The United States Naval Academy Marching Band may head up a column of Midshipmen on parade before dignitaries on Worden Field, advance into Navy/Marine Corps Stadium for a contest on the grid iron, escort a fallen shipmate to his final resting place, or represent the Navy and Naval Academy on “Main Street, USA” in their Memorial Day celebration. In addition, the Concert Band performs a year-round concert series that is both highly acclaimed and well received. Performances feature well rounded programs of light classics, popular melodies, patriotic songs, and of course, marches chosen from the band’s extensive music library or prepared by the staff arrangers. Special events include the Side-By-Side concert featuring local High School musicians chosen to play with the band under the baton of a special guest conductor, and the annual Finale concert featuring all Naval Academy Band ensembles and closing with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”, complete with live cannon fire. Smaller ensembles are featured in the Chamber Music Series, a variety of recitals planned and presented by individual band members. The Electric Brigade, the Navy’s premier Top 40 Band, aids recruiting by acquainting young Americans with the Navy and the Armed Forces, in addition to performances for the Brigade of Midshipmen in functions ranging from formal occasions such as the Graduation Ball during Commissioning Week to informal dances, pep rallies, and company picnics. These are but a few places where “The Navy’s Oldest and Finest Band” continues the long tradition of musical excellence and service to the United States begun so many years ago. From its 66 members, the band also calls upon two jazz groups, brass and woodwind quintets, trombone and clarinet quartets, tuba and percussion ensembles, and two reception combos.
Each member of the band hopes to add his or her mark to the progress which has seen a walrus-mustachioed fifer and drummer grow into one of America’s top ranking musical organizations. A succession of 26 leaders and hundreds of instrumentalists, each adding his or her special talent to the band’s repertoire, continue to instill a sense of pride and patriotism in Americans everywhere.