SPRINGFIELD — The U.S. Navy Band, under the direction of Captain Kenneth Collins, will perform at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Thursday High School in Springfield.

Collins is the son of Ken Collins, who lives in Albany and was formerly the music director at Sweet Home High School.

The band is on tour and will also perform in Yakima, Washington, and Portland before heading south to cities in California and Nevada.

Tickets are free and may be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Thurston High School Band, 333 N. 58th St., Springfield, OR 97478.

There is a limit of six tickets per request.

The public will also have the opportunity to meet with Captain Collins after the concert.

Collins is a native of Reno, Nevada, and enlisted in the Navy in 1989.

He first performed as a percussionist with fleet bands in Guam and Newport, Rhode Island.

He has since held positions as the ceremonial band leader and associate conductor of the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C., and as assistant director of the U.S. Naval Band Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

He also was the director of the Navy Band Northwest from 2001-2004; director of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band from 2004-2007; and director of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band from 2009-2012.

He has a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois and completed a tour as director of Fleet Band Activities from 2012-2015.

He has been commander of the U.S. Navy Band since 2015.

He also holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Nevada, a Master of Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign.

He has received numerous commendations including two Meritorious Service medals; three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

The U.S. Navy Band dates back to May 1798, when the USS Ganges became the first official U.S. Navy man-of-war put to sea. Its crew included two musicians: a fifer and a drummer.

Music has been an important part of Navy life ever since.

In August 1826, John Page was promoted as the first “Master of the Band.”

John Phillip Sousa served as a Navy bandmaster from 1917 to 1919. Known most often for his work as head of the United States Marine Band in the late 19th century and his own band in the early 20th century, Sousa was brought back into Naval service during World War I at the record age of 62. He was commissioned a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve and led the Navy Band at Great Lakes Naval Station outside of Chicago, Illinois.

Under Sousa’s direction, young musicians flocked to enlist.

Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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