Friday, March 9, 2012

There's a first time for everything.

Never, ever, ever thought I'd do this. Ever.

I was a fleet bandsman. None of those special bands for me. No sir, I was the real thing, a salty, bag-band playing, urinal-cleaning fleet MU who earned every stripe the hard way. Those D.C. folks were a special, high-class, uppity breed of semi-civilians in sailor suits.

But my wife sees in the paper that the Sea Chanters are coming to our area. We really should go, honey, she says. These are your "peeps."

Merely touching these tickets makes me feel disloyal to the fleet.
I try to explain that the U.S. Navy Band 's Sea Chanters are not my peeps. It's not just that these are special bandsmen. It's not just that these kids were in junior high school Glee Clubs while I was conducting unreps on the Blue Ridge. It's not just that I was a real MU and these people are-- whatever they are. It's--it's hard to explain.

Okay, I'll admit it. I resent the Navy Band and all its units and personnel. It's not a baseless prejudice. I dislike them all for a good reason: they wouldn't take me.

So I'm torn. I should keep this all to myself. after all, I blog for the fraternity of Navy Musicians. I bring us all together. We are one. Kumbaya.

On the other hand, if I can't bitch, whine and moan, what's the point of having been an MU?

So, okay, I'll do it. I'll go to the Sea Chanters concert next week.

But I won't like it. I promise. 


Tim Foley said...

Frank go see them for the sake of a musical concert experience. They're awesome, your time will be well spent.

I don't think anybody who knows me out there will dispute my claim to being a "fleetie" like Frank. My last year in the Navy, thanks to a fortunate alignment of the heavenly bodies (and LCDR Pastin), was at the Navy Band in DC. I'm here to tell you, these guys are for real, and owe the "Fleeties" nothing in terms of hard work and sacrifice. I came away from my time at the USNB with a new respect for them and admiration for their musical prowess,which is awe inspiring, across the board. They are, without exception, a great part of and a credit to Navy Music. Go see the Sea Chanters, Frank, you'll love them.

Anonymous said...

Well if it makes you feel better I was at the SOM going through the SMC around 2007 and the Sea Chanters came to do a performance for the students. One of the "A" Schoolers asked what the difference was in the special bands and fleet bands...The unit leader of the group, a MUCS, said: "Unlike the Fleet...We at the DC Band hire professionals" Nuff said.

Tom Gillette said...

Frank: Don't listen to fleetie Tim Foley-- I think "heavenly bodies" and "alignment" means something much lewder to me than to him. The Navy Band needed someone with experience cleaning urinals, so LCDR Pastin put in for Foley, that's all!

As a fellow midwesterner facing the same glum prospect on this weekend, may I hope you looked in the paper for alternate "musical experiences", as my former shipmate Tim Foley would call them.

Frank, I hope as you got into the car, your wife leaned over to you put her lips close to your ears and softly whispered "It's 106 miles from Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses..."

If you don't hit the gas and head into the city, you'll spend all of Saturday and Sunday huddled, fetal position in the shower, trying to wash this blot off you.

Foley-- clean my urinal!

Anonymous said...

"Unlike the Fleet...We at the DC Band hire professionals" -that is absolutely a minority (VERY minority) opinion. Besides, they're singers...

Tom Gillette said...

Could any of the Sea Chanters possibly know any of the following:

What march is number 12 in the Fillmore book, and on what measure/what beat is the unwritten but always played cymbal crash late?

Besides FFF, what other dynamic markings are in "The Klaxon?"

What and where is the SOM?

Can they play "Hayburner?"

What are those strange symbols on the papers they hold, the ones on the lines and spaces that are near the words?

How much "Cleaner, Pine Oil, 1 gal." would you add to a bucket of water?

What is "NeverDull used for?"

Parades. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I'm not defending singers, just the band! I prefer to spend my time playing the same couple of tunes over and over, in the snow, wind, rain, heat, cold and mud.

The Sea Chanters are entertaining, hard-working, and talented. But yeah... still singers.

Tim Foley said...

Tom Gillette clearly is still the man. Well done, Tom. But clean the urinal yourself.