By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

Navy Band Southeast, from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, performed alongside 15 Natchez High School band members during an evening patriotic concert in one of the oldest cities along the Mississippi River during Natchez Navy Week, Sept. 12. 

Navy band members participated in a music clinic at Natchez High School earlier in the day where they practiced a medley of songs, including the national anthem. 

Lt. Scott Mythen, director, Navy Band Southeast, reflected on the experience and emphasized regardless of age and background, the enjoyment of music is universal. 

"Not too long ago each of the Navy musicians was sitting in high school band rooms just like this one in Natchez," said Mythen. "We all started out in our local school programs and the majority of our Sailors went on to major in music, and some have even received graduate degrees in music." 

One of those musicians is MU1 Krista Koester, who has played the bassoon for the past 25 years. 

"I'm really proud of all of the students in how they were all open and took our advice to make this concert really fun," said Koester, who previously played the saxophone before switching to bassoon. 

Marcus Washington, Natchez High School's music teacher, has taught at the school for the past four years and was just like his students in that he played with a Navy band in 2005. 

"I believe that music infatuates life in that it gives us life lessons and teaches us how to work together," said Washington, who oversees 65 high school band members skilled in everything from the piano to drums. 

Washington added his students are looking forward to performing at the city's auditorium. 

"The last time band students from Natchez High School performed at the auditorium was in 2005 when I was a senior at this very same school," said Washington. 

MU2 Brian Sadler, whose father was a Seabee before he retired from the U.S. Navy, encouraged his son to serve his country. 

"When you get an opportunity to perform with high school students and they learn something in the process, it is a good feeling to have that you made a difference," said Sadler. 

Navy Band Southeast is providing a variety of performances during Natchez Navy Week, Sept. 11-14.