US Navy Sea Chanters Chorus

Last evening, my family and I went went to enjoy the US Navy Band Sea Chanters chorus as their 2009 Spring tour brought them through Odessa, TX. We had been looking forward to the performance for some time, and the program exceeded our expectations.

seachanters

The Sea Chanters chorus is the official chorus of the United States Navy. The ensemble performs music ranging from traditional choral music to Broadway musicals. The group performs at the White House, the Vice-President’s residence and for other dignitaries.

We were especially keen on hearing MU1 (Musician 1st Class) J. David Sigmon sing. I can say we knew him when, as my wife and I attended a church youth group with David. His older brother was our youth choir director. Both Sigmons were brilliant musical scholars, and it’s no surprise to see David making such a fine use of his talent.

David put on quite a show in “Papageno” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and “Leading Men Don’t Dance.” I wish he had been let loose on a solo. His many family and friends in the audience would have loved to hear it.

I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite selection from the evening’s concert, but “Passage”, “Annabel Lee”, “Sideboys Medley” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” were definitely highlights.

“Passage” combined elements of Walt Whitman’s Oh, Captain, my Captain! with other traditional songs. MU1 Rachel Sarracco (also of Texas) narrated. When introducing the song she said something along the lines of: “The harbor is safe, but the sea is where you live.”

It’s easy to get caught up in concerns of safety and security, but there’s no reward without risk. And life can be a very risky voyage. The harbor has its place, but we must go out into the dangerous sea to really enjoy life.

“Annabel Lee” is a musical arrangement by Ruth Watson Henderson of Edgar Allen Poe’s haunting poem of loss. The result was transcendent, surpassing both poetry and music to draw the listener into a heart-rending experience.

“Annabel Lee” is one of Poe’s more popular poems for good reason. It’s a well crafted work and exerts a powerful influence decades after its creator’s death. This arrangement serves as a reminder of the vigor of the written word. I wonder what Poe would think to hear it.

“The Sideboys Medley” was composed of popular Billy Joel songs. It included “For the Longest Time”, “Uptown Girl” and “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me” among others.

“It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me” has been around for about as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s a rebellious streak, but this song sums up nicely the way I feel about society in general.

The rousing rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” which came near the end of the program, was an excellent follow up to several patriotic songs from throughout the evening. MU1 Edward Daryl Duff provided the solo and the heart of the song as he expressed love for his country.

It was a wonderful celebration of all that is right with America — a needed reminder when it’s so easy to focus on all that is wrong. Mr. Duff came across as a spiritualist, preaching the values of inherent beauty, sacrifice and liberty.

The US Navy Band Sea Chanters gave one of the finest performances I have heard. Their attitude of excellence and passion for music is readily apparent. My family thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and I hope you will seize the opportunity to attend if the Sea Chanters pass your way.

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

2 Responses to US Navy Sea Chanters Chorus

  1. Thank you for this post! I wish I could have seen the concert but your post, with all its beautiful vivid imagry, made me feel like I was a part of the audience. This was great!

  2. Daryl Duff says:

    Thanks for your kind words and your attendence. If you have not done so, please forward this vivid review to our PAO at Navyband.navy.mil

    Daryl

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