The Kennedy Center

U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters



Biography

The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters perform a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including the sea chantey, to Broadway musicals.

The "Sea Chanters" chorus is the official chorus of the United States Navy. The ensemble performs a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including the sea chantey, to Broadway musicals. Under the leadership of Chief Musician Georgina L. Todd, the Sea Chanters appear throughout the United States and often perform at the White House, the Vice President's home and for other Washington dignitaries. In 1956, Lt. Harold Fultz, then the Band's assistant leader, organized a group from the Navy School of Music in Anacostia to sing chanteys and patriotic songs for the State of the Nation dinner. An immediate success, Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, transferred them to the Navy Band, named them the "Sea Chanters" and tasked this all-male chorus with perpetuating the songs of the sea. In 1980, the group added women to their ranks and expanded their repertoire to include everything from Brahms to Broadway.

Today, the Sea Chanters are one of the most dynamic vocal ensembles in the country and are frequently found at the center of our most important national events, including the 55th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony in 2005. They have played a vital role in comforting the nation in times of mourning, including appearances at memorials for the astronauts of the space shuttle Columbia and the Presidential wreath laying ceremony at the United Airlines Flight 93 crashsite in Shanksville, Pa. Their performance of "Amazing Grace" at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the National Cathedral in Washington after the events of 9/11 inspired all in attendance as well as a national television audience. In 1994, the chorus provided music at the funeral of former President Nixon in Yorba Linda, Calif., and the interment of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at Arlington National Cemetery.

They have appeared at the Kennedy Center Honors and with the National Symphony Orchestra for the nationally telecast "National Memorial Day Concerts" at the U.S. Capitol. In addition the group has appeared on "Larry King Live" and "CBS This Morning" as well as at the premier of the movie Pearl Harbor.

Noted choral directors Dale Warland and Donald Neuen have guest conducted the ensemble, and renowned composers Roger Bourland, William MacDuff and Lloyd Pfautsch have written works especially for them. Other notable orchestral appearances include the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The Sea Chanters have enjoyed a great reputation performing with such stars as Perry Como, Marian Anderson and Kenny Rogers.

Throughout their history, the Sea Chanters have remained true to the Navy's watchwords of pride and professionalism, and they continue to flourish in the 21st century and beyond as a vibrant ensemble.

Watch Past Performances

Video 6/10/2014: Of Thee I Sing

The nation’s armed forces have a long and distinguished choral tradition. This evening of choral music is performed by men and women of our armed forces, including the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants, U.S. Navy Sea Chanters, and U.S. Army Chorus. Part of Voices of Our Nation: Celebrating the Choral Tradition.

Video 11/26/2013: U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters

The U.S. Navy’s official chorus performs everything from traditional choral music, sea chanteys, and patriotic fare to opera, Broadway, and contemporary music.

U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters