Tuesday, April 4, 2017

US Navy Band - Augustana College, April 2, 2017 -- Wow!

This Sunday, I saw the U.S. Navy Band at Augustana College in Rock Island. 

While the personnel have changed since I used to see them in the '70s and '80s, my reaction was the same as it was those many decades ago: This is a topnotch band, maybe the topnotch band, full in sound, sharp in appearance, crowd-pleasing in every way, so good, in fact, that the only thing that could make the band better would be having me in it.

Yeah, that mixture of pride and envy has never gone away. I'm a fleet MU, proud of my contributions and my association with the fine fleet bandsmen and women with whom I served. Like them, I loved the DC band because they were special, the best, and I hated the DC band because they were special, the best. And I never understood why they wouldn't take me, because I was special, the best.

Well, I have gotten over that part of it. In fact, I can't recall what talent I had that I assumed would have raised the Navy Band to greater heights of perfection.

Doesn't matter. I'm now quite content to sit in the audience at a Navy Band concert and applaud every proud musician on the stage. I can appreciate a Navy Band performance because I have an MU's understanding of the talent and dedication it takes to create such an ensemble. And I can appreciate the band like any aged sailor who enjoys each musical number more than the one before it because each tune brings us closer to Anchors Aweigh.

Disclaimer: In 1977, after completing a hitch in San Francisco, I got sent to the DC band. It was a short tour of duty; MU2 Mullen checked in at 0800 on a Monday morning and was gone before lunch. This is a long sea story that can only be appreciated in detail and is occasionally related at NMA reunions. It's a transcontinental tale of escalating errors that involves planes, trains, a baffled warrant officer and a chief whose heart was in the right place but whose brains were on terminal leave. When it comes to Navy inefficiency, this story has it all. My father, a WWII fighter pilot, even plays a cameo role in the story. 

Come to the next NMA reunion for a full rendition. I name names and catalog sins.