Navy musicians to perform throughout week

Musicians from the Navy Band will play in various configurations during Navy Week.
Musicians from the Navy Band will play in various configurations during Navy Week.

There may be nothing more stirring than a military band blasting through patriotic songs on a summer day.

The marches of John Philip Sousa are ingrained in our musical DNA, and when you add in the sight of musicians in uniforms -- real service members willing to sacrifice for our country -- it's virtually impossible not to feel a surge of patriotism course through your system when the Navy Band Great Lakes plays.

Toledo-area residents will have plenty of opportunities to find out for themselves during Navy Week as musicians from the Navy Band in various configurations play throughout the week, with a feature concert of the combined Navy and Marine Corps bands scheduled Friday night at the University of Toledo.

The band was formed 101 years ago to provide ceremonial support for boot camp graduations and to perform in various communities, growing fairly quickly into an important part of the Navy's efforts to promote public relations and entertain both civilians and enlisted personnel.

A key figure in the development of the band was Mr. Sousa, a lieutenant in the Navy Reserves who was assigned in 1917 to boost the size of the band and increase its musical offerings by establishing a school to find the best musicians for the fleet, choirs, and the Great Lakes Naval Station Orchestra.

Navy Band Great Lakes has evolved considerably over the years and is composed of 45 members who cover a nine-state area, providing musical support at military events and public ceremonies.

The band has expanded its repertoire to include jazz, country, and even contemporary rock.

The band's region is Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

There are seven units of the band: wind ensemble; ceremonial/parade; Horizon (a seven-piece contemporary music group that plays current hits); Liberty Call (a more jazz oriented group); a guitar and flute duo; a brass section; a saxophone quartet, and Fair Winds (a woodwind ensemble).

All performances will be free and open to the public, including the feature concert at 7 p.m. in the Doermann Theatre at the University of Toledo, which seats about 600 people.

Here's a rundown of the Navy Band Great Lakes performances scheduled for Navy Week. The band will play in various configurations, so different ensembles may be playing in different places at the same time:

Tuesday -- 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Toledo Museum of Art and 1 SeaGate Plaza; 7-9 p.m. Promenade Park.

Wednesday -- 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Toledo Museum of Art and Levis Square.

Thursday -- Noon-1 p.m., Festival Amphitheater at Promenade Park; 1-3 p.m., University of Toledo Music Department; 5-7 p.m. Levis Square; 7-9 p.m. Commodore Park, Perrysburg with the Marine Corps Band New Orleans.

Friday -- 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Toledo Museum of Art; noon-1 p.m. Festival Amphitheater at Promenade Park; 7-9 p.m., Doermann Theatre, University of Toledo, with the Marine Corps band.

Saturday -- 10 a.m.-11 a.m., Toledo Farmers' Market; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Cedar Point amusement park; noon-5 p.m. concerts including Marine band at Imagination Station.

Sunday -- 11 a.m.-noon, Fort Meigs, Perrysburg.

Tailgate concerts also are planned outside Fifth Third Field before the Toledo Mud Hens' weekend games, with the Navy band performing Saturday and the Marines playing on Sunday.

All band schedules are subject to change.