By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian McNeal, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs
NEW YORK (NNS) -- Visitors to Manhattan's Bryant Park were treated to a variety of patriotic, classical and Broadway musical selections during the U.S. Navy Band Northeast's "Pops Ensemble" concert as a part of Fleet Week New York, May 19.
Under the direction of Lt. Gregory Fritz, Navy Band Northeast is one of 13 official bands of the U.S. Navy worldwide, and is comprised of 35 professional musicians who support more than 500 musical engagements per year.
"It's great to be back here; New York City is the greatest city in the world," said Musician 3rd Class James Dissinger, a native of Williston Park, New York. "It's fun to perform in front of anyone, but performing in front of your hometown and especially during Fleet Week is a little more special."
Fleet Week New York, now in its 27th year, is the city's time-honored celebration of the sea services. It is an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today's maritime services. The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984, and it is anticipated that nearly 1,800 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen will participate this year.
Musician 3rd Class Joseph Steiner, a native of Sandpoint, Idaho, who is participating in his first Fleet Week, has already had a chance to enjoy the city.
"I have seen some live jazz at a couple of clubs," said Steiner. "That's what is special and cool about music. Everyone can relate to music no matter who you are or where you are from."
The crowd of nearly 300 people enjoyed all the selections, but came to their feet during the band's rendition of "New York, New York."
Fleet Week New York begins in earnest May 20 with the parade of ships - a three-hour parade featuring nine military ships sailing down the Hudson River. Throughout the week, the public will have an opportunity to tour ships, and meet the men and women who serve aboard them.