Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Concert Band of the NMA


At our last reunion, Wilbur Smith retired as conductor of the NMA Concert Band and handed the baton to Ray Ascione. This year, Ray took up his duties and led the band through four days of focused, productive rehearsal, culminating in a Friday-night concert that was varied, entertaining and, to be sure, patriotic. As an example of the volunteerism underlying this year's reunion, Ray didn't just lead the band; when our guest conductors, Peter Graves and Frank Mullen, stood at the podium, Ray sat in the saxophone section.

After an evening of marches, Broadway medleys, seafaring favorites, and new arrangements, the concert concluded with Carmen Dragon's arrangement of America, the Beautiful. 

In the absence of a tuba section, trumpeter Don 
Junker held up the low end on the contrabass.
As is noted elsewhere, this small reunion brought out numerous volunteers on secondary instruments. Perhaps it was this spirit, in addition to the quality of the music, that led many in the audience to remark that the 2022 concert was the equal of any in the band's history.

The Helmsmen


Nowhere do the responsibilities of creating a successful reunion fall more heavily than on the shoulders of President Dwaine Whitham (l) and Reunion Coordinator Carl Gerhard (r). While the members of the Board of Directors pull on various the oars to propel a reunion forward, these two gentlemen remain always at the helm. Dwaine and Carl have earned our gratitude. 

Reunion 2022: Volunteers fill out sections

Here we have trumpeter Don Keller in the horn section. Don is only one of many shipmates who performed on  secondary instruments so our smaller-than-usual concert band might enjoy a full-sized sound.

At our first rehearsal, vocalist Melanie Leketa volunteered to fill out a short-handed clarinet section. When sufficient clarinetists had arrived, Mel shifted to the short-handed percussion section. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

You Can Count on the NMA

You can count on it: count off a tune and you'll get Count Basie.


Monday, June 13, 2022

It's Not Too Late to Reserve a Room for the Reunion

 If you're still on the fence concerning your participation in the 2022 Navy Musicians Association Reunion, June 14-19 in Virginia Beach:

Carl Gerhard, our Reunion Coordinator, met this morning with the hotel's Events Staff. Most of the discussion was jibber-jabber that we don't care about. But, he did ask me to share this

One Important Thing: 

The hotel will continue to hold rooms for NMA members at our special NMA group rate of $139 per night through the entire reunion week. 
President Dwaine Whitham and Reunion
Coordinator Carl Gerhard contemplate their
successful meeting with the hotel Events
Staff. (Well, not really. Actually, theyr'e
listening to one of Jim Richards's stories).
  • Yes, you can still change your mind and join us in Virginia Beach. 
  • Yes, you can come for the weekend, if your job or other responsibilities keep you busy during the week. 
  • Yes, our special rate will be honored through Sunday night, June 19 (checkout Monday morning, June 20.) 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Sign up for the 2022 NMA Reunion

Update: 13 June, 2022:

The Holiday Inn promises to hold rooms for NMA members at our special rate through the entire week of the reunion! It's not too late!

Friday, April 23, 2021

What's On Your Plate?

Members of the Navy Musicians Association are always looking for ways to promote our organization. Many of us continue to wear our NMA shirts when we return home after a reunion. I wear my ball cap to outdoor concerts throughout the summer.

But, Dennis Bear stands above the crowd. This Wisconsinite's pride in his NMA membership is on display wherever he goes, all year long.

Dennis doesn't keep his
NMA membership secret.