The United States Navy Band
In 1925, a bill was passed in Congress that established what we now know as the United States Navy Band (formerly called the Navy Yard Band) led by Charles Benter. The bill was signed by President Coolidge. The purpose of the U.S. Navy Band is to provide support through music to the Department of the Navy, the President of the United States and other important officials. They perform at the White House during ceremonies, hold public concerts, do recordings, etc. Through the years the band was led by several respected bandleaders, including:
Lt. Charles Benter - Instrumental in the establishment of the band; received an honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Columbus University in 1927.Commander Charles Brendler - Requested an allowance increase for band members; promoted to Commander by President Eisenhower; became president of the American Bandmasters Association.Lt. Cmdr. Anthony A. Mitchell - Composed marches, particularly "Our Nation's Capital," the official march of Washington, D.C.; founded the Washington Area Soloist Festival; received an honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Saint Francis College.Commander Donald W. Stauffer - Established the Navy Band Specialty Units; a graduate of Eastman School of Music; author of "Intonation Deficiencies of Wind Instruments."Commander Ned E. Muffley - Actively recruited female musicians to the band; could conduct without a music score due to his sharp memory.Captain William J. Phillips - Innovative bandleader; stressed the importance of recordings to promote the band; served for two terms.Commander Allen E. Beck - Attended the Eastman School of Music; raised the entrance requirements for aspiring band members.Commander Philip H. Field - Studied conducting at Northwestern University sponsored by the Navy Music Program; it was during his tenure when the band led marches in support of Operation Desert Storm troops.Lieutenant Commander John R. Pastin - Received a Master's Degree in Conducting from Northwestern University; it was during his leadership when the band performed at Carnegie Hall and in St. Petersburg during the celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Russian Fleet.Captain Ralph M. Gambone - Has a Master's Degree in Music from the Catholic University of America; it was during his tenure when the band was invited to perform at the Pentagon and the Washington National Cathedral in memory of the victims of 9/11.Captain George Noble Thompson Jr. - He was the first African-American leader of the ban and served from 2007 to 2010. He received several awards including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.Captain Brian O. Walden - He is the current leader of the band. He has a master’s degree in wind ensemble conducting from the New England Conservatory and is pursuing a doctoral student in music education at Boston University.
Did You Know?Evangeline Bailey became the first female band member of the United States Navy Band in 1972.John Coltrane served in a navy band in Hawaii.