On Friday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m., the Marine Jazz Ensemble will fill the air with contemporary jazz tunes at the Capital Turnaround, a unique performance venue housed in the historic building that was once the Navy Yard Car Barn, in southeast Washington, D.C. The free performance will include an eclectic selection of upbeat and smooth jazz works perfect for a Friday evening end-of-week wind-down. The concert will also premiere the vocal talent of Staff Sgt. Hannah Davis, the Marine Band’s brand-new soprano vocalist. Davis is the second female vocalist in the band’s storied 225-year history!
“I feel incredibly proud and excited to be a part of such an elite, world-class organization such as this,” Davis said about becoming a member of “The President’s Own” and performing her first concert. “It truly is an honor and a dream come true!”
She continued: “I grew up singing at a very young age in church as many singers do. I started singing jazz as a byproduct of that and then made a transition to musical theatre, choir and chamber music in middle school and high school. I still love to sing jazz, gospel, soul and musical theatre works.”
Davis was pursuing a master’s degree at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore when a faculty member sent her the audition information for the female vocalist position with the Marine Band. “Truthfully, I know positions like these are extremely hard to come by and I thought, ‘why not give it a chance,’” she said. “When Maj. Nowlin called my name as the winner, I was completely shocked! I never went in expecting that I would win, and yet here I am. I was totally overwhelmed with joy.”
Davis is excited for this first concert and all the great works the ensemble will perform, but is especially excited to sing the piece “Mornin’” by Al Jarreau. “It’s such a great tune,” she said.” It reminds me of a peaceful ride, cruising in the summertime. It’s extremely easy going and easy to enjoy. The audience will find bliss in this piece.”
Guitarist Master Gunnery Sgt. Alan Prather, who coordinated the program and leads the group, said when selecting pieces, he tries to choose music he thinks the audience will enjoy. Many of the works straddle the line between jazz and popular music by borrowing rhythms and sounds from more pop style music, while making use of melodies and harmonies which are based in the jazz tradition.
“These are all pieces that I’ve enjoyed for a long time,” Prather said. “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to play these songs for an appreciative audience! And I’m excited to introduce and perform with the Marine Band’s new vocalist, Staff Sgt. Hannah Davis. She’s a very talented musician and I know audiences are going to love her!”
He continued: “My hope with this performance is that the audience will enjoy themselves and be able to relax after the work week with some music that is both new and familiar. This is going to be a fun show!”
The performance is free and open to the public; no tickets are required. Capital Turnaround is located at 700 M Street, SE, Washington, DC.