Meet the Musician
Chief Musician Ben Coker,
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Chief Musician Benjamin Coker holds a Bachelor of Music Performance degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of Georgia, where he studied classical guitar with John Sutherland.
Throughout the 1990's, Coker taught private music lessons, worked as a studio musician, and performed with jazz and rhythm & blues groups. From 1993 to 2003, he was the guitarist with the oldies cover band "Straight Up." In 2001, he was chosen as a recitalist at Christopher Parkening's master class in Bozeman, Montana, which led to an opportunity to give a solo guitar concert at the University of Houston in 2002. Coker was a tenor vocalist in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus from 2000-2003. In 2003, their recording of Vaughan Williams' "A Sea Symphony" earned two Grammy awards: Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance.
Coker joined the U.S. Navy in 2003. Upon completion of Musician "A" School, he reported to ATLANTIC Fleet Band in Norfolk, Virginia, for duty with the top-40 band "Four Star Edition." After detaching from ATLANTIC Fleet Band in 2006, he reported for duty in Yokosuka, Japan, with the SEVENTH Fleet Band as guitarist with the show band "Far East Edition." While assigned to SEVENTH Fleet, he embarked on the flagship USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) and performed extensively throughout the band's area of responsibility, which included Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Malaysia, Guam, Indonesia and Australia. He also performed twice with the Tokyo Symphony.
Coker reported to the Naval Academy Band in 2008. He performed with the contemporary entertainment ensemble "Electric Brigade," the Superintendent's Jazz Combo and as solo guitarist for numerous protocol functions. In 2017, Coker joined the United States Navy Band as Information Technology Portfolio Manager, supporting the acquisition and management of the portfolio of IT products and services.
Coker holds the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification. He has also been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (four awards), Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon (two awards), Navy Good Conduct Medal (five awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and Navy Accession Training Service Ribbon.