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Navy jazz band to play free local concert

November 1, 2000

The Commodores, the U.S. Navy’s jazz ensemble, will be coming to Lansing later this month.

The ensemble, which is part of the U.S. Navy’s Band, is coming to Everett High School, 3900 Stabler St., on Nov. 16 for a free concert.

“The stop here in Lansing is part of their Midwest tour,” said Denise Lynch, special recreation services coordinator for the Lansing Parks and Recreation Department. “They travel around as a public relations type of thing. It’s just something that different branches of the military do.”

The band is made up of professional musicians in the Navy that perform as their sole job in the military, said Todd Mitchell, public affairs officer for Navy recruiting in Michigan.

“They’ve joined the Navy to be musicians,” he said. “The primary mission for them is to spread Navy awareness.”

The band first formed in 1966 as the Navy’s dance band but were renamed The Commodores and designated the official Navy jazz band in 1969. The band has appeared at Walt Disney World, on Good Morning America and has performed with Terry Gibbs and Ray Charles.

“They’ve basically been on tour ever since,” Mitchell said. “Every year they go to a different location in the United States or in Europe and do a tour.”

The Navy also has a country band, a concert band, an orchestra and a marching band, but Mitchell said The Commodores are generally well-liked by a diverse crowd.

“The type of music they play is upbeat,” he said. “It’s generally well-liked by everybody.”

Lynch said the department has brought in other military bands previously but hasn’t had The Commodores perform before.

“They all have various musical groups that represent their branch,” she said. “Two years ago we had a country band that was part of the U.S. Navy. Prior to that we had a chorus. Then we had the U.S. Marine band two years ago.”

The concert should attract about 500 people, Lynch said.

“It’s an opportunity for people to have an evening out and it’s free,” she said. “Even if you’re a little strapped for cash, it’s good entertainment and it’s at no cost.”

To request tickets, contact the Lansing Parks and Recreation Department at 483-4277.

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