Six members of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band on Tuesday visited Seward Middle School, where they participated in Cee Jay Levine’s music class following a performance at Seward High School. The band does around six hundred performances each year, said bandmaster Lt. Kelly Cartwright.
“We perform all over the Pacific,” Cartwright said. “Our operational footprint last year extended from Alaska to Sri Lanka.”
During their time in the music class, the band members answered questions from students and introduced them to unfamiliar instruments such as the French and English horns.
“The task that is ahead of you as beginning students is that you have to learn how to control your air,” said tuba player Christopher Bettler. “That’s really the only difference between us and you. Air is what it’s really all about.”
To the probable satisfaction of music instructors everywhere, Levine asked the band members to describe how often they practice.
“These days I get between one and three hours,” Bettler said. “When I was learning how to play … I would go home and do a half hour each day. When I got to high school and thought, ‘I’m really enjoying this,’ I did one to two hours. In college, I did four to eight hours. These are not magic instruments or anything. You have to put in the practice.”
The band also perform dockside during Wednesday afternoon tours of the USS Comstock.