The Band's History
"The present-day NAVEUR Band is for the most part the “old” U.S. Navy Sixth Fleet Band. Documentation as to the history of the band prior to it being the “Sixth Fleet Band” is vague at best. The following is some of what we know.”
"Remembering The Coach"
"Back in the 1950's, Reader's Digest published a series of articles entitled 'The Most Unforgettable Character I ever met'. For me that person was Vice Admiral Gerald E. Miller, the Commanding Officer of the United States Sixth Fleet from 1971-1973......" and so begins a wonderful testimony by Tom Wholley MUCS (Ret) who, as a brand-new Apprentice Seaman worked for two years under Admiral Miller.
The Sixth Fleet Band in the 1970's
We received the following email from Jon Mattison who was involved in the start-up of the mega-group known as the Sixth Fleet Band and Singers:
"I thought I would shed some information on the 6th Fleet singers.
My name is Jon Mattison. From 1971-74 I was stationed with the 6th Fleet Band in Gaeta.
I was asked by Admiral Gerald Miller, ComSixthFlt, if I would organized and start a choral group made up of enlisted, officers and their spouses. As a third class PO I said I would, and the end result was a group that accomplished a lot of positive PR in the Med.
The Navy in it's Wisdom came to the conclusion that a Third Class PO wasn't rank enough to conduct an ensemble this quality, so they replaced me with a E8 from The Sea Chanters. Most of my tour was on the USS Springfield, and the last year was on the USS Little Rock.
The music program got so big they replaced Chief Charlie Cardwell, with CWO Clements.
Through the music program, the Navy was able to get our ships moored in Barcelona, more updates for Sigonella, and a higher degree of positive presence in the Med.
I hope I have provided some more information than you have at present.
Finding places to perform never seemed to be a real problem for the Sixth Fleet Band and Singers. In addition to the parade ground and the dance floor, there was and endless list of hospitals, schools and orphanages to entertain, not to mention the official functions typically requiring services of first rate Navy musicians. Click HERE to see a list of some of the places visited by the band as U.S. Navy ambassadors of goodwill.
The Sixth Fleet Band, the "Singers", and the "Dancers"
We know that the Singers and Dancers were added to the Sixth Fleet Band in 1972, but what exactly was, and who participated in the "Sixth Fleet Music Show", sometimes referred to as the "Sixth Fleet Band & Singers"?
Perhaps the best description of this great group of shipmates and entertainers is from an article in the U.S. Naval Station Rota, Spain's unofficial bi-weekly newspaper the "Jack Tar". Here is what the January 24, 1974 edition had to say:
The Friday, October 18, 1974 edition of USS Little Rock's "Tiger Rag" newspaper ran the following:
THE SIXTH FLEET Singers is an all volunteer group of about 35 dependent wives, whose husbands serve aboard the USS Little Rock or for the Staff of COMSIXHFLT.
The chorus is an integral part of the SIXTH FLEET Music Show along with the SIXTH FLEET Band.
The Music Show is geared to the performance of American music and includes rock and roll, ballad, folk music, and Broadway hits. The Singers also offer an all-girl Barbershop Quartet and the Flappers , a group of dancers who feature the Charleston and the Can-Can.
The ports and capitals of Europe are the stages for the Singers. Since, June1974, the singers have appeared in Toulon and Nice, France: Maastricht, Holland; Rota, Barcelona, and Tarragona, Spain. Their lively spirit and sincere goodwill have endeared them to audiences throughout the Mediterranean.
If you have the desire and the ability to sing, please contact Senior Chief Musician Reinhardt, Director at Box 160, Gaeta.
The chorus rehearses in the NSA Detachment building eery Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7 p.m.
Add your voice to this fine group and see more of Europe in the process. You ll be glad you did.
The "Sixth Fleet Band" ain't what it used to be....!
What we knew in the 1960's and 70's as the "Sixth Fleet Band" or sometimes the "Sixth Fleet Band and Singers" has grown into a multifaceted organization. Listed below are some of the formats the "U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band" (sometimes referred to as the NAVEUR Band) can provide:
The "U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band is stationed in Naples, Italy. The Band performs throughout Europe, Africa, and Western Asia. Typically performing more than 500 engagements annually, the Band reaches a combined audience of more than 60 million people throughout over 35 countries.
Comprised of active duty U.S. Navy musicians and augmented by foreign service musicians the Band is able to fulfill almost any request for musical support.
The "U.S. Navy Band" Washington DC
"The dusty, long-forgotten logbooks of our early American men of war tell us little about the evolution of music in the Navy. What we do know is that the United States Navy Band has an exciting and rich history that is steeped in the great traditions of our emerging nation. The Navy and Navy music literally "grew up" together to each become a powerful force in our nation's history. The rich traditions of Navy music stem from the historic Washington Navy Yard......"
(From the U.S. Navy Band website.)
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