The Blue Angels are usually considered the stars of San Francisco Fleet Week, but did you know that the Navy and Marines also spread out throughout the city to showcase the musical talents of service members?
From the Ferry Building to Golden Gate Park, musicians from the Navy and Marines will demonstrate their skills as instrumentalists in a series of free concerts at local parks and landmarks throughout Fleet Week.
Woodwind, brass and rock ensembles from the Navy’s 45-member Navy Band Southwest, one of the military branch’s “finest and oldest continuing musical organizations,” will make appearances at the San Francisco Zoo, Fisherman’s Wharf and also team up with counterparts from the Marines march in Sunday’s Italian Heritage Parade.
Subgroups and ensembles with the Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Division Band will also make appearances at Chase Center’s Thrive City and at Duboce Park for a celebration of service dogs.
While previous years have clustered concerts at waterfront locales, neighborhood concerts are the focal point of this year’s Fleet Week.
“This year, we are thrilled to be performing 39 concerts throughout the city and hope you all come to have a good time,” Navy spokesperson Brian O’Rourke said.
“We love getting out to the different neighborhoods,” added Musician 1st Class Whitney Adams, who plays oboe and coordinates tours for Navy Band Southwest. “The waterfront is great, but we like getting out in the city.”
Here’s where you can salute service members and their musical chops this week. For more details and updates, visit the official Fleet Week website.
Noon | Thrive City
Known affectionately as “Old George,” this popular music group based out of Southern California’s Camp Pendleton typically provides musical support at military parades and ceremonies and also plays an array of musical styles from the songbook of American pop music. Expect high-energy ditties, led by a Marine Corps vocalist, from genres as wide-ranging as pop, funk, rock, country and R&B.
Noon | City College Ocean Campus
This sub-ensemble of Navy Band Southwest—also known as the 32nd Street Brass Band—plays covers of Top 40 hits, incorporating jazz, funk and R&B stylings.
Noon | San Francisco Zoo
Also known as “The Prevailing Winds Woodwind Quintet,” this group blends the sounds of the flute, French horn, oboe, clarinet and bassoon to play a variety of classical, romantic, Latin and Americana compositions.
1:30 p.m. | Salesforce Park
6 p.m. | Noe Valley Town Square
Nicknamed the “Old Breed Brass Band,” this crowd-pleasing ensemble mixes dance music, pop songs, jazz improvisation and heavy funk into high-energy original compositions often featuring an equally energetic soloist.
Noon | Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley
See and hear full military pomp and circumstance on display as the pride of the 1st Marine Division Band showcases precise drill movements set to inspiring music. The band, which typically provides musical accompaniment at military ceremonies and parades, has performed for U.S. presidents, foreign dignitaries, local military commands and communities throughout the country.
Noon | Crab Wheel Plaza at Fisherman's Wharf
Swing your partner round and round to the jams of this versatile rock-and-pop music sub-ensemble of Navy Band Southwest. The group plays everything from dance music to jazz to country and has rocked out at music festivals and performed for heads of state.
12:30 p.m. | San Francisco VA Medical Center
5 p.m. | One Sansome
5 p.m. | Japan Town Peace Plaza
Noon | Ferry Building
5 p.m. | Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro
6 p.m. | SF War Memorial Herbst Theatre
The 1st Marine Division’s Ceremonial Band combines forces with the Navy’s Woodwind Quintet to commemorate those who gave their lives serving the nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Noon | Golden Gate Park Band Shell
12:30 p.m. | Cable Car Turnaround at Powell/Market
12:30 p.m. | Union Square Plaza
4 p.m. | Lakeside Landing
5 p.m. | Pier 39 on the Embarcadero
6 p.m. | Valencia Street
10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Duboce Park
The Marines’ Ceremonial Band salutes canine heroes with a special performance at this dog- and family-friendly concert. Service dogs in law enforcement, therapy, search and rescue, and drug-, food- and bomb-detection demonstrate their amazing abilities as their two-legged friends learn more about pet services at vendor booths.
Noon | Polk Street at Jackson Street
Noon | Ghirardelli Square
Noon | Chinatown
4 p.m. | West Portal Courtyard
7 p.m. | Westwood
11 a.m. | Jefferson & Powell Streets to Washington Park
The Marine Corps’ music ensemble and Navy Band Southwest team up to march in San Francisco’s annual Italian Heritage Parade, the longest continuously running parade in the U.S. honoring Italian Americans. Pizza master Tony Gemignani and Judge Claude Perasso serve as grand marshals.
10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Golden Gate Park Bandshell
The United States Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Division Band kicks off a thrilling musical competition where Bay Area high schools battle for $30,000 in prize money to support local school music programs. Watch this free concert in Golden Gate Park to see who will win.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at email@example.com