Thursday, September 22, 2011

John Pastin: "I can help with music."

The mood was tense. Hurricane Irene had forced hundreds of distraught New Jerseyans to seek shelter in Rowan University's gymnasium. The college president put out a call for volunteers.

"The first thing that came to me was 'I can help with music,'" said the dean of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts. A saxophonist as well as conductor of the Rowan University Concert Band, he took his sax out of the case and, along with another member of the music faculty, gave the shelter's residents an impromptu concert.

And so, as described in this story from the Gloucester County Times, Navy Musicians Association member John Pastin continues his life of service through music.

Like so many of us, John was once a talented high school musician. "All I wanted to do is perform,” he recently told the Times. He thought of college, of course, but his band director, a former Navy musician, told him about another way a young saxophone player could gain experience. John looked into enlistment as a Navy musician. "I found out what they did for a living and how they supported the services,” he said. “Then the next, I guess you could say, is history."

It's a history I'm proud to have shared with John Pastin, on staff at the School of Music and now at reunions of the NMA.

Military musicians dedicate their talent not to their own glory, but to a cause greater than themselves. Each, at some point, looked at his or her personal desires and abilities, balanced them with the needs of our country, and, like John Pastin, said:

"I can help with music."
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Here's our shipmate, former leader of the U.S. Navy Band Dr. John R. Pastin, conducting the Rowan University Concert Band.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

The School of Music's rigorous training regimen

Computers in the classroom. MP3 players in the practice rooms. What's next--private bathrooms in the barracks?

Oh...never mind.