And if I was going to expend the effort to drive an entire 33.5 minutes to see them in Rock Island, Ill., they'd have to be good. I'm a former fleet bandsman, and I'd been blogging for days about my typical fleet bandsman's love-hate relationhip with the U.S. Navy Band. To keep this old MU happy, the Sea Chanters would have to put on a hell of a show.
|Hat in hand, former MUC Frank Mullen III apologizes to Sea |
Chanters leader MUCS Georgina L. Todd for his recent salvo
of crude carping about the Navy's premiere musical units.
Their performance in Augustana College's packed Centennial Hall moved brisky and hitchlessly, alternating choral numbers with songs and medleys by smaller vocal groups and soloists. In fact, each member of the ensemble is a capable and professional solist.
They had everything. Props. Sets. Choreography. Broadway tunes, pop songs, oldies and newies, all delivered with enthusiam.
And pacing. The performance flew by until, after perhaps an hour, the leader, MUCS Georgina Todd, addressed the audience,stressing that the U.S. Navy Band sends units like the Sea Chanters to remind America of the professionalism of its Navy. Then they let loose the musical guns of patriotism and fired away until the audience was on its feet.
Including me. I admit it: I was enthralled by the Sea Chanters.
Don't get me wrong--I haven't changed my mind about the professionalism of the Navy's fleet bands. There's nothing second-rate about them; they're top-drawer units, every one, and I'm proud to have served in them.
But my first encounter with the Sea Chanters was an eye-opener, and I'm willing to drop some of my bias. In fact, I'll offer this group the highest accolade I can think of:
The Sea Chanters are as good as any musical unit in the fleet.