Musicians have always played an important part in the military. This ongoing series, explores not only the history of military music, but also the diverse ceremonial and entertainment roles of musicians in the military.
Black and Navy Blue: African-American Pioneers of Navy Music
There was a time when African-Americans could serve in the Navy and nowhere else. But over time, when society changed, the Navy became the branch of service where racism and discrimination were most deeply engrained.
Unpacking our National Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner
You probably know about Francis Scott Key’s inspired poetry, drafted during the bombing of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, but where did the music come from? Is there a really a law that requires Americans to stand when it is played? Can it be sung in other languages?
We think of music and art as bringing us pleasure or entertainment. But it can also help in -- of all things -- foreign policy. The State Department has said that hearts and minds can be won through culture just as effectively as through guns of the field. In this segment, Chief Musician Mike Bayes of the United States Navy Band talks about how music and culture were used during the Kennedy Administration to bring the world a positive view of America -- from Jazz Ambassadors to the creation of elaborate arrival ceremonies at the White House.
Master Sgt. Jari Villanueva, a musician with the United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass, reviews ceremonial music in military, including the historic 1963 funeral for President John F. Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery. Sgt. Villanueva discusses the role of musicians in the military, demonstrates battlefield bugle calls and talks about why the 24 notes of “Taps” are the toughest notes a military bugler has to play.
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This is a wonderful representation of how music unites, incites and gives insight. No matter how young or old, to hear music created by bodily instrumental control is awe-inspiring.