Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm with the Band: Navy

Band: United States Naval Academy Band
University: United States Naval Academy
Founded: 1852
Current Director: Lt. Cmdr. Bruce A. McDonald
Fight Song: "Anchors Aweigh"
Today's Game: Army, 3 p.m., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Just hit "play." Trust me.

As I wrote in last year's post about Army, the academy bands are not like other college bands.  The performers are all professional musicians and all are full-time military personnel.  Therefore, it is no surprise that they're a cut above the ordinary.

The marching band is one of many ensembles who perform under the umbrella of the Academy Band.  The piece above is performed by the concert band.  I am intimately acquainted with the original choral arrangement.  I think I sang it first as part of an amateur choir in NYC.  It is one of those truly magical songs - an absolute privilege to sing.

The following clip is charming for completely different reasons.  It is the original recording of Navy's fight song by the USNA Band of 1920.

It would be wrong not to include at least one video of the band marching.  This is the military we're talking about after all:

The Army-Navy football game was of great national interest once upon a time.  While the luster has dulled for the general public, it's still a very big deal within the military.  I quote Brent Musburger, who did the play-by-play for the game in 1995 (as recounted in John Feinstein's A Civil War): "There is no bowl game at stake here.  There is no coalition poll, no number one ranking.  No Heisman Trophy is at stake either.  This is bigger than all of that."

I have written about the game before.  In addition to last year's Army band post, linked above:

Army-Navy 2010
On the Coffee Table: A Civil War

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