Harbor Brass strikes chord with Alaska communities during AECE

19 September 2019

From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

A U.S. Pacific Fleet Band quintet travelled to key Alaska locations to engage communities and students as part of Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise (AECE) 2019.

SEWARD, Alaska - The U.S. Pacific Fleet Band "Harbor Brass" quintet travelled to key Alaska locations to engage communities and school students, Sept. 13-18, as part of the Arctic Expeditionary Capabilities Exercise (AECE) 2019.

“We’ve performed in Cordova and Seward at schools and public concerts and have been blown away by the warm welcome we’ve received here,” said Lt. Kelly Cartwright, U.S. Pacific Fleet Bandmaster. “Music brings people together and stimulates conversation, but most importantly, we’re here as a way to thank local communities for their hospitality to the Sailors and Marines here not only for this exercise, but all year long.”

The quintet performed for more than 200 students at the Cordova Junior/Senior High School and the Mt. Eccles Elementary School in Cordova from Sept. 13-14.

“The Harbor Brass Quintet was just what we hoped for in a concert assembly for students,” said Kate Williams, principal of Cordova Jr./Sr. High School. “They were engaging, educational, and awe-inspiring.”

The band hosted instructional clinics for music students following their school performances.

“They took time to interact with our band students and music director to reinforce what’s taught in the classroom and what we’re learning in our advisory groups about the power of posture, breath, and your body to shape your mind and prepare you for success,” Williams said.

The quintet also performed at the Cordova Center for approximately 80 community members, wrapping the performance with the Alaska state song that garnered a standing ovation.

The quintet then travelled to Seward to perform for more than 100 visitors to the Alaska Sealife Center, as well as approximately 200 students at Seward Elementary School and 150 students at Seward Junior/Senior High School. The band then led a clinic for 20 music students at Seward Middle School.

“It’s very surreal to be on this side of the music-education connection because I was those students,” said Musician 3rd Class Dillon Keller, one of two Harbor Brass trumpet players who – like other Navy band members – started his music career in school before joining the Navy. “I remember seeing people come in and do clinics with us like professional musicians and even military came to visit and open my eyes to a whole new world. To now be on this side of it is sometimes overwhelming and just a pleasure.”

Concluding their AECE Alaska visit in Seward, the quintet performed select and requested music for hundreds of community members awaiting public ship tours of the USS Comstock (LSD 45) on Sept. 18.

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