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Fanfare Newsletter

November/December 2010, Volume 31 Number 6
  • A Message from the Commander
  • An Interview with Dr. Mallory Thompson
  • Season of Magic
  • Spotlight on...
    Navy Band web team and interview with MUC Stacy Loggins
  • Navy Band's 34th International Saxophone Symposium
  • Congratulations and Farewell

A Message from the Commander

imageThis time of year is always busy as we strive to complete our holiday plans and preparations before those special days are upon us. I am reminded that it is also a good time to be thankful for what we have as well as our privilege to serve the nation with our musical gifts. As the holiday season approaches, I also want to encourage everyone to take time to keep our Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen and Soldiers deployed worldwide in your thoughts and prayers. Their sacrifices ensure our safety and freedom, and for that we will always be grateful.


This year marks the 24th season of national tours for the Commodores Jazz Ensemble. They are now touring parts of the Midwest region and continue to delight audiences with their own special brand of world-class big band jazz. If you live in any of the tour cities and have not had the chance to hear this exciting band live, I invite you to attend a concert; you will not regret it. This issue of Fanfare and our website contain the entire tour schedule.


At this moment, in addition to supporting various ceremonies and other official functions in the nation’s capital, we are busy preparing for our annual holiday concert at DAR Constitution Hall on December 18 and 19 at 7:30 and 3 p.m. respectively. As many of you may recall, last year’s performances were cancelled due to massive snowstorms. We remain confident that our “Season of Magic” show will go on as planned this year. Please make one of these performances a part of your holiday tradition and make your request for tickets early.


Warm Regards and Happy Holidays!

An Interview with Dr. Mallory Thompson

by MUCS Aaron L. Porter


Dr. Mallory Thompson







Dr. Mallory Thompson, director of bands, professor of music and coordinator of the conducting program at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, performed as a guest conductor of the Concert Band on September 19th at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va.  Fanfare had the opportunity to interview Dr. Thompson about her experience rehearsing and visiting with the band.


First of all, Dr. Thompson, thank you for being our guest, and for conducting the band.  What are your impressions, so far, of the Navy Band, and your first rehearsal?

Mallory Thompson (MT):  Ah, well, they are terrifically talented musicians, very well prepared, it’s a wonderful ensemble, they’re flexible, they’re willing, anything I ask them to do, they can do. It’s just a total pleasure. I really am thoroughly enjoying myself.  It’s like getting a new car, you know, you want to drive it fast, and test everything out and see what it can do.  It’s a fantastic machine, and I mean that as a very high compliment.


You’ve just come back from viewing a funeral at Arlington Cemetery.


MT:  Yes.


And what was that experience like for you?


MT:  Well, it was very moving. My father was in the military, he fought in World War II and there was a military honor guard at his funeral a year and a half ago, and of course this made me think of that. It’s kind of a strange dichotomy, isn’t it? It’s such a beautiful setting, so idyllic and peaceful, and beautiful, but with such a heavy heart for the people who are going through the experience, because we can all empathize. I’m really very glad that the band took me, so I could see it, see that aspect of what the band does, and see how it serves such an important role for the family.


Yes, that really is our number one mission, and while we very much value the other things we do, like concerts, it’s doing that well that allows us to perform those other functions. It’s something most musicians come here not really knowing a whole lot about, but in time, they learn more about the ceremonial aspect of the job.


MT:  Well, I don’t think there’s any way they could know about that aspect without witnessing it.  You can read about it, but until you see it, you can’t really know what it is. And I think: what trumpet player wouldn’t be moved by playing Taps?


Based on your experience today, would you recommend a military band to your students?


MT: I’ve recommended military bands to my students for years. I think it’s a wonderful career option for them, and it’s one that I’ve encouraged, the more experiences I have with the military bands.


I know this isn’t your first experience with a military band…


MT: Right…and having those opportunities for me is incredibly meaningful. I know firsthand the level of musicianship of these ensembles, the variety of experiences that they get as players and the responsibilities in the form of service, as well. I recommend military bands to my students all the time.


One thing we try to do is to try to attract the kinds of musicians who would have the experience and abilities we’re looking for, and who could come here and audition successfully.


Dr. Mallory Thompson with the US Navy Concert Band
Dr. Mallory Thompson rehearses the Concert Band in the Historic Sail Loft on the Washington Navy Yard during the week leading up to the special concert held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va.

MT:  You know, one thing you could do, if you don’t already, but if you don’t….it could be really great to have students go back to their alma maters to play recitals, or have a brass quintet, or woodwind quintet go back and do that.  I think that’s the best publicity.

I think another thing that is really impactful is when you play at the Mid West Clinic, and I’m not saying that self-serving because I’m on the board of the clinic, but I just know how much everyone looks forward to the military band concerts.  And maybe that’s a pain in the neck to do that kind of traveling at that time of the year (mid-December), but boy, I’ll tell you, that’s huge in the profession.


Related to that, what aspects of this job do you try to impress upon your students?


MT: Well, students, when they are preparing for an audition, will come in and play a rep list for me, and I’ll give them feedback. If there are a number of students that are taking the same audition, we’ll do a screened audition, and I’ll listen, and call out excerpts for them to play. And then I’ll give them notes on the audition, and tell them who I think would have won the audition, in my opinion. I think that….wherever you are in your career, it’s all the same…you’re working on the same things…making good attacks, making good releases, playing musically, showing a wide dynamic range, and not taking anything musical for granted.


I also talk to them about the interview, if they make it far enough to get to the interview, and I’ll tell them, “You better be ready to speak like an intelligent person! In the case of a younger person, I say, “Just don’t talk too much, don’t try to be funny, think about where you’re going, and think about the professionalism you want to exhibit.” So, whenever I do this, I always ask myself, “How can I help my students do a better job of preparing?” And every time, I get answers that I hope will help me do a better job for them.


Do they ever ask you about military band jobs, and what’s involved, in your experience?


Dr. Mallory Thompson in rehearsal with the US Navy Concert Band
The U.S. Navy Band Concert Band is conducted by Dr. Mallory Thompson during a special concert held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va.

MT: No. They never ask me. They know that I go (guest conduct military bands), because I tell them about things. They really don’t think past theaudition. So, if they speak to me about it, then I’m able to tell them a little bit more. It’s never in a derogatory sense, I mean, every job has a balance of this and that, and the other, and nobody gets to do just whatever the one thing might be that they like the best. And, every part of a job should be done very well. But, if they do an audition, I have a chance to talk to them about it a little bit, and make them think about things. I think the worst interview someone can have would be if they never thought about anything except the repertoire that they play.


In your opinion, being a member of the board of the Mid West Clinic, what do you think the Navy Band could do to foster our relationships at those kinds of events?


MT:: I really don’t think you need to be doing anything other than what you’re doing. You’re making good quality recordings, the group, I think, just keeps getting better, which is everybody’s goal. I think the band, by its presence shows leadership in the field. I think the outreach is good, with touring and things. I think the best thing would be to get more individuals or little groups out to their alma maters, and play and model what kind of musician works in this organization. And then kids (will say to themselves), “Wow, what a great life! I’d like to aspire to do that, if I could.” And especially, it could be a different form of PR especially if it’s a young member, who goes back, soon, to their alma mater, where people still know them. So that they (the students) look up to them for having this position, but they also hang around with them, and they think, “Wow, this is really a great life!”


And the same teachers are there that this person studied with, who can introduce them to the students.


MT:  Right.


Well, Dr. Thompson, thank you again for your time. We really appreciate your coming by and taking the time to give us your thoughts. The band is looking forward to your concert at the Hylton Center. It’s been a great experience for them.


MT:  Well, I’m really thrilled to be here, and I’m looking forward to the concert as well. Thank you.







Season of Magic

by MU1 Adam K. Grimm

Petty Officers 1st Class Amanda Polychronis, left, and Jennifer A. Stothoff, right, perform as “Toy Sailors” during the 2008 Navy Band Holiday Concert “Season of Magic” U.S.


The United States Navy Band presents “Season of Magic,” the band’s 2010 Holiday Concert at DAR Constitution Hall on Saturday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 19 at 3:00 p.m. This year’s concert marks 727 days since the last Navy Band holiday concert. On December 19, 2009, a Category 3 nor’easter blasted the East Coast, setting a Washington, D.C. record for December snowfall (16.4 inches). The Navy Band was forced to cancel both concerts as everything in the Washington metropolitan region shut down for nearly a week.


Captain Brian O. Walden, commanding officer and leader of the Navy Band, presents a musically diverse program featuring members of the Concert Band, Sea Chanters, Commodores, Country Current and Cruisers. Set against the backdrop of Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem, “Christmas at Sea,” the band explores the magic of winter, memories, peace and family. Santa Claus has promised to adjust his busy schedule to be able to visit us at Constitution Hall, so we encourage you to bring the entire family. As always, there will be something for everyone at this year’s concert! From Captain Walden and the men and women of your United States Navy Band, have a safe and happy holiday!

Spotlight on the Navy Band web team

by MUCS Juan Vazquez

Navy Band Archives TeamU.S. Navy Band website team, from left to right, Musician 1st Class Jerremy D. Buckler, Chief Musician Stacy B. Loggins and Musician 1st Class Adam K. Grimm.


The United States Navy Band has a new website. Chief Musician Stacy Loggins and his team have created an exciting and user friendly site that has something for everyone.


Tell us about the new website.


There were three specific goals in mind.  First, we wanted to enhance the website with more substance, presenting information that is relevant to the public.  The interface and navigation must be simple and reliable.  Second, it has to present the proper mix of two very diverse areas…music and the United States Navy.  Third, it needs to represent our organization in a personal sense and encourage visitors to learn about individual members.  We had many meetings to try to figure all of that out and I was really fortunate to have some great people to work with on the web team: Musician 1st Class Adam Grimm (assistant webmaster, a great mind, and a fine graphic artist who created many incredible graphics for the site) and Musician 1st Class Jeremy Buckler (the social media coordinator who manages our presence on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr).


The previous site was functional and got the point across, but we wanted to try and take that up a few notches.  We wanted to represent this fine organization in the best way possible knowing that the vast majority of people that will experience the Navy Band will do so on the internet.  This, in many respects, is the only way that people around the world will know who we are and what we stand for.  It is first contact.  For this reason, the website needed to be an extremely positive “statement” about the organization.  That was the concept that drove the design and always “reined us in” when thinking about how we were going to do it. 


We worked on the website for about a year.   I took over as webmaster in October 2009 and we launched this new website in September 2010.   In my opinion, it has some very interesting features coupled with common functionality.  The homepage has a clickable slideshow, or billboard, that takes the user to various features of the website.  We really wanted to represent each performing unit of the band equally so there is an “Upcoming Events” feature on the home page where the visitor can link to each performing unit, see when their next performance is, or go to the full calendar and see performances a month at a time.  

Other new features include a ”Historic Moment” page that will change every other month (where you can read about an important person or event from Navy Band history), an online version of the “fanfare” newsletter and links to our all new social media sites (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr).  There are also updated biographies on the biography pages.


One aspect of the site that I’m very proud of is the creation of instrument slideshows on the all of the portrait/bio pages.  A considerable amount of time was spent coordinating with Chief Musician Steve Hassay, and Musicians 1st Class Shana Catandella and Christian Johanson to create different slideshows.  I think it is a subtle thing, but I really like it.  The calendar and national tour page are much more interactive with drop down “cards” that give extra information.  There is a much more interesting and intuitive navigation system too; I think that getting around the site is now pretty easy.  There is also a lot of new artwork on the site.  Hopefully, overall, the website is professional, with a modern design, and represents the Navy Band and the Navy in a very positive way.

What got you interested in creating this site?

I’ve been interested in art and design for a long time.   I was actually a double major in college for the first two years: art and music.  It was extremely time consuming being in two separate artistic disciplines so I eventually had to pick just one.  I chose music, though I never lost my love for art.  I became interested in plants and landscapes, going on to earn a Certificate in Landscape Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture.  All of these interests led me to my work on the website. 


A few years ago, I designed a very small website for my band, and I found it challenging, intriguing and rewarding all at the same time.  Web design, for me, is an incredible mixture of a two different areas: the technical and the artistic.   Web sites need to be visually appealing.  Pages have to make sense, be well balanced, have a proper text to image proportion, etc. Landscape architecture and website design are not that different.  With a landscape, even though there is a different “palette,” you really need to understand this spatial concept and design with this knowledge. When I was in architecture school, they hammered that into us.  Also in school, I learned a variety of graphic design software that was really my strength for the project at the beginning.  At first I didn’t really know any HTML at all.  I designed the Tobago Bay site from a graphic standpoint, not having any knowledge of HTML, and had to learn it from the ground up.  I read a lot of books, found online tutorials, etc., and while I understand a lot of things now, it was much more difficult than I had originally thought.  It is still a continual learning process.  I’m just really glad that I’m surrounded by such talented people. 

What is on the horizon for the new site?

We will be offering a ”Video Spotlight.”  With our new video capability, we are planning on having some other very interesting videos online as well.  The online version of the “Fanfare” newsletter will offer extended spotlight interviews.  We recently added a “Featured Performer” item to the site.  You can easily link to a band member’s portrait and biography.  Our event calendar will be aggressively maintained allowing folks from all over the United States time to plan attending upcoming performances.  As of this interview, we have performance dates through May 2011.

The history and discography sections will be much more extensive in the coming months.  There is a wealth of material in our archives department that we plan to tap into, including photographs and information that I think people will find quite interesting.  The education section is going to be greatly expanded as well, and we are hoping to add more recent recordings and showcase other Navy Band activities. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

First and foremost I enjoy spending time with my family. My wife and two boys give everything meaning.  Like most musicians, my job is also my hobby, and I enjoy being a percussionist.  I am the lead singer in a calypso band where I also play steel pans.  When I have time, I enjoy movies.  I also have a deep interest in all aspects of design, from interior to exterior.  I love gardening and look forward to “playing” around in the garden a bit more next year.

Navy Band's 34th International Sxophone Symposium

by MUCS Aaron Porter

Make your plans now to attend the Navy Band’s 34th International Saxophone Symposium, on January 7 and 8, 2011 at the George Mason University Center for the Arts at 4400 University Drive in Fairfax, Va. Clinics and recitals on Friday the 7th start at 4 p.m., and the opening concert is at 8 p.m. featuring the Concert Band and guest artists Branford Marsalis, Chien-Kwan Lin, Barry Cockroft and the Concert Band’s principal saxophonist, Senior Chief Musician Timothy Roberts. Clinics on Saturday the 8th are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the concluding concert is at 8 p.m. with the Commodores jazz ensemble featuring guest artist Branford Marsalis. All events are free with no tickets required, so mark your calendars now, and keep an eye on our Web site, for more information about the symposium.











Congratulations and Farwell

Congratulations and Farewell to...


MUC Robert  A. Vuono MUC Russell V. Gross

Chief Musician

Robert A. Vuono

Chief Musician

Russell V. Gross


We wish fair winds and following seas to Chief Musicians Robert Vuono and Russell Gross on the occasion of their retirement from active duty. Chief Vuono served 24 years, not only with the Navy Band, but also Navy Band Sixth Fleet (Naples, Italy), Navy Band Newport, The U.S. Naval Academy Band and the U.S. Navy School of Music (Norfolk, Va.). Chief Vuono served as a trumpet instrumentalist, piano instrumentalist and staff arranger. Later, he returned to the Navy School of Music as an instructor before going on to be a staff arranger for the Navy Band. Chief Gross entered the Navy at the same time as Vuono and both attended the school of music basic course together. After a brief time at school, Gross won an audition for the U.S. Navy Band but served two years at Navy Band Orlando while awaiting his orders to transfer. During his long tenure at the Navy Band, Gross served as contrabass clarinet/saxophone instrumentalist, piano instrumentalist and clarinet instrumentalist. Additionally, Gross was an enlisted conductor for the band and conducted the Concert Band on many occasions.


Congratulations To...


Chief Musician Curt R. Duer on receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.