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By Lisa Moore
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
The U.S. Navy is coming to town on March 7 when Wellesley High and Wellesley POPS will host the prestigious U.S. Navy Band, one of the top wind ensembles in the country.
The Navy band will be touring 23 cities in five states for the 2016 tour. As one of Navy’s outreach programs the Navy band travels to different areas of the country that might not otherwise get the opportunity to see the band perform.
"For many years, Navy bands have been where it matters, when it matters, just like the rest of our Navy. Today, we have sailors performing around the world improving relations with our allies abroad, as well as telling the Navy story here at home," said Capt. Kenneth Collins, U.S. Navy Band commanding officer.
Always family friendly and free events, the goal of the band is to entertain veterans, and families and individuals thinking about a career in the Navy.
This opportunity was bestowed upon Wellesley due to the reputation for excellence the Wellesley Performing Arts program has developed and the connection Wellesley Director of Choral Activities Dr. Kevin McDonald has with Chief Musician Christopher Sala, his childhood friend. Sala is the leader of the Navy Band Brass Quintet and Concert Band operations chief and when the two friends were talking about the upcoming concert tour, Wellesley High seemed like a perfect fit for the tour.
Ensembles from the Navy Band tour nationally 12-15 weeks each year and sailors in the Navy Band are full-time professional musicians with almost all of the sailors in the Navy Band having undergraduate degrees in music, and most having graduate degrees. This concert follows a long list of professional artists who have come to Wellesley to share their talents with the town and our performing arts students.
Eleven members of Wellesley High wind ensemble have been chosen to play alongside the Navy Band. They will perform the Washington Post March by John Philip Sousa. This is an exciting opportunity for the students to perform with such a gifted group of musicians. Steven Scott, music and band teacher at Wellesley High, has been involved in the planning and preparations for the wind ensemble performers to join the Navy Band.
“We have a small group of very advanced players that are preparing to perform with the Navy Band. I could not be more proud to share these excellent musicians with the Navy Band.” Scott said.
The wind ensemble students who will be performing with the Navy Band are: Briana Zhuang, flute 1; Valerie Collins, flute 2; Shannon Duffy, oboe 1; Sabrina Chen, clarinet 1; Raul Zaorski, clarinet 2; Matthew Hornung, alto sax 1; Michael Manning, French horn 1; Jeff Pinsker-Smith, trumpet 1; Nadine Richardson, trombone 3; Will Griffin, tuba; and Matt Preston, snare drum.
“I am thrilled to be given the honor of playing with the U.S. Navy Band on March 7,” said Hornung. “The opportunity to play with such a renowned ensemble is one that comes once in a lifetime and must be appreciated for its uniqueness. As someone who primarily rehearses and performs as a jazz musician, the chance to take my playing to the highest echelon of classical American repertoire and ensembles is extremely inspiring and enriching. “
The Navy Concert Band is the premier wind ensemble of the U.S. Navy and is the original ensemble of the Navy Band, performing public concerts and participating in high-profile events since 1925. Concert goers will hear an offering of marches, patriotic selections, orchestral transcriptions and modern wind ensemble repertoire in what is sure to be a memorable night.
The event will be held at Wellesley High on Monday, March 7 at 7 p.m. It is a free concert but tickets are required.
For more information and to reserve a ticket visit, http://tinyurl.com/USNavyBand.
Lisa Moore is a Correspondent for Hometown Weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.