The gig involves playing mandolin with the bluegrass unit and electric guitar with the country band. Frank tells me that playing fiddle and contributing harmony vocals would be a big plus as well.
The job comes with a starting salary of around $53,000 per year with full health benefits and retirement (after 20 years service).
There is about a 50/50 mix of jobs between bluegrass and country shows. The bluegrass unit travels all over the country performing festivals and some high level protocol jobs in Washington. The country unit performs a 3 week fall tour each year traveling to a different part of the country each tour.
I talked with Frank about the gig and he spoke very highly of the job.
The Navy Band is a good gig with financial stability, health coverage, and perfect for the family man or woman, because there is no moving around. Its a permanent duty station. Many people make it a career and its an honorable job. Where else would you get to play music (bluegrass) and serve your country. We have a unique position to be able to play American music for dignitaries and officials from other countries. On top of playing for The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, or on the US Capital Steps, or at the White House we also play other venues like bluegrass festivals, public concerts and large performance halls.
It is an interesting balance of structure and creativity, and it works for many people. But my time with them has run its course and it is my turn to pass the torch to the next musician for Country Current.
You may remember that it was around this time last year that Wayne Taylor announced his retirement and the band began the search for a new guitarist. I’ve also learned that electric bass player Joe Wheatley is retiring as well, and a replacement has already been found for that position. Chief Musician Patrick J. White shared his thoughts on those recent changes.
We have replaced Wayne Taylor with a fantastic singer/songwriter/acoustic guitar player named Kenny Ray Horton. He has elevated the band’s sound for sure and is a great addition to the unit. Also, Joe Wheatley is retiring from the Navy after 20 yrs active duty. We have filled his position with an incredible bass player Jeremy Middleton. These are very exciting changes for the band and the sound just keeps getting better.
To audition for the current vacancy, you mustby between the ages of 18 and 34, as well as meeting the Navy’s appearance and weight standards. The Navy will supply instruments and equipment for the selected musician.