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PACFLT Band Shares Experience with High School Students

17 April 2015

From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Johans Chavarro

The Pacific Fleet Band held an educational jazz clinic April 16 for the Honoka’a High School Jazz Band at the PACFLT Band Hall on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

PEARL HARBOR - The Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) Band held an educational jazz clinic April 16 for the Honoka’a High School Jazz Band at the PACFLT Band Hall on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The students’ visit came as a result of PACFLT Band’s recruiting tour in November of 2014, which aimed to bridge the gap between military and civilians by providing community outreach through musical entertainment and educational clinics.

“In November, our popular music group went on a recruiting tour and performed at Honoka’a High School, and as a result of that, they brought their whole band to work with us while they were here in Oahu on their spring tour,” said Chief Musician Ian Charleton, PACFLT Band Jazz Ensemble unit leader. “And it’s a privilege to be able to share some of our knowledge and education with the students, and maybe also inspire them a little bit.”

According to Charleton, the opportunity for young musicians to sit down with seasoned musicians is important in developing and improving their musical ability.

“A lot of times high school musicians may be very enthusiastic, but their talent is a little raw,” said Charleton. “But because we have been in their shoes, we can share a little of our experiences to help them progress a little faster. There are certain instrument specific things you can learn only if you get to study with a professional trumpet or saxophone player, and we try to give them those teaching points to guide them along their learning process.”

For Musician 1st Class Brandon Barbee, assigned to the PACFLT Band Jazz Ensemble, guidance from a high school music teacher helped keep him on track and committed to his musical craft, something he hoped to instill in the students from Honoka’a High School.

“I had a music teacher in high school and if it wasn’t for him, I actually wouldn’t even be playing the trumpet,” said Barbee. “When I got to high school I was like, ‘I’m just not going to do this anymore,’ and my teacher just kept saying, ‘keep playing, just keep playing.’ And it kept me in the game. So, it’s cool to see a young saxophone or trumpet player and try and light that fire for them.”

According to Gary Washburn, music director at Honoka’a High School, the visit also was aimed at showing high school students the opportunity for education through the military.

“I felt it was not only a good way to create a hands-on learning experience for the students, but also put in the student’s mind that the military is a way to get education and play music,” said Washburn.

Following the PACFLT Band’s performance, the students participated in a music clinic provided by the band to help further their education and training.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Kamea Phenicie, a student at Honoka’a High School. “When they started playing for us we were all like, ‘wow, they are so good,’ and we started feeling a little nervous about us playing for them. But when we played they helped us and gave us pointers, and by the end we weren’t nervous anymore, we just started to have fun and realized this is great.”

Overall, Washburn hoped the visit would show his students what is possible trough hard work and determination.

“What I hope the students take away from the experience is the potential for personal growth, and what is possible through that effort,” said Washburn. “I’m wanting them to try and discover their own potential, and if it happens to be through music then that’s great.”

The PACFLT band is based at Pearl Harbor and is dedicated to providing top quality music and entertainment in support of the U.S. Navy’s retention and recruiting programs, and for internal and external public relations.

For more information about the band, visit

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