PACFLT band inspires, mentors San Francisco sea cadets

Story and photos by MC1 Corwin M. Colbert

Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

Then came the applause. This was the finale, the relaxing vibes of a woodwind quintet that incorporated mentorship, musical discovery and friendship.

“I learned so much from the band and they have been amazing. I learned things I didn’t know about my instrument,” said Band of the West, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Maya Wyr of San Francisco.

Myr was one of many sea cadets who shared a week at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam with the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band.

Navy musicians held a joint venture with the sea cadets as part of an advanced training program offering an enriched on-the-job training seminar with recently graduated San Francisco sea cadets.

“This is part of advanced training for sea cadets,” said Lt. Jeff Dao, executive officer of the Band of the West, U.S. Naval Sea Cadets. “After cadets graduate from basic training, they are qualified to attend advanced training in different subject matters, usually around potential career opportunities.”

“This was a rare opportunity not to just visit the Pacific Fleet Band, but to be embedded with them. They get a better understanding of the life of a professional musician and hone their skills with their counterparts specific to each instrument they play,” Dao said.

Musician 1st Class Peter Sutorius said this was a win-win for both groups, because the sea cadets get valuable mentorship and training and the Sailors are able to express their passion for the arts.

“This is the first time we’ve done this in a while. It was great to have them here and be able to share our experience with them,” Sutorious said. “I hope we were good stewards and they learn something this week and hopefully continue to pursue a career in music.”

Wyr said it was an once-in-a-lifetime experience to come to Hawaii and continue her musical training.

“This trip has been absolutely fabulous. I feel like I am in a different world,” she said.

The training ended with the woodwind quintet at the U.S. Pacific Band building that featured Mozart, Edelweiss and Irish tune from County Derry.

Training can be sometimes mundane. But for these young aspiring musicians the opportunity to be part of U.S. Navy history and tradition was right on their reed tip.

Following the completion of training, the cadets performed alongside the band during the USS John Finn commissioning ceremony.

“I am excited about playing for the commissioning ceremony. I never played for a ship or a commissioning so it will be something I remember for a long time,” Wyr said.

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Category: Life & Leisure