1917 Naval Uniform Regulations prescribed that the band wear US Marine Corps Uniforms[1] (without USMC) in performance. From 1917 onward the band wore the famous "Crackerjack" uniforms.

Navy Band Great Lakes was instrumental in cultural change in the WWII Navy, having enlisted black musicians, and then later creating integrated Navy Bands. Some important WWII Alumni are leader and trumpeter Clark Terry, Saxophonist Von Freeman, trombonist Al Grey, composer and conductor Gerald Wilson, saxophonist Lou Donaldson, saxophonist Willie Smith Willie Smith, composer and arranger Luther Henderson, Major Holley served in the Great Lakes Band.

Serving Commander, Naval Service Training Command's mission of transforming volunteers into 21st century Sea Warriors, Navy Band Great Lakes performs ceremonies to honor recruits, Sailors, and their families. As the Navy's "Ambassadors to the Midwest," Navy Band Great Lakes performs for hundreds of thousands of people every year, providing musical support for community relations and Navy Recruiting in a nine-state area of responsibility stretching from Indiana to North Dakota.

Navy Band Mid-South (INACTIVE since 1 Oct 14)

Navy Band Mid-South was the United States Navy's premier musical organization in the Mid-South region. Attached to Commander, Navy Personnel Command, this diverse group of 35 professional Navy Musicians were all active duty men and women performing full-time for the Navy. The ensembles within the band performed music ranging from Bach and Sousa to the most current pop, country, and jazz hits.

The band operated from Millington, Tennessee, and was responsible for an eleven-state area that stretched north into Indiana and Illinois, west into eastern Colorado, and south into Mississippi and Alabama. In addition to being a military ceremonial band, the band maintained other musical ensembles that performed a wide variety of music. ***Navy Band Mid-South ceased operations in September 2014***

Navy Band New Orleans (INACTIVE since 1 Oct 14)

The United States Navy Band New Orleans was one of 11 official Navy Bands located in the continental United States, Europe and Asia. Established January 1971, the band performed annually for over 26 million people in support of the Navy, Navy recruiting and community relations events. Located at the Naval Support Activity, New Orleans, LA, Navy Band New Orleans represented both the United States Navy and the Crescent City in a wide range of military and community related functions across the Gulf Coast. ***Navy Band New Orleans’ ceased operations in September 2014***

Navy Band Northeast

Navy Bands have always been an integral part of the Naval presence in Newport, dating back at least to the Civil War period. Navy Band Northeast was officially established in 1974, and is one of 13 official bands of the United States Navy. The band is located on board Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, and serves the military and civilian communities throughout the Northeastern United States.

Navy Band Northeast provides a wide spectrum of musical entertainment. Whether it is the traditional sounds of a military marching band, the swing of jazz, or the contemporary music of today, Navy Band Northeast has a band for most any occasion. Each ensemble inspires patriotism, elevates esprit de corps, and fosters pride in the United States Naval Service.

Navy Band Northeast is recognized as one of the nation's finest military bands. They continually strive to define, realize, and maintain the highest standards of excellence in the military and musical communities.

U.S. Fleet Forces Band

The Norfolk, Virginia based U.S. Fleet Forces Band is the musical representative for the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and is the largest of the Navy's 10 Fleet Bands. This unit provides musical support for Navy ships, naval bases, foreign dignitaries, and community relations events. Current director is Lieutenant Commander Bruce McDonald, USN[2]

Navy Band Southeast

Navy Band Southeast was established in October 1995. It is a field activity of the Fleet Band Activities. Representing the Commander, Navy Region Southeast and the United States Navy, Navy Band Southeast performs music throughout the state of Florida and the Southeastern United States. The band comprises forty-five professional musicians, all of which are graduates of the Armed Forces School of Music. Navy Band Southeast provides a wide spectrum of musical styles by offering smaller ensembles within itself.

Navy Band Southeast is also the command to which American Idol Season 6 finalist MU3 Joel "Phil" Stacey was assigned while on active duty. His success had the added benefit of publicity for both the navy and the navy music program worth an estimated 2.4 million dollars. MU3 Stacey performed with the contemporary music ensemble "Pride" as well as with the Wind Ensemble and the Ceremonial Band.

Fleet Bands outside the continental U.S.

PACIFIC Fleet Band

Hawaii is richly steeped in naval history and the Pacific Fleet Band has long been a part of this heritage. Since before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Navy Bands have been stationed in Hawaii either on ships home ported at Pearl Harbor, or attached to Navy shore installations at Pearl Harbor, Barbers Point and Waikiki.

The most recognized and highly decorated Navy Band associated with Hawaii was Unit Band 22. This was the band stationed on board the USS Arizona (BB-39) at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

On the night of December 6, 1941, there was a band competition called the "Battle of Music" at Bloch Arena on Pearl Harbor Naval Station. This competition began on September 13, 1941 as an elimination tournament held every two weeks. It featured Navy Bands from capital ships home ported in Pearl Harbor and those attached to shore installations in Hawaii. Four bands were to compete in each round of the tournament with one winner per round selected to perform in the final competition. Each band performed a swing number, a ballad and one specialty tune and then played for the jitterbug contest. The USS Arizona band won the first round on September 13 and was not scheduled to play again until the final competition.

The last round of the elimination tournament was scheduled, unknowingly, for that December 6 evening in Bloch Arena. Present were bands from the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38), USS Tennessee (BB-43), and USS Argonne (AG-31).

Scheduled to compete but not present was the band from the USS Detroit (CL-8), which deployed a few days earlier. Several members of the USS Arizona band attended the contest because the first and second place winners would be competing against them in the final competition scheduled for December 13. The USS Pennsylvania band was the winner that evening.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, while the band from the USS Nevada (BB-36) played Morning Colors, the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. The entire USS Arizona Band, while at battle stations passing ammunition under gun turret number one, was killed in the attack. In the weeks to follow, all the bands that had participated in the "Battle of Music" voted to posthumously award the tournament trophy to Unit Band 22, renaming it the "Arizona Trophy." This was a fitting tribute to the heroic members of the band who died that infamous morning. Unit Band 22 now stands the eternal watch on board the USS Arizona for all sea service bands.

The Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet Band (Unit Band 56) was formed when the Pacific Fleet Headquarters was established at Pearl Harbor in February, 1941. Not much is known about the band's history during World War II.

In May, 1944, U.S Navy B-1 arrived at Manana Barracks, the largest posting of African-American seamen in the world. B-1, a 45-piece regimental band led by James B. Parsons, Mus1c, was composed of the first blacks to serve in the modern Navy at rank higher than messman. They had been a favorite of Commander O.O. Kessing at the Navy preflight training school at Chapel Hill, NC, where B-1 was originally stationed and which Kessing helped organize and then commanded. In Hawaii B-1 performed frequently at military functions for Admiral William F. Halsey. The only regimental Navy band on the islands, they also played for daily flag raisings, for visiting dignitaries, and regimental reviews, as well as for ships embarking for Pacific combat, for wounded troops in hospitals and on hospital ships, and for ships returning from battle. They also played for football and baseball games, wrestling and boxing matches, parades, bond rallies, and concerts, sometimes with a portion of the show featuring one of the two swing bands formed from B-1 in Hawaii.

The two swing bands from B-1, the Moonglowers and the Manana Meteors, were kept busy playing smokers, parties, and USO clubs. They also often competed at Battles of the Band competitions staged at military bases throughout the islands. The 17-piece band stationed at Barbers Point Naval Station and fronted by Harry "Pee Wee" Jackson of Cleveland, Ohio, was believed by some to be the top swing band in Hawaii, where other notable bands included the Airbase Aces from the Honolulu Air Station; the Skyhawks from the Ammunition Depot at Lualei; the Blackhawks from the Naval Receiving Barracks at Aiea; the Modernaires from Schofield Barracks; and the Jungleers (or Junglairs), led by Reuben Reeves, from the Army Jungle Training Center. Arguably the most popular band was the Navy orchestra led by Ray Anthony, who had played trumpet for Glenn Miller and then Jimmy Dorsey before enlisting in 1942. Anthony's orchestra was the resident band for eight months in 1945 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which had been taken over by the Navy for R&R, and where enlisted men on leave slept free in "cot-crowded luxury suites."

B-1 was replaced at Manana in October 1945 as its men mustered out and returned to the states by a 17-piece band that included future jazz great John Coltrane. [3]

From 1959 to 1964, the Pacific Fleet Band operated from a building at Supply Base Pearl Harbor, just inside the Halawa Gate. In 1964, the band moved across the street just inside the CINCPACFLT Gate, sharing a building with Fleet Imaging. The band moved to the Pearl Harbor Naval Station Band building at Bishop Point near Hickam Harbor when the Unit Band 03 closed in 1966. Finally, in 1967 the band moved to its current facility, Building 277, located at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station Marine Barracks Compound. The current building was used as a Marine Barracks prior to and during World War II and is a historical landmark. It served as work spaces and, during the band's first years of occupancy, barracks for band personnel.

From 1959 to 1969 the band traveled extensively representing the Commander in Chief of the United States, U.S. Pacific Fleet throughout the Pacific. During these years the band performed engagements in Pusan and Seoul, South Korea, Guam, the Philippines and Okinawa. Also, in 1960 and 1963, the band, combined with the Barbers Point Naval Air Station Band (which closed in 1965), traveled to the South Pacific for festivities surrounding the "Battle of the Coral Sea Commemoration Celebration." This trip was made once every three years, rotating with the Hickam Air Force Base Band and the Schofield Barracks Army Band. Ports of call for band performances on these trips included Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, Australia, as well as New Zealand, New Caledonia and American Samoa.

In 1968 the band was deployed to South Vietnam for three to four weeks. The band traveled to their performance sites on whatever military aircraft were available at the time. This created some delays in travel. In one instance the band was marooned in Cam Ranh Bay for nearly a week while waiting for any available plane to take them to their next destination. The band did have one notable "close call," arriving at an airfield within an hour of its having been shelled by the enemy. During this tour, the band performed concerts in Da Nang, Ben Hoa, Cam Ranh Bay and Saigon.

From the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, the Pacific Fleet Band performed many concerts in Hawaii with such noted local performers as Cheryl Barash, Melveen Leed and Ira Nepus. In 1977 the Pacific Fleet Chorale was formed to compliment concert performances by the Pacific Fleet Band. This ensemble was an all-volunteer chorus, made up of active duty members and dependents of all branches of the armed forces stationed on Oahu. The last concert appearance of this associate unit of the Pacific Fleet Band was in 1980. Another highlight during 1980 was a March concert at Kapiolani Park. This Concert was held in association with "Rim of the Pacific Exercises" and featured the International Sea Services Combined Wind Ensemble. This group was made up of various military musicians from the participating countries' naval forces. In 1986 the Pacific Fleet Band made an historic fifteen-day trip to China with the first visit by a U.S. Navy ship to China in thirty-seven years.

The Pacific Fleet Band made two significant overseas deployments. First, in 1988 the band traveled to India for the ceremonies commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Consul in Bombay. Then, in 1989 the band made a trip to Australia. Performances thrilled audiences in Melbourne, Cairns and Canberra culminating with an outstanding performance at the world famous Sydney Opera House.

Although traveling abroad little since 1989, the Pacific Fleet Band has maintained an active schedule supporting the Pacific Fleet and the local civilian community in Hawaii. The musicians of the Pacific Fleet Band perform their duties with the same zeal and pride that characterizes all Navy Musicians from the past to the present. September 1995 saw the Pacific Fleet Band participating significantly in four major events of international interest. The first was the dedication of the Battle of Midway Monument on Midway Island. The highlight was the premier performance of The Battle of Midway Island march, written and conducted by Ambassador J. William Middendorf, II. It was written in recognition of the men who fought and died to change the course of the war in the Pacific. That ceremony was a precursor to the final ceremonies of the "End of World War II Commemoration" and the 50th Anniversary of VJ-Day Celebrations. Highlights of the band's extensive participation were a Presidential Wreath-laying Ceremony on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in Pearl Harbor, an International Parade of Ships and Aircraft off the coast of Honolulu, a Presidential Parade and Review through downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, and an old-fashioned Hangar Dance on board the USS Carl Vinson honoring all our WWII veterans. The next event was the opening ceremonies for the Asia/Pacific Center for Security Studies. During all these events, the US/Russian naval exercise, Cooperation from the Sea 1995 was taking place. This marked the first visit of a Russian warship to Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Fleet Band was very much involved while hosting a visiting Russian Navy Band. All these events were attended by the President, Secretaries of Defense and the Navy, Congressional Representatives, senior unified and component military commanders, and a host of foreign civilian and military dignitaries. The Pacific Fleet Band performed over 40 engagements during this nine-day period.

In recent years, along with numerous parades the Pacific Fleet Band continues to participate in many annual events including the December 7th Commemoration Ceremony, Memorial and Independence Day Celebrations, the Twilight Tattoo and combined military band concert for Armed Forces Day. In addition to these events, the band has played an active role in opening the USS Missouri and Vietnam Memorials and closing Naval Air Station Barber's Point in 1999. In 2001 the band performed for the opening of the movie Pearl Harbor on board the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) and the 40th birthday celebration of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) in Guam.

The Pacific Fleet Band of today and the musicians who make up this band are a far cry from the first Navy musicians, who can be traced back to 1798. At that time, each ship chose a "shantyman" to sing during seafaring duties, while the crew joined in the refrain. A drummer kept the beat and a fifer piped the tune as sailors hauled in their lines. A select breed of sailor, Navy musicians must now meet strict musical requirements before entering the service. After recruit training, their skills are finely tuned at the U.S. Navy School of Music, a tri-service training command for all Navy, Marine Corps, and Army musicians, in Norfolk, Virginia. After graduation, enlisted musicians are assigned to one of twelve Navy Fleet Bands worldwide.

The personnel of any Navy Band are true professionals and possess academic training from high school diplomas to doctoral degrees. Many band members have experience as performers and instrumental instructors, or have obtained their civilian teaching credentials before entering the Navy. All are capable of playing any style of music with little preparation and most are required to be proficient at playing more than one instrument.

The Pacific Fleet Band is under the operational control of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Much of the band's activity is in support of the ships of the fleet and the many shore based military commands. Musical support is also provided for other armed forces' functions when needed. Pacific Fleet Band military performances consist primarily of providing ceremonial music for Changes of Command, Retirements, Morning Colors, Sunset Parades and Ship Arrivals. Other duties include bugling details for military funerals, reception music for flag officers, government officials and visiting foreign dignitaries, and entertainment for special functions such as Navy Birthday celebrations and various command social events.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band

The U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band is the U.S. Navy's official band in Europe. Stationed in Naples, Italy, and under the operational control of Commander, Naval Forces Europe and Africa. The Band performs throughout the European Region including: Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea; and throughout Africa and Western Asia. They perform in locations as diverse as England, Iceland, Croatia, Israel, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, and South Africa. The Band reaches a combined audience of more than 60 million people throughout over 35 countries in the course of over 500 engagements annually.

The primary mission of NAVEUR Band is to support Commander, Naval Forces Europe and Africa/Joint Forces Command Naples and Commander, SIXTH Fleet priorities, official military ceremonies (including Changes of Command, ship arrivals and departures), official receptions and other occasions which serve to enhance the morale and welfare of U.S. and Allied Forces personnel. The Band is also often involved in efforts to improve international community relations among partner nations.

Uniquely, the NAVEUR Band is composed of active duty Navy musicians, augmented by foreign-service musicians from Italy who unite to fashion dynamic specialty units designed to fulfill almost any possible request for musical support. These units include the Wind Ensemble, Ceremonial Band, Marching Band, Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, a Brass/Show Band, Jazz Ensemble, Pop Music Ensembles, and Protocol Combo.

Whether performing traditional American marches, Top-40 hits, or authentic renditions of local international favorites, the Naval Forces Europe Band delights audiences, proving time and time again that music truly is the universal language appreciated by all.

Commander, Seventh Fleet Band

The U.S. Seventh Fleet Band was created as part of the United States Seventh Fleet, which was established upon the renaming of the United States Navy Southwest Pacific Force on March 7, 1943. The band is composed of professional Navy Musicians (MUs) who together base their United States Navy Fleet Activities out of Yokosuka, Japan, as well as alongside the touring flagship of the United States Seventh Fleet: USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). The Commander, Seventh Fleet Band is currently lead by Fleet Bandmaster, Lieutenant Brian Chaplow and Assistant Director, Musician Senior Chief (MUCS) Guy Gregg.[4]

The United States Seventh Fleet Band is today composed of six groups of professional Navy Musicians, including the Pacific Ambassadors Showband, the "Far East Edition" Popular Music Group, the "Orient Express" Popular Music Group, the Flagship Brass Quintet, the Windfall Woodwind Quartet, and a variety of other groups. The Seventh Fleet Band has performed for millions of American-allied music lovers throughout the Western Pacific, bringing their "special quality of American Music" to their uproariously enthusiastic fans from Japan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, as well as many other cities and countries of the Far East.[5]

The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet CEREMONIAL/MARCHING Band is honored with the particular privilege of performing for official military and civic ceremonies, as well as by its duty to provide official representation of the U.S. Navy Commander, Seventh Fleet during musical performance at public concerts throughout the Western Pacific & Asian areas. This distinguished group of professional Navy Musicians is equally honored to uphold their time-tested naval heritage by stirring patriotism and empowering diplomatic or cultural linkages & affairs with international audiences.[6]

The Far East Edition of the U.S. Navy Commander, 7th Fleet Band is reputed for its amazing versatility, as the United States only 20-piece show band operating in the Western Pacific & Asian areas. The Far East Edition performs in a variety of musical styles, ranging from traditional to contemporary Jazz, Big Band, Latin, and other popular music genres of today. This U.S. Navy Commander, 7th Fleet Show Band has been featured as a main attraction at major international cultural events throughout Australia and the Far East, covering more mileage squared than any other Navy Band operating today, under the leadership of (MU) First Class, Brian Nefferdorf.[7]

The U.S. Navy Commander, 7th Fleet Rock Band, Orient Express, is a group of twelve professional rock musicians dedicated to performing live many of the greatest popular hits of English-language rock, including covers of songs ranging from Stevie Wonder or Journey, to Avril Lavigne to Katy Perry. Orient Express also performs as a Smooth Jazz ensemble, as well as a full-range Dixieland Band. Leadership of the band is coordinated on a talent and personnel level by U.S. Navy Musician (MU) Second Class, James Caliva.[8]

Premier Bands

The United States Navy Band

[1] Since its official designation in 1925, the United States Navy Band has grown to become a diverse organization comprising 172 enlisted musicians and four officers. Based at the historic Washington (D.C.) Navy Yard, the organization features a concert-ceremonial unit and four distinct specialty units—the "Sea Chanters" chorus (1956), the "Commodores" jazz ensemble (1969), the "Country Current" country-bluegrass group (1973), and the "Cruisers" contemporary music ensemble (1999). The band also features several chamber music groups.

The story of Navy music is as old as the history of our Navy. Our early Sailors used instrumental and vocal music to accompany their daily lives. Early records of shipboard fifes and drums confirm this proven method of delivering orders over the din of battle. The sea chantey united the voices as it coordinated the efforts of the crew. There were special varieties for specific tasks from hoisting the mainsail to weighing anchor. After-hours entertainment featured the chantey in sentimental thoughts of home and often humorous speculation about their next adventure.

The scope and size of these musical groups increased as our Navy grew. Those initial trumpets, fifes and drums were carried on the early frigates to sound calls, give general orders and perform at funerals and other ceremonies. Bands became a separate section of the crew on many Navy vessels.

The development of shore-based bands in the 19th century led to the creation of the Naval Academy Band, which grew in size and importance during the Civil War. Other band units afloat and ashore played a major role in promoting the morale of sailors and civilians alike. At the start of World War I, many outstanding musicians left their famous orchestras and joined the Navy, using their talents to further the war effort.

In 1916, a 16-piece band from the battleship USS Kansas was ordered to the Washington Navy Yard to augment a 17-piece band aboard the presidential yacht Mayflower. The new unit became known as the "Washington Navy Yard Band" and was given rehearsal space near the power plant's coal pile. The increasing tempo of the band's duties led the bandmaster to seek more suitable quarters in the yard's "Sail Loft," and sailmakers were soon cutting and stitching their canvas to the rhythms of the music. The Navy Band still occupies the Sail Loft as its headquarters and rehearsal hall.

Naval Academy Band

[2] Ever since the founding of the Naval Academy in 1845, when the “Band”consisted of a fifer and a drummer, music has been an important part of Naval Academy life. Officially formed in November 1852, the United States Naval Academy Band has established a reputation for outstanding musical support to the Brigade of Midshipmen and the surrounding community. However, the current version of the Naval Academy Band is a far cry from the thirteen men who reported to Annapolis over 150 years ago. Today, due to the unmatched versatility of its members, the band is able to blend tradition and change into a wide variety of musical styles.

The United States Naval Academy Marching Band may head up a column of Midshipman on parade before dignitaries on Worden Field, advance into Navy/Marine Corps Stadium for a contest on the gridiron, escort a fallen shipmate to his final resting place, or represent the Navy and Naval Academy on “Main Street, USA” in their Memorial Day celebration. In addition, the Concert Band performs a year-round concert series that is both highly acclaimed and well received. Performances feature well rounded programs of light classics, popular melodies, patriotic songs, and of course, marches chosen from the band’s extensive music library or prepared by the staff arrangers. Special events include the Side-By-Side concert featuring local High School musicians chosen to play with the band under the baton of a special guest conductor, and the annual Finale concert featuring all Naval Academy Band ensembles and closing with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with live cannon fire! Smaller ensembles are featured in the Chamber Music Series, a variety of recitals planned and presented by individual band members. The Electric Brigade, the Navy’s premier Top 40 Band, aids recruiting by acquainting young Americans with the Navy and the Armed Forces, in addition to performances for the Brigade of Midshipmen in functions ranging from formal occasions such as the Graduation Ball during Commissioning Week to informal dances, pep rallies, and company picnics. These are but a few places where“The Navy’s Oldest and Finest Band” continues the long tradition of musical excellence and service to America begun so many years ago. From its 66 members, the band also calls upon two jazz groups, brass and woodwind quintets, trombone and clarinet quartets, tuba and percussion ensembles, and two reception combos.

Each member of the band hopes to add his or her mark to the progress which has seen a walrus-mustachioed fifer and drummer grow into one of America’s top ranking musical organizations. A succession of 26 leaders and hundreds of instrumentalists, each adding his or her special talent to the band’s repertoire, continue to instill a sense of pride and patriotism in Americans everywhere.

Support Unit

Fleet Band Activities, Repair Division

Musical equipment maintenance enjoys a proud heritage at Fleet Band Activities where traditional band instrument repair and analog/digital equipment repair come together to lead the FBA's into the 21st century!

Established to provide the material support necessary in the operation of Fleet bands both afloat and ashore, FBA's repair techs perform a variety of diverse services to include: Test & Evaluation of all equipment; equipment repair and maintenance; and shipping & receiving of equipment to/from activities Fleet-wide.

Comprising professional Navy Musicians and Navy Civilians, FBA's repair techs operate out of Millington, Tennessee and is responsible for maintaining an inventory in excess of 50,000 items.

School of Music

Navy School of Music

[3] Located aboard the Naval Amphibious Base in Norfolk, Virginia, the Navy School of Music provides specialized training for selected personnel of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, and is the first stop after basic training for instrumentalists and vocalists seeking to join the ranks of America's military bands.

This unique facility, the largest of its kind in the world, provides basic to advanced levels of instruction geared toward preparing Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines for the challenges of performance within a wide variety of military ensembles. Graduates of the Navy School of Music go on to become musical ambassadors throughout the United States and abroad as members of U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps Bands.

Tracing its origins to the early 20th century, the School evolved from intermittent attempts to establish a permanent site to train Navy Musicians. In June 1935, the Navy School of Music opened in Washington, D.C., operating in conjunction with the United States Navy Band until becoming an independent activity in 1942. Students enrolled at the School during this era graduated as complete ensembles—transferring as a unit to serve aboard ships in the U.S. Fleet. Unit Band #22, for example, was deployed to the USS Arizona—ultimately to be counted among the first casualties during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

After more than a decade of operating as a Navy-specific institution, the School received a quota of 15 enlisted Marines and, following negotiations between the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Naval Personnel, Army students began being enrolled in January 1951. With the School now providing training for Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, in a facility that was originally designed to be a temporary structure, it was clear the Navy School of Music had outgrown its home and a new facility was sorely needed.

Of the numerous sites evaluated, the School of Music's present home, Building 3602 aboard Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia proved best suited for instrumental and academic training. Originally built in 1955 as an 80,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) barracks, Building 3602 was stripped to bare cinderblock and reconstructed with the unique needs of professional military musicians in mind. In April 2005, building 3602 was renamed to McDonald Hall after Captain John D. McDonald, the School of Music's first Commanding Officer at this location.

Housed within the Armed Forces School of Music are nine rehearsal areas (each of which is linked by closed-circuit television) which can accommodate ensembles of virtually any size and more than 100 studios available for individual practice and instrumental instruction. More than 17,000 compositions are kept on file in the music library, and 1,000s of musical recordings, reference materials and publications are also available for student use and training. Additionally, a state of the art repair facility is maintained to service the nearly 3,000 musical instruments presently carried on the School's inventory.

See also


  1. ^ Marine Corps uniforms
  2. ^
  3. ^ Alex Albright, The Forgotten First: B-1 and the Integration of the Modern Navy. Fountain, NC: R.A. Fountain, 2013
  4. ^ U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet Band website: accessed December 19, 2011 at 06:49:53PST
  5. ^ Ibid., accessed December 19, 2011 at 06:53:29PST
  6. ^ Ibid., accessed December 19, 2011 at 06:55:12PST
  7. ^ Ibid., accessed December 19, 2011 at 06:55:37PST
  8. ^ Ibid., accessed December 19, 2011 at 06:57:23PST


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Navy.

  • Navy Band Northwest
  • Navy Band Southwest
  • Navy Band Great Lakes
  • Navy Band Northeast
  • Navy Band Southeast
  • The United States Fleet Forces Band
  • Pacific Fleet Band
  • US Naval Forces Europe Band
  • US Seventh Fleet Band
  • The United States Navy Band
  • US Naval Academy Band
  • Navy School of Music

External links

  • USS Arizona's last band
  • Navy Music History
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