- A Message from the Commanding Officer
- In Memoriam:
Cmdr. Donald W. Stauffer
Cmdr. Philip H. Field
- International Saxophone Symposium Celebrates 35 Years
- Spotlight on...MU1 Shana Sullivan
A Message from the Commanding Officer
2011 marked my first full year as commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Band, and what a great year it was. This year the band played over 1,600 jobs for over 600,000 people. That includes four national concert tours, with shows in 18 states. We performed opening day at Fenway Park, Nationals Park and performed the national anthem and the halftime show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans during Sunday Night Football. We welcomed President Barack Obama to the Sail Loft, in addition to performing the change of responsibility ceremonies for the chief of naval operations and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We performed for Navy Weeks in Cincinnati, Austin and Philadelphia. In January, we hosted the International Saxophone Symposium, featuring guest artist Branford Marsalis.
We welcomed several new members to the band, and bid farewell to others. We wished a final fair winds and following seas to two of our former leaders. Musicians were married and babies were born. Life churns on, and the Navy Band continues to make the great music and spread the Navy message that it’s been doing for nearly nine decades.
It’s difficult to describe to people what it’s like coming to work every day, knowing that you lead some of the finest men and women in our Navy. The musicians here are constantly forging ahead and improving their craft, and we all work together to make sure that all of you get the best product the Navy has to offer.
We’re kicking off what I know will be another outstanding year. It starts with our 35th International Saxophone Symposium at the end of January, and will continue with more tours, more Navy Weeks, more public concerts, more ceremonies, and whatever else we are called to do. Happy New Year!
Cmdr. Donald W. Stauffer 1919-2011
Cmdr. Philip H. Field 1938-2011
by Senior Chief Musician Jim Logan
(On Thursday, Nov. 17, we lost two former leaders of the Navy Band who served the Navy music program a combined 68 years. Each in their own right served with distinction and made significant contributions to the Navy, the nation and our musical heritage – Master Chief Musician Aaron Porter, public affairs director)
Cmdr. Donald W. Stauffer served as fourth leader of the United States Navy Band from 1968-1973. He was a native of Canton, Ohio, and joined the U.S. Navy Band in 1942. Though originally hired to play string bass and tuba, he eventually became the first full-time string bassist for the band. Receiving a doctorate in philosophy and music education from Catholic University, Stauffer became the first enlisted member in the military bands to earn a doctorate while on active duty.
Shortly after his appointment as a warrant officer in 1956, Stauffer became officer in charge of the New York Naval Base Band. A highlight of his years in New York was one of historical significance as well: a performance by the band on radio station WQXR marked the very first time musicians in the United States were broadcast using a new innovation called the stereo microphone.
Following service as director of the Atlantic Fleet Band, Stauffer was given a series of appointments that brought him back to Washington, D.C. The first was as head of academic training at the Navy School of Music, then third officer and later assistant leader of the U.S. Navy Band.
Stauffer was named officer in charge/leader of the U.S. Navy Band in 1968, succeeding Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Mitchell. From his earliest days as leader, Stauffer placed great emphasis and focus on diversity and was instrumental in bringing the first woman into the Navy music program, Evangeline Bailey, in 1972. He oversaw the creation of the Commodores jazz ensemble in 1969, the Port Authority popular music ensemble in 1971 and Country Current country-bluegrass ensemble in 1972. The creation of these specialty groups was a significant accomplishment of his tenure that recognized the band’s multi-faceted musical talents and increased the band’s outreach to a more diverse audience in Washington and on national tours. Stauffer made sure the U.S. Navy Band played a key part in the massive “Heritage of the March” project with project director Robert Hoe. The band recorded the first 15 record albums for a collection that eventually totaled 184 albums featuring bands from around the world.
After his retirement in 1973, Stauffer served as associate professor at Birmingham Southern College, orchestra director at Altamont Preparatory School and founder and conductor of the Birmingham Community Concert Band.
Cmdr. Philip H. Field served as eighth leader of the United States Navy Band from 1989-1992. A native of Norwalk, Conn., he joined the Navy in 1956 as a clarinet instrumentalist. After graduating from the U.S. Navy School of Music, he performed with Navy Bands in Yokusaka, Japan, Norfolk and Boston. He directed unit bands aboard USS Oriskany (CV 34) and USS Kearsarge (CV 33), and then returned to the Navy School of Music as an instructor. Upon advancement to warrant officer, he was appointed director of the Pacific Fleet Band in Pearl Harbor.
|Cmdr. Field rehearses the Concert Band. U.S. Navy file photo|
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. He was leader of the Atlantic Fleet Band, and returned to the School of Music as commanding officer prior to his appointment as officer in charge/leader of the U.S. Navy Band. His career culminated in a final assignment as head of the music branch (BUPERS-654) until his retirement on Sept. 1, 1993.
The years of Field’s service as officer in charge/leader of the U.S. Navy Band were years of transition, not only for the U.S. Navy, but the world as the Cold War came to an end. With Field at the helm, the Navy Band hosted a visit from the First Orchestra of the Ministry of Defense, U.S.S.R. The objective of this exchange was to provide a better understanding between the two nations and their armed forces, and featured a visit to the Sail Loft by the Soviet ensemble.
In 1990, as Operation Desert Shield was underway, the Navy Band helped make sure service members serving overseas knew that their efforts and sacrifice had the support of the entire country by recording for distribution an original song by Chief Musician Mike Stein, “We Are With You.” The song was videotaped and recorded by the band, played on ships for those serving in the Persian Gulf and was distributed to 124 media outlets throughout the country. Media coverage of the recording culminated in an appearance by the U.S. Navy Band on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
During his very illustrious career, Field held every rank except ensign, from seaman recruit to commander, including the warrant officer ranks, and served in every prominent position in the Navy music program. Field received a bachelor’s degree in music from St. Leo College in Norfolk and a master’s degree in conducting from Northwestern University.
International Saxophone Symposium Celebrates 35 Years
by Petty Officers 1st Class Will Kelly and Josh Arvizu, Saxophone Symposium Staff
Mark your calendar for the 35th International Saxophone Symposium, to be held Jan. 20 and 21 on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. This year’s symposium will be the first to feature the band’s new principal saxophonist, Musician 1st Class Jonathan Yanik, at the evening marquee concert on Friday, Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. It is fitting that at this concert the Navy Band will also welcome back as soloist retired Master Chief Musician Dale Underwood, who served as soloist and principal saxophonist of the band for 30 years and who founded the Saxophone Symposium in 1978, fostering the program’s growth until his retirement in 1997. This concert will also feature Italian saxophone virtuoso Mario Marzi and France’s Diastema Saxophone Quartet, one of the world’s leading saxophone ensembles.
Additionally, the Commodores will perform a concert on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m., featuring renowned jazz saxophonist Danny McCaslin. Critics have hailed McCaslin as “a versatile player who moves easily between inside and outside musical zones,” with a “fluidity and grace to his playing even when he’s pushing at envelopes.” “Never sounding more confident, McCaslin delves into angular post-bop, rich, polyphonic funk, ethereal balladry and so much more.”
In addition to the above concerts, this two-day event will feature dozens of saxophone recitals, lectures, masterclasses and saxophone quartet performances, with a wide variety of music and topics that will appeal to beginning, high school, college, professional and amateur saxophonists, as well as anyone with an interest in the instrument. Check out the Saxophone Symposium schedule at www.navyband.navy.mil. Best of all, all events are completely free with no tickets required! We hope you can join us for this exciting musical, cultural and educational event! All events will be at the George Mason University Center for the Arts at 4400 University Drive in Fairfax, Va.
We’ll see you there!
Spotlight on...Musician 1st Class Shana Sullivan
by Senior Chief Musician Juan Vazquez
For Musician 1st Class Shana Sullivan, a vocalist for the Cruisers, contribution and commitment are on the top of her list.
Where are you originally from and how did you get started in music?
I am from Lufkin, a small town in east Texas. My musical training began with my parents’ country band, called Vicki and the HomeTowners. I would hang out as my parents rehearsed, dad on bass, later the steel guitar while my mother sang all the country classics. I loved it; ultimately that is how I learned to sing. My dad would play the bass and I would sing along. To this day it is my favorite instrument and the one that I rely on the most.
As a child, I would make up songs and give concerts for the neighbors (whether they wanted to listen or not). I had a big round hairbrush that I used for a microphone and I would dress up, singing my little heart out! My parents would put out lawn chairs, clap and cheer. They have always been so supportive of my dreams. Later in my teens, I won the title of Teen Miss Lufkin which started my musical career. I began singing at local rodeos and performed with the Louisiana Hayride for a few years, which is where Elvis Presley got his start! I sang in the show choir until my graduation from high school.
I never received any formal training, but had an excellent teacher in junior high school, Mr. Miller. He saw my potential and pushed me to pursue my talent.
Tell us about your experiences in the fleet.
After joining the Navy and graduating from boot camp and the School of Music, I filled out a “dream sheet” of my duty preferences. Of course, I picked San Diego, Hawaii and Florida. I also wrote “anywhere but Japan.” Being from a small town in Texas, I didn’t think I would like being overseas. Guess where I was stationed? It turned out to be the greatest experience of my life. I toured all of Asia with the U.S. 7th Fleet Band for four years. We were assigned to USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and I spent at least four or more months at sea each year. I loved it! I traveled to places that one could only dream of visiting: Bali, Thailand, Australia. Singapore, Russia and Hong Kong just to name a few. For a girl from a small country town, it was a dream of a lifetime. I met some of the most wonderful people on my tour there. After Japan, I was stationed in Memphis, Tenn., for a year. While there, the Navy Band announced an opening for their contemporary ensemble, the Cruisers. I auditioned and was selected!
Could you tell us a little about the group?
The Cruisers are a nine piece contemporary music ensemble. We play a variety of music from top 40, R&B, Motown and classic rock. Our primary roles are creating goodwill and recruiting. Working along with the Navy Office of Community Outreach, we perform at a variety of recruiting venues each year as well as the Navy birthday concert, the Navy ball, the Navy Band’s holiday concert and Concerts on the Avenue. As one the group’s vocalists, I also perform the national anthem for many events around the capital region. During the summer we typically play festivals and outdoor venues. We have fun, love what we do and our audiences tend to respond enthusiastically.
You are the Cruiser’s leading petty officer. What is your role?
My number one role as the leading petty officer of the Cruisers is to take care of my people. I work for these great musicians and my role is to support them and keep them on track. On a daily basis, I keep everyone up to date with our busy schedule and assist them with administrative issues. I basically tell everyone where to be, when to be there, what to wear and where we are going! I like things to run smoothly so my ultimate goal is to have everyone know exactly what they are doing and when.
Can you tell of us three highlights since joining the Cruisers?
Three events that stand out in my mind would be performances for the vice president, performing at Nationals baseball games and our first tour in Florida. I also love outdoor gigs where there are lots of kids dancing with us. It is so much fun to see people truly happy and having a great time. It is the best reminder of what our mission really is.
Are there any goals that you are currently pursuing?
Earning a promotion to chief musician is an immediate priority for me. It has been a goal since I joined the Navy. It represents tradition, honor and being a part of something bigger than you. That will be a memorable day for me. As far as life goals, I am working towards a nursing degree. While in the Navy, I will finish up all my prerequisites and then when I retire I will start nursing school. I have always loved medicine and it is a strong interest and passion of mine. Hopefully, I will be able to use my music in some capacity to help heal others. I have been learning to play guitar and that is definitely a huge goal for me. This summer I want to be able to accompany myself on a tune at a concert; we’ll see if that becomes a reality.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
With a family and working full time, it is difficult for me to have hobbies…I practice Power Vinyasa Yoga and love to read. I am an avid reader and I love to lose myself in a good book. I also love to cook and when not preparing for the chief’s test or school, I enjoy playing my guitar.