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Former Navy Band Leaders and Officers

  • Lt. Charles Benter
    1925-1942
  • Cmdr. Charles Brendler
    1942-1962
  • Lt Cmdr.
    Anthony A. Mitchell
    1962-1968
  • Cmdr. Donald W. Stauffer
    1968-1973
  • Cmdr. Ned Muffley
    1973-1978
  • Cmdr.
    William Joseph Phillips
    1978-1984
  • Cmdr. Allen E. Beck
    1984-1989
  • Cmdr. Philip H. Field
    1989-1992
  • Capt.
    William Joseph Phillips
    1992-1995
  • Lt. Cmdr. John R. Pastin
    1995-1998
  • Capt. Ralph M. Gambone
    1998-2007
  • Capt. George N. Thompson
    2007 - 2010
  • Capt. Brian O. Walden
    2010-Present
  • Other Officers

Lt. Charles Benter (Ret.)


1925-1942


Lt. Charles Benter, the first commissioned officer in Navy music, enlisted in the Navy as an apprentice musician in 1905. He was bandmaster of the battleship Connecticutby the time he was 19, the youngest man ever to hold that title.

 

In 1919, he was ordered to Washington and assigned as bandmaster of the Washington Navy Yard Band. After World War I, he set out to recruit the finest musicians from around the country to meet the Navy's demand for a musical unit that would superbly represent the United States Navy. In 1922, the Navy Department began referring to the "Navy Band" instead of the Washington Navy Yard Band in keeping with Bandmaster Benter's efforts to make the Band the official band of the Navy. With the Band at 75 members strong, a special Act of Congress on March 4, 19 25, established the Navy Band as the Navy's permanent representative band and authorized the leader of the Navy Band to receive the pay and allowances of a Lieutenant.

During his tenure as leader, the Navy Band was prominent on NBC's Hour of Memories radio show. Arthur Godfrey was the program's announcer from 1927 to 1939.

 

Along with Dr. Edwin Franco Goldman and John Philip Sousa, Lt. Benter organized the American Bandmasters Association in 1929. Eleven years later, the association recognized the Navy Band as "The World's Finest."

 

Lt. Benter founded the Navy School of Music at the Washington Navy Yard in 1935. He served as leader of the Navy Band under several presidents and was a close friend of President Warren G. Harding.

Following his retirement in 1942, he organized the Washington Metropolitan Police Band and was its leader until 1963.

 

Highlights

- Leads 75-member Navy Band to become a presidential favorite

- Frequently featured on NBC's "Hour of Memories" broadcast


1925

(Mar. 4) President Calvin Coolidge signs bill establishing the United States Navy Band and approving national tours

1927

Welcomes home Col. Charles Lindbergh following his historic transatlantic flight

1929

Performs for Rear Adm. Richard Byrd's homecoming after his South Pole flight

1932

(Feb.) John Philip Sousa makes his last appearance with a major band when he guest conducts the Navy Band for the bicentennial of George Washington's birth

1940

American Bandmasters Association recognizes the Navy Band as "The World's Finest"

Commander Charles Brendler (Ret.)


1942-1962


Cmdr. Charles Brendler, a New York City native, began his Navy career at age 15 as a "landsman for musician" clarinetist aboard the USS Florida in 1913.

Four years later, Cmdr. Brendler joined the Washington Navy Yard Band, predecessor of the United States Navy Band. He was the band's assistant leader prior to becoming its leader in 1942. In 1953, he became the first Navy musician to attain the rank of commander.

During his tenure, the band made numerous national tours and traveled to Canada and the Caribbean . The "Navy Hour" radio program debuted under his direction in 1945, featuring the Band and famous celebrities of the day. It was the longest running show of its kind when it ended in 1968.

Cmdr. Brendler served as president and vice president of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. He was a member of the National Press Club and the only honorary member of the White House Correspondents Association. He received an honorary degree in music from the Washington College of Music in 1943.

During his career he participated in 11 Presidential Inaugural Parades and 30 national tours.

Highlights

- Band's first commander leads 30 tours to 49 states plus Canada, Puerto Rico, - Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, South America and the U.S. Virgin Islands


1945

"Navy Hour" radio show debuts and runs for 23 years

1956

(Jan.) "Sea Chanters" chorus is formed, led by Lt. Harold Fultz and named by Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke

1960

(Feb.) 25 Navy Band members die in tragic plane crash while on South American concert tour with President Eisenhower

 

Leiutenant Commander Anthony A. Mitchell (Ret.)


1962-1968


Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Mitchell is a native of Clearfield , Pa. He joined the Navy in November 1936 and was assigned to the Navy's School of Music in Washington , D.C. Following graduation, he auditioned and was accepted as a clarinetist with the Navy Band. Later he became solo clarinetist and leader of the dance band. In 1956, he was promoted to Warrant Officer and appointed third leader. Four years later, he was promoted to Lieutenant and became assistant leader, and two years later was named the third leader of the Navy Band. Lt. Cmdr. Mitchell organized the annual Washington Area Soloist Festival, which featured top student instrumentalists. He also started the Navy Band's annual "Children's Lollipops Concerts." He performed and conducted throughout the United States and abroad, and frequently served as clinician and adjudicator. He was honored by the District of Columbia for his composition, "Our Nation's Capital March." He also wrote "The National Capital Parks" March and the "John F. Kennedy March." Lt. Cmdr. Mitchell holds a bachelor's degree in music from the Catholic University of America and is a member of the American Bandmasters Association and National Band Association. Following retirement in 1968, he was a music educator in Suitland , Md.

Highlights

- Initiates the Washington Area Soloists Festival and Project Outreach (for over   10,000 children in metro area)

- Organizes first all-service band recordings for The John F. Kennedy Center for   the Performing Arts

- Composes what will become official marches for D.C. and Kennedy Center


1962

Lt. Cmdr. Mitchell conducts first Navy Band performance at Carnegie Hall and performs first Children's "Lollipops" Concert at Watergate

1963

(Nov.) participates in state funeral of President John F. Kennedy

 


Commander Donald W. Stauffer (Ret.)


1968-1973


Cmdr. Donald W. Stauffer is a native of Canton, Ohio. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. with a bachelor's and master's degree in music. In 1954, he received a doctorate of philosophy in music education from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Navy Band in 1942, he played string bass and tuba with the Rochester (N.Y.) Philharmonic and Civic Orchestras.

In 1956 he became leader of the New York Naval Base Band and two years later he was named head of academic training at the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C.

 

Cmdr. Stauffer returned to the Navy Band as third leader in 1960, and in 1966 he became the organization's assistant leader. He was appointed leader on December 30, 1968. As leader, he coordinated the establishment of the Commodores, Ceremonial Band, Port Authority and Country Current as separate Navy Band groups. In addition, the Navy Band was twice awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation during his tenure. Cmdr. Stauffer is a member of the American Bandmasters Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity and the National Bandmasters Association. Following retirement in 1973, he became associate professor of music at Birmingham Southern College in Birmingham, Ala.

Highlights

- establishes the Commodores jazz ensemble (1969), Ceremonial Band, Port Authority (1971) and Country Current country-bluegrass group (1973)

 

1972

MU1 Evangeline Bailey , vocalist, is first woman to report aboard U.S. Navy Band

 

 

 


Commander Ned Muffley (Ret.)


1973-1978


Cmdr. Ned Muffley, a native of Allentown , Pa. , enlisted in the Navy in February 1949. After completing the basic course at the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C., he served as a trumpet instrumentalist in Kodiak, Alaska, and Jacksonville, Fla., and as director of the SEVENTH Fleet Band in Japan. He later served as instructor of the School of Music's advanced course. >

 

In 1965, Cmdr. Muffley became leader of the Boston Naval Base Band and followed with duty as assistant leader of the United States Navy Band. He assumed leadership of the U.S. Naval Academy Band in 1972 after serving as head of the Bureau of Naval Personnel's Music Branch. He was leader of the Navy Band from June 1973 to December 1978. At the invitation of Arthur Fiedler, he was guest conductor for the Boston Pops Orchestra's annual "Navy Night" at Symphony Hall in Boston , Mass. , for six consecutive years.

Upon his retirement he was awarded the Scroll of Honor, the United States Navy League's highest award.

 

Since retiring, he has served as general manager of Jhoon Rhee Karate Institute and as president and owner of his own fitness center in Clinton , Md.

 

Highlights

- becomes first leader to conduct Boston Pops Orchestra, begining annual "Navy   Night" tradition

- begins Summer Ceremony at Leutze Park, Washington Navy Yard, D.C.

- features the "Aquarians," "The Showtimers" and "Showtime USA"

 

1974

(Mar.) Commodores perform on USO-sponsored tour of Scotland, Iceland and Newfoundland. Tour Central and South America

1975

(Mar.) presents 50th Anniversary Concert at the Kennedy Center with guest artists Arthur Fiedler and Julius La Rosa

1976

(Jul.) performs for "Operation Sail" and "Parade of the Tall Ships" marking the nation's bicentennial celebration in New York City

1978

(Mar.) sponsors first International Saxophone Symposium featuring the Concert Band, Commodores and guest artists

 

 


Commander William Joseph Phillips (Ret.)


1978-1984


Capt. William J. Phillips, a native of North Carolina, enlisted in the Navy as a trombone instrumentalist in 1957. He served with Navy bands at sea and ashore before receiving his commission in 1969.

During his career, he served as director of the Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force Pacific Band, the Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet Band, the U.S. Naval Academy Band, and as the only officer to serve twice as the Officer in Charge of the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. Other positions have included serving as Head of Navy Music at the Bureau of Naval Personnel and as Commanding Officer of the Armed Forces School of Music.His Awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and others. Recognition of his abilities also comes from outside the military. He was voted a member of the American Bandmasters Association in 1981, and is a recipient of the Orpheus Award presented by the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.

 

Capt. Phillips is respected as an innovative figure in Navy music. His promotion to captain was the first such recognition of a music officer in Navy history. To provide appropriate training and advancement possibilities for those who may command the U.S. Navy Band, he established an advanced degree program for music officers. Capt. Phillips also serves as an ambassador of the Navy by guest lecturing and conducting musical organizations throughout the United States and Europe, including the internationally renowned Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Military Orchestra of the Guard of Honor of Moscow, Russia.

Capt. Phillips' education and training have not been strictly limited to music. In 1991, he was awarded a bachelor's degree in business administration. In his leisure time, he enjoys yacht racing, racquetball, and squash. Capt. Phillips is married to the former Priscilla Parsons of Massachusetts. They have two children, Jill and Bradford.

 

Highlights

- stages highlights of operas and musicals

 

1981

(Jan.) plays ceremony to welcome home 52 American hostages returning to (Aug.) Country Current entertains President Reagan and Mexican President Portillo at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Md.

(Oct.) Sea Chanters debut as mixed chorus on 206th Navy Birthday Concert in The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performinig Arts Concert Hall

 

Commander Allen E. Beck (Ret.)


1984-1989


Cmdr. Allen E. Beck is the seventh leader of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. A Defiance, Ohio native, Cmdr. Beck earned a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester (N.Y.). While there he performed under the batons of Dr. Frederick Fennell and dr. Howard Hanson, and with the Eastman Wind Ensemble. He received his bachelor's degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

 

Cmdr. Beck began his naval career as a clarinetist with the United States Navy Band. As an enlisted man, he served as woodwind instructor at the Navy School of Music, leader of the Pacific Fleet naval Air Forces Band, and with the Music Branch of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

 

Following his appointment to the rank of warrant officer, Cmdr. Beck directed the Navy unit band in Corpus Christi, Texas, and returned to the School of Music as training officer. Since he was commissioned an ensign, Cmdr. Beck has served as the United States Navy Band's assistant leader, and as both assistant and branch manager of the Bureau of Naval Personnel' Music Branch with responsibility for the entire Navy Music Program.

 

He was named leader of the U.S. Naval Academy Band in 1979, and in 1983 Cmdr. Beck became the first Navy bandmaster to be selected by a commander selection board. He assumed his position as leader of the United States Navy Band in 1984. In December 1988, Cmdr. Beck received an honorary doctorate of music degree from Defiance (Ohio) College. Cmdr. Beck is on the board of directors of the John Philip Sousa Foundation. In addition, he is a member of Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity, the American Bandmasters Association, and the World Association of Symphonic bands and Wind Ensembles.

 

Highlights

- establishes a Navy Band-managed National Tour Operations Department allowing the Band to tour with government funds

 

1985

(Mar.) 60th Anniversary concert features retired Chief Richard Bain (harmonica) and former leaders Commanders Stauffer, Muffley and Phillips

(Nov.) presents Band's first full-length opera production, Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" followed by Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" in 1986

(Dec.) Sea Chanters perform at Kennedy Center Honors salute to Bob Hope (They perform for the Honors again in 2003)

1986

(May) appears at 75th Anniversary of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Fla.

(Jul.) participates in Statue of Liberty rededication festivities in New York City

1987

(Jul.) opens National Public Radio's "Greatest Bands in the Land" series

(Sep.) appears in nationally televised Constitution Bicentennial Parade in Philadelphia, Pa.

(Dec.) opens Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic (Chicago) and clinic with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Karel Husa

1989

(Jan.) American Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural and (Apr.) Bicentennial of George Washington's Inaugural

(Mar.) Country Current entertains Chinese officials at a dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Bush in Beijing, China

 

 

 

 


Commander Philip H. Field (Ret.)


1989-1992


Cmdr. Philip Howard Field is the eighth leader of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. A native of Norwalk, Conn., Cmdr. Field studied with napoleon Cerminara of the New York Philharmonic and Quinto Maganini, director of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, before joining the Navy as a clarinet instrumentalist in 1956.

 

After graduating from the U.S. Navy School of Music, then in Washington, D.C., he performed with navy Bands in Yokosuka, Japan, Norfolk, Va., and Boston, Mass. He directed unit bands on the USS ORISKANY and USS KEARSARGE and then returned to the School of Music as an instructor. Upon advancement to Warrant Officer, he was appointed director of the Pacific Fleet band in Pearl harbor, Hawaii.

 

Cmdr. Field served as administrative officer, operations officer and assistant leader of the U.S. Navy Band, and later as training officer and executive officer of the School of Music in Norfolk, Va. He was leader of the Atlantic Fleet Band from 1980 to 1984, and then returned to the School of Music as commanding officer where he attained his present rank.

 

Cmdr. Field holds a bachelor's degree in music from St. Leo College, Norfolk, Va. campus, and a master's degree in conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He studied with John Paynter at Northwestern and was recently selected for membership in the prestigious American Bandmasters Association. A member of the Pi kappa lambda national Music Honor Society, he is an accomplished composer and arranger, with over 30 published works to his credit.

Highlights

- supports Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with ceremonies and   parades

- Chief Musician Michael Stein's "We Are With You" airs on over 500 radio and    television stations, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and TNN's "Nashville Now"


1990

(May) performs at White House arrival ceremonies honoring Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev

1991

(Nov.) initiates "Music in the Schools" program offering concerts and workshops by Navy professionals in Washington, D.C., area schools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Captain William Joseph Phillips (Ret.)


1992-1995


Capt. William Joseph Phillips

Capt. William J. Phillips, a native of North Carolina, enlisted in the Navy as a trombone instrumentalist in 1957. He served with Navy bands at sea and ashore before receiving his commission in 1969.

 

During his career, he served as director of the Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force Pacific Band, the Commander in Chief Atlantic Fleet Band, the U.S. Naval Academy Band, and as the only officer to serve twice as the Officer in Charge of the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C. Other positions have included serving as Head of Navy Music at the Bureau of Naval Personnel and as Commanding Officer of the Armed Forces School of Music.

 

His Awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and others. Recognition of his abilities also comes from outside the military. He was voted a member of the American Bandmasters Association in 1981, and is a recipient of the Orpheus Award presented by the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.

 

Capt. Phillips is respected as an innovative figure in Navy music. His promotion to captain was the first such recognition of a music officer in Navy history. To provide appropriate training and advancement possibilities for those who may command the U.S. Navy Band, he established an advanced degree program for music officers. Capt. Phillips also serves as an ambassador of the Navy by guest lecturing and conducting musical organizations throughout the United States and Europe, including the internationally renowned Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Military Orchestra of the Guard of Honor of Moscow, Russia.

 

Capt. Phillips' education and training have not been strictly limited to music. In 1991, he was awarded a bachelor's degree in business administration. In his leisure time, he enjoys yacht racing, racquetball, and squash. Capt. Phillips is married to the former Priscilla Parsons of Massachusetts. They have two children, Jill and Bradford.

Highlights

-returns as first captain in Navy music history and only leader to serve two  terms

 

1992

(Sep.) performs at the International Swedish Army Tattoo in Stockholm

(Dec.) receives John Philip Sousa Foundation's Col. George S. Howard Citation of Musical Excellence for Military Concert Bands

1993

(Mar.) receives Music Educators National Conference "Certificate of Excellence"

(May) performs in the Memphis in May "International Festival Tattoo" in Memphis, Tenn.

(Jul.) is featured in the National Independence Day Celebration on the Washington Monument grounds (seventh annual appearance for event)

(Oct.) plays for Bicentennial of the U.S. Capitol and reinstallation of the "Statue of Freedom" to the U.S. Capitol dome, with Liza Minnelli

1994

(Jun.) performs opening ceremony for World Cup Soccer Match at R.F.K. Stadium in Washington, D.C.

(Sep.) presents Newly Published Music Workshop at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

 


Leiutenant Commander John R. Pastin (Ret.)


1995-1998


Lt. Cmdr. John R. Pastin, a native of McKees Rocks, Pa., has been one of the Navy's premier musicians and goodwill ambassadors for over 28 years. Originally a woodwind instrumentalist, he later added voice, and music arranging and conducting to his repertoire.

 

Lt. Cmdr. Pastin enlisted in the Navy in 1968 and served as an instrumentalist with Navy bands in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Seattle, Wash., as well as a featured soloist with the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Md. Under his direction, the Atlantic Fleet Show Band enjoyed successful tours of West Africa and South America. He also served as Director of the Rehearsal Division and Jazz Studies at the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Va.

 

Following his commission as warrant officer in 1982 he was appointed leader of the multi-national, multi-service NATO band in Naples, Italy. This unit was the first to receive the Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation for multi-service organizations. His next assignment was as leader of Navy Band New Orleans, where one of his units was the U.S. Navy Steel Drum Band. Subsequently, Lt. Cmdr. Pastin served as administrative officer and assistant leader of the United States Navy Band and as staff officer in the office of the Chief of Information.

 

Lt. Cmdr. Pastin became leader of the Navy Band on June 1, 1995 after a highly successful tour as director of the Navy band in Orlando, Fla. Lt. Cmdr. Pastin earned a master's degree in conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where he studied with the renowned conductor, the late John Paynter. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and Navy Achievement Medal.

Highlights

- conducts Band and Sea Chanters at Carnegie Hall


1995

(Feb.) receives 1994 Navy Personal Excellence Partnership/Community Service Award for the National Capital Region

(Jul.) "Commodores" jazz ensemble performs at the request of Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith for the American Embassy's July 4th celebrations in Ireland

(Aug.) presents final Children's "Lollipops" Concert hosted by sea creatures Hampton and Nestor

(Dec.) performs at lighting of National Christmas Tree with Jack Jones, Denyce Graves and Kathie Lee Gifford

1996

(Mar.) Navy Band and "Sea Chanters" chorus perform at Carnegie Hall

(Jul.) performs at 300th Anniversary of the Russian Fleet and The Baltic International Festival of the Fleets in Russia

(Aug.) presents final Summer Pageant for 3,000 patrons at Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard, D.C.

(Dec.) opens the 50th edition of The Mid-West Clinic, An International Band and Orchestra Conference (Chicago) with composer Karel Husa

(Dec.) "Navy Live" broadcasts Navy Band Holiday Concert from DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. (for second season)

1997

(Jan.) performs on NBC's "Today Show" during Presidential Inaugural celebration in Washington, D.C.

(Mar.) plays for American Bandmasters Association International Convention in San Diego, Calif.

(May) performs at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Ceremony of Dedication in Washington, D.C.

(Jul.) performs for Fort Vancouver Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular in Vancouver, Wash.

(Oct.) plays at dedication of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery

1998

(May) plays rededication of the Wright Brothers National Memorial with President George H.W. Bush, Buzz Aldrin and David Hartman in N.C.;

(Sep.) makes second appearance at the International Swedish Army Tattoo in Stockholm

(Oct.) performs with guest narrator, Academy Award winner Gregory Peck for the Navy's 223rd Birthday Concert at the Kennedy Center

Captain Ralph M. Gambone (Ret.)


1998-2007


Captain Ralph M. Gambone, a native of Annapolis, Md., enlisted in the Navy in 1969 after receiving his bachelor's degree in music from Towson State College (Maryland). He was first assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Md., as a clarinet instrumentalist and also served as conductor of the Midshipman Stage and Concert Bands. While there he earned a master's degree in music from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

After a tour of duty aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock (CLG 4), Gambone was assigned to the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C. After three years with the Band and a promotion to chief musician, he was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel as Assistant Budget Manager for the Navy Music Program in 1978.


In 1981, he was commissioned an ensign and reported for duty as Music Program Liaison Officer for the Navy Chief of Information in the Pentagon.

After two years as Director, Navy Band San Diego, he was assigned as the United States Navy Band's Supply Officer in 1985, and a year later assumed the duties of the Band's Assistant Leader. From August 1988 to June 1990, he served as Director, SEVENTH Fleet Band, stationed on board the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Yokosuka, Japan, before returning to the United States Navy Band as Assistant Leader. His next assignment took him to the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Va., where he served first as Executive Officer from March to August 1994, then as Commanding Officer.

 

Capt. Gambone became leader of the Navy Band on August 13, 1998, after a highly successful tour as Director, U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Md. He was promoted to his present rank in October 2002. In April 2001, Capt. Gambone was inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (ABA), the professional association of master conductors and musicians. The ABA recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of concert bands and membership is considered the highest honor achievable by American bandsmen. In May 1991, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award in music from Towson State University.

 

His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal (four awards) and others.

 

Highlights

- leads 75th and 80th Anniversary Concerts, receives sixth Meritorious Unit   Commendation and welcomes newest performing group, the "Cruisers"   contemporary music ensemble


1999

(Mar) "Cruisers" contemporary music ensemble formed and in October performs in Keflavik, Iceland

(Aug.) performs for the 100th Anniversary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their National Convention held in Kansas City, Mo.

(Aug.) performs for the first "Festival International de Musiques Militaries de Quebec" in historic Quebec City, Canada

2000

(Jan.) marching in the 111th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Naval Submarine Service

(Mar.) presents 75th Anniversary Concert at DAR Constitution Hall hosted by The Honorable Richard Danzig, Secretary of the Navy

(Jul.) performs at Central Park, Staten Island and on the USS Nassau (LHA 4) for the International Naval Review 2000 in New York City

2001

(Jun.) plays for the dedication ceremony of The National D-Day Memorial with guest speaker President George W. Bush in Bedford, Va.

(Oct.) provides music for the "United in Memory" memorial service at the Pentagon with guest speaker President George W. Bush

(Oct.) performs with guest narrator, actor Tony Curtis for the Navy's 226th Birthday Concert at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

(Dec.) plays opening concert of the 55th edition of The Midwest Clinic, An International Band and Orchestra Conference (Chicago), with guest conductor Robert Jager

2002

(Sep.) videotapes "America the Beautiful" for national television broadcast by the NFL prior to season opening football games

(Sep.) performs for "Beam of Hope" candlelight vigil marking the first anniversary of 9/11 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C.

2003

(Feb.) performs for Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 Memorial Service at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and in Texas

(Mar.) performs at the 69th Annual Convention of the American Bandmasters Association at the University of Maryland (College Park)

(Apr.) Country Current celebrates 30th Anniversary Concert with Bill Emerson and Jerry Gilmore

(May) Sea Chanters give ninth performance with National Symphony Orchestra for nationally televised Memorial Day Concert

2004

(May) performs at the dedication of the National World War II Memorial with guest speaker President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C.

(Jun.) participates in the State Funeral of President Ronald W. Reagan in Washington, D.C.

(Sep.) performs at the seventh Norwegian Military Tattoo in Oslo

(Oct.) performs with guest narrator, Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine for the Navy's 229th Birthday Concert at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., hosted by Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Vern Clark (Return engagement for Mr. Borgnine who participated in 2002)

2005

(Jan.) presents 28th International Saxophone Symposium at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

(Jan.) performs for the 55th Presidential Inauguration

(Feb.) Navy Band, "Sea Chanters" chorus and "Cruisers" contemporary music ensemble perform together on national tour

(Mar.) presents 80th Anniversary Concert at DAR Constitution Hall hosted by The Honorable Gordon R. England, Secretary of the Navy

 


Captain George N. Thompson (Ret.)


2007-2010

 

Captain George N. Thompson

The son of Elizabeth and George Noble Thompson, Sr., Captain Thompson grew up in Philadelphia, Pa., where he began his early musical training on piano. A graduate of the Westminster School in Simsbury, Conn., Capt. Thompson studied at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H.; Amherst College in Amherst, Mass.; and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and Commerce.


Enlisting in 1977, Capt. Thompson completed basic training at RTC Great Lakes and was assigned to the School of Music on board Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va. After completing the Basic Course, he received orders to Navy Band Orlando (Fla.) where he performed on piano with the contemporary music ensemble, “Flagship.” In January 1980 he transferred to Navy Band Newport (R.I.) where he was assigned as a keyboard player and vocalist with “Northeastern Navy Showband.” In 1983, after graduating from the School of Music Intermediate Course, Capt. Thompson received orders to the U.S. SIXTH Fleet Band, homeported in Naples, Italy, where he served as Leader of the jazz/rock unit, “The Diplomats.” Returning to the States, he was selected for advanced training in the Navy’s Enlisted Bandleader Course at the School of Music. Graduating in 1987 as an enlisted bandleader, he received orders to Navy Band Seattle. During this tour, Capt. Thompson was promoted to chief petty officer and was later selected for commissioning as a limited duty officer (line) bandmaster. On November 1, 1990, he became the first African-American to be commissioned a Bandmaster in the history of the United States Navy.


After graduation from Officer Indoctrination School (NAS Pensacola), he received orders to the United States Navy Band where he served as officer in charge of the Ceremonial Unit and as head of the Operations and Administration Departments. In June 1994, Capt. Thompson was assigned as Director, SEVENTH Fleet Band on board USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. He then transferred to Jacksonville, Fla., in 1997 for duty as Director, Navy Band Southeast. In October 1999, he reported to Navy School of Music as Executive Officer and took command of the School in July 2002. From April 2005 to April 2007 he served as Head, Navy Music Program located at Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tenn.


His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation and others.

Captain Brian O. Walden


2010-Present


A native of Trenton, S.C., Capt. Brian O. Walden holds a bachelor’s degree in music with a double major in religious studies from Saint Leo (Fla.) University and a master’s degree in wind ensemble conducting from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass., where he was a student of Charles Peltz, Frank Battisti and William Drury. He also studied conducting with Richard Hoenich, former assistant conductor of the Montreal Symphony. Walden is currently a doctoral student in music education at Boston University. A 2004 fellow at the Conductors Institute of the University of South Carolina, Walden has also studied music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Northern Illinois University, Old Dominion University and Newberry (S.C.) College. He has guest conducted ensembles and performed as a trumpet instrumentalist in over 74 countries. He also holds a graduate diploma in national security strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

 

Walden enlisted in the Navy in 1981 and served as a trumpet instrumentalist in Charleston, New Orleans, Guam, the Marianas Islands and Norfolk. Highlights of these tours were his selection as the Commander, Naval Forces Marianas Sailor of the Year (1988) as well as assistant leader of the U.S. Navy Showband for UNITAS (1991) throughout South America and Africa and tours onboard USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), USS Obannon (DD987), USS Barnstable County (LST 1197). Before assuming his current position, he was the leader of the U.S. Naval Academy Band. At the Navy School of Music in Little Creek, Va., he has served as the executive officer as well as the director of training. Other previous officer assignments include tours as the director of the Allied Forces Southern Europe (NATO) Band in Naples, Italy, and as the director of Navy Band Great Lakes (Ill.).


He has performed with the Virginia Wind Symphony, the Virginia Beach Symphony Orchestra and La Orquesta Salsa y Mas, a Latin salsa ensemble. He is currently director of music at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cambridge, Md., and also served as the orchestral brass instructor for the Virginia Beach Public Schools Academy of Visual and Performing Arts. He has lectured at Old Dominion University on the music of American composer Charles Ives. His current research project is on the music and literature of composer George Thaddeus Jones.


His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Meritorious Unit Award, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (seven awards) and others.


Other Officers


Raymond A. Ascione

Ralph G. Barret

William G. Brittain, Jr.

John R. Bledsoe

Louis Berner, Jr.

Terrence J. Chesson

Paul A. Clemens

Mark R. Cole

Kenneth C. Cole, II

Kenneth Collins

Lorelei A. Conrad

Isaac Daniel

Joseph E. Dolsak

T. David Evans

John H. Farquhar

Carl D. Fite

John D. Fluck

Robert E. Fry

Johann H. Fultz*

Larry E. Gatewood

Michael S. Grant

Harold R. Hessler

David W. Hodge

Ralph M. Ingraham

Melvin P. Kessler

John B. Kite

David S. Kunkel

Bruce A. McDonald

Eugene E. McGowan

John D. Michaelson, II

William D. Myers

John D. Norris

Thomas M. Pesses

John S. Surber

Patrick K. Sweeten

James M. Thurmond

Richard E. Townsend

Preston H. Turner

Ronald Van Hoose Geordie F. O. Kelly