27 February 2011

Garrison Keillor Praises Navy Bands, Honors Military

Listening to a rebroadcast of yesterday's broadcast of "Prairie Home Companion," featuring Navy Band Southwest, I was struck not only by the band's professionalism, but by host Garrison Keillor's expression of appreciation for Navy bands.

The Navy's bands are "so important in the life of the Navy," he said. He pointed out that they perform for ceremonies, funerals, government and public events, and "nobody does it as well as the military. They do it to a 'T'; everything is perfect, as it should be."

As good as it was to hear this veteran broadcaster compliment our Navy's bands on nationwide radio, I was even more impressed by his honest thanks for the sacrifice of all servicemen and women.

War is a messy business, he said. "There is chaos on both sides"; yet, despite this, "young men and women offer their lives in service to all of the rest of us."

"It should be honored," he said, "and it is honored."

26 February 2011

Navy Band Southwest on Prairie Home Companion

I'm listening to Navy Band Southwest, a featured musical guest on "Prairie Home Companion." They're being well-received; the broadcast is from San Diego.

The band, under the direction of LT Mark K. Corbliss, has already performed a few marches, a service medley and a sing-along version of "America, the Beautiful."

And the show isn't over yet.

You can probably catch a rebroadcast of the show tomorrow, Sunday, 27FEB11, on a local National Public Radio station, or streaming on the web. Details at Prairie Home Companion's website.

And if you do, don't tune out too soon. The band and its trumpet soloist,
Stephanie Robinson, appear throughout the two-hour show.

UPDATE: The show is ending, and the band is playing another march while Garrison Keillor announces the band members' names!

06 February 2011

Mike Burch-Pesses: Leadership by Example

My ongoing search for performance videos of members of the Navy Musicians Association has unleashed a lot of laughter.

Today, I've found a clip of NMA member Mike Burch-Pesses, Director of Bands at Pacific University, delivering closing remarks at the "Music In May" high school music festival and conducting the combined orchestra, band and chorus.

But this time, I'm not laughing. Rather, I'm standing at attention in front of my computer, saluting my old bandmaster.

I never met a finer commissioned officer than Mike Burch-Pesses. He brought to the 7th Fleet Band a daring and risky management technique--leadership by example--that pushed the band to new levels of musical performance and personal behavior.

In this video clip from the conclusion of last year's festival, Mike's inspiring, challenging address to the audience, his conducting of the massed ensembles--and his surprise transformation that leads up to that show-stopper--demonstrate that Commander Burch-Pesses's leadership style hasn't changed.