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U.S. Navy School of Music (Part III)

I mentioned earlier that our lockers were are world, holding all of our possesions in one neat place. I had no idea these lockers were a luxury. Once I got aboard ship reality set in fast as the actual shipboard locker space is 1/5 that you see here (hit this link for comparision).

It's a good thing I lived at a military school and was a good organizer. We all became good ones after boot camp. Some better than others. Theres a place for everything and everything has its place.

Everyone's locker was his life, his show place with a little bit of home to enjoy.

In the photo at the lower right you can see both my locker and that of Dick Sholstag. Mine is in the background (with the pennants) and his starts at the open door, meeting mind in the middle, with the picture of the naked girl. You can see vastly different arrangements and living styles. This is as it should be.

On the left and right including the two photos below including are of my locker. Can you imagine spending your military career living out of a box like this? Once aboard ship it's worse. You have to appreciate what our troops over seas are going through as we sit on our comfortable couches safely at home. Think about it.

You'll recognize Dick Sholstag in these photos. He's rather obvious. There was not a soul who did not like him, even some of the officers Dick enjoyed toying with. Dick was a good natured prankster and funny man who also had a serious side. He was always very generous and always had time to help someone. I envied him for his lust for life and patient understanding. I'm glad to have known him and the same goes for all the other fellows I met at the school. They contributed more than they'll ever realize to my well being and happiness.

At the EM (Enlisted Men's Club....sorry girls) hits like Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walkin' ", "Somethin' Stupid", the Tremelos with "Silence is Golden" and the Four Tops "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and "Bernadette." The club also had locals bands play the weekends and featured a GoGo Girl during the week nights.

This was shear stupidity to have this half-naked girl gyrating in front of all these home-sick sailors. Norfolk was known for being kind to sailors. And dating a local girl was unheard of. They still had signs in the front lawns saying "Sailors and Dogs Keep Off The Grass" left over since WWII.

So we went to the EM Club, watched the girl dance and drank. As you can see in the picture to the left some guys had more fun than others! To the right is the "Colt 45 crowd" with me in the middle. We made every effort to 1. Be happy 2. Get drunk. One thing we learned for sure in the Navy was to get our priotities right.

I'm afraid the fellow at the left is having more fun than the rest of us!

While at the school I had the opportunity to audition for a US Navy Show Band based in South America. They performed for us and were great. I decllined. I was in a 'show band' while at the school and did some local gigs with featured signers from out of town. It was exciting and the work was fun.

I feel every young person should learn a musical instrument and experience the thrill and satisfaction of being in an ensemble. You have to read the music before you, carefuly listen to everyone around you while keeping in tune, in tempo and watching the conductor out of the corner of your eye. It's a lot to do, however, studies show over and over that students who are in the arts do much better scholastically in school. They also stay out of trouble.

With the help of fellow school mate, David Clauser, I started to specialize in "screaming." Dave and I would set out early in the morning fog to run around the tract with mouths closed to develop our lung strength and capacity. Dave was an awesome musician and was always in demand for show gigs. I was right behind him. The high range techniques David taught me helped me all the way through college in bands and orchestras.

In February, word came that Naval personnel was being cut back. Musicians in commands all over were being demoted to the deck force. Very freightening. I was requested to audition and prepare to be a Bugler on a battleship. I thought they were kidding. "What battleship" everyone I knew said. I told them "the New Jersey." He who laughs last laughs best.

Bob Boling and I spent the next two weeks learning 108 Bugle calls, Honors and Ceremonies preparing for the ultimate ship-board gig; Shipboard Bugler.

Little did we know we were the only ones.

 

 

   
 

 

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