BRISTOL HERALD COURIER
BRISTOL, Tenn. — The sounds of sea shanties and patriotic songs will soon fill the Paramount Center for the Arts, courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
The Navy Band Sea Chanters, the Navy’s chorus group, selected Bristol, Tenn., to play host to the Sea Chanters’ 2014 national tour, according to a statement from the Navy. Bristol is one of 18 stops in six states.
The Navy Band’s various ensembles are back on tour this year, after sequestration, and the impact on outreach spending forced several performances to be suspended late last year, the statement said. A plan was introduced in October to enable military services to resume community and public outreach activities this year on a reduced schedule.
“Community and public outreach is a crucial departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States military and in its most important asset — people,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in an internal memorandum to service chiefs and other military leaders. “These proactive engagements showcase our superior combat power, demonstrate readiness to defend the nation, and help to preserve the all-volunteer force.”
One of the primary responsibilities of the Navy Band is to tour the country, reaching out to audiences that would not typically have the chance to see the bands on a regular basis.
“America’s Navy has only recently adopted the motto, ‘Being There Matters,’ but it’s been a part of what we do for many years — through music — and therefore Navy bands are integral to our national security,” said Capt. Brian O. Walden, the Navy Band’s commanding officer, in the statement. “Today, Navy bands are still performing around the world, acting as agents of public diplomacy for the American government, improving relations with our allies and winning the hearts and minds with the universal language of music.”
The event is free and open to the public, and is billed as a family-friendly event, appealing to veterans, families and potential Navy recruits alike.