The U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, the official chorus of the United States Navy, is returning to the area for a free concert on Friday, Feb. 20, sponsored by Vance-Granville Community College. The Sea Chanters will present the free concert at 7:30 p.m. in the VGCC Civic Center.

The 20-voice chorus, accompanied by a three-piece rhythm section, will perform a variety of styles ranging from patriotic selections to Broadway show-stoppers.

The concert in Henderson is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters Concert; c/o VGCC, P.O. Box 917, Henderson NC 27536. Please limit your request for tickets to six. Any unclaimed seats will be available to non-ticket holders just prior to concert time. Ticket requests should be submitted by Monday, Feb. 16.

The ensemble has comforted the nation in times of mourning, such as the memorial services for the astronauts of the space shuttle Columbia, and for the presidential wreath-laying ceremony at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa. At the National Day of Prayer in Washington’s National Cathedral after the events of 9/11, their performance of “Amazing Grace” inspired all in attendance and an international television audience. The group performed at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009.

In 1956, Lt. Harold Fultz, then the Navy band’s assistant leader, organized an all-male vocal ensemble from the Navy School of Music to sing chanteys and patriotic songs. An immediate success, the group was transferred by Admiral Arleigh Burke, then chief of Naval Operations, to the Navy Band. He named them the “Sea Chanters” and tasked them with perpetuating the songs of the sea. Women were added in 1980, increasing their repertoire. 

“Throughout its history, the Sea Chanters chorus has represented the nation and the Navy with pride and professionalism,” said Chief Musician Georgina L. Todd, leader of the group. 

This concert is one of several by the musical groups of the U.S. Navy Band in the area. The Navy’s Concert Band, Commodores jazz ensemble and Country Current country and bluegrass band have performed to large audiences at the Civic Center over the years.

The concert is being co-sponsored by The Warren Record, the Butner-Creedmoor News, The Daily Dispatch, The Franklin Times, the Oxford Public Ledger, and WIZS 1450-AM.

Forms for ordering tickets are available at vgcc.edu and in the print edition of The Warren Record.

For more information, call James Edwards, director of communications at VGCC, at 252-738-3412.