A show of patriotism and musical talent graced Cleveland on Wednesday night as the U.S. Navy Band’s Sea Chanters Chorus performed at Lee University’s Conn Center as part of its 2019 National …
A show of patriotism and musical talent graced Cleveland on Wednesday night as the U.S. Navy Band’s Sea Chanters Chorus performed at Lee University’s Conn Center as part of its 2019 National Tour.
The Sea Chanters are a vocal ensemble comprised of a small chorus with a rhythm section.
The entire Navy band consists of hundreds of members, but the visiting Sea Chanters Chorus is comprised of 20 musicians.
A massive crowd turned out for the event and quickly filled the Conn Center, with guests eagerly awaiting the show’s opening curtain.
True to their reputation, the Sea Chanters performed a variety of music, including approximately 16 songs ranging from Irish folk songs and sea chanteys to opera and even classical Broadway hits like those from “Rent.”
Showmanship was the name of the game, as the talented musicians performed each song with vigor. Many of the numbers were introduced with the original story behind them, with one or two members acting as the evening’s narrators.
The Sea Chanters also had various patriotic messages and songs such as “God Bless America” peppered throughout the show. The event was lit by a red, white and blue spotlight, and they even opened the evening with the National Anthem, which the crowd relished singing, as a significant number of veterans were in the crowd.
Every year, Navy musicians present 6,000 performances across the U.S. and around the world. These bands go where ships cannot go, which expands the Navy’s network of partners.
The process to join the group is incredibly rigorous, according to Adam Grimm, Navy Band public affairs officer.
“Nearly every member has a bachelor’s degree in music, and over half have advanced degrees in music. The average age of members is 27, and we only hire professional, experienced musicians,” Grimm said.
Although it has over 600 musicians, with 11 bands throughout the U.S., the Navy Band has the smallest band of all the armed forces, who each have bands of their own.
Aside from being simply entertainment, the band is used as a public outreach tool, along with other programs like the flight demonstration team the Blue Angels, the parachute team called the Leap Frogs and several others.
According to Grimm, the country has the widest military-to-civilian gap it’s ever experienced, with less than half of the population currently serving and less than 7 percent ever having served.
“People don’t really know much about the military other than what they see in movies and on TV, so we go out and make face-to-face connections with people. Plus, we represent the sailors who are out there deployed and working to keep us safe every day,” Grimm said.
There is a recruiting element to each show as well, particularly for the Navy. While armed forces like the Army have bases all over the country, most of the Navy’s activity is, of course, limited to the coasts. Performing all over the country remedies this and brings these "sea dogs" onto land and onto our stages.
At the end of the show, the performers asked audience members who had served in the armed forces to stand for a round of applause and recognition. Each branch stood separately and was accompanied by the Sea Chanters singing the respective branches’ official songs.
The Navy Band encouraged all attendees to go view the songs they performed Wednesday night, and even more they didn’t perform, on their YouTube channel.
For more information, check out the U.S. Navy’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels or its website at www.navyband.navy.mil.
The Cleveland Daily Banner sponsored the event.
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