Free tickets to see U.S. Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble available in Elkhart Truth, Flavor574

October 18, 2015

Jazz great Louis Armstrong once said, “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know,” but a rare chance to see big band jazz will soon be here.

One of the few big band jazz groups still performing, the U.S Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble, is set to perform at the Lerner Theatre on Oct. 28.

Boasting five on saxophone, four on trombone, four on trumpet, a four-member rhythm section and a vocalist, the 18-member group has a number for everyone, from swing to modern jazz.

“It will be an eclectic mix of jazz,” said Master Chief Musician and Public Affairs Director Aaron Porter. “We play a wide range of music, from Ray Charles to Count Basie. We also honor veterans with patriotic music.”

The members of this ensemble and all 176 members of the U.S. Navy Band begin with a professional background in their musical instrument before going through a stringent and exacting audition process for a specific role in the band, Porter said. After completing the audition, those called back enlist in the U.S. Navy, attend boot camp and become active members of the Navy.

Porter, who played the French horn for the U.S. Navy Band, knows the commitment and dedication it takes to be a member of the prestigious group.

“It’s a pursuit most of us have been following since we were kids in school,” he said.

The U.S. Navy Commodores Jazz Ensemble — and the U.S. Navy Band, in general — does not charge for its performances, as taxpayers already have paid for these services, Porter said.

“We do not sell tickets, but depend on local sponsors while on tour,” he said. “All of our events in Washington are free and open to the public.”

The band’s music is not sold but often is available for free at libraries or through other organizations that may request CDs through the U.S. Navy Band. Some musical pieces are available for anyone to download for free from the U.S. Navy Band’s website at

“We’re proud to represent the United States Navy, all active duty members and reserves. We want to show people the pride and professionalism of the Navy,” Porter said.

The show begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Lerner Theatre, 410 S. Main St., with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are free and available by mail with a coupon printed in the The Elkhart Truth. Tickets also can be picked up at The Truth offices, 421 S. 2nd Street. Supplied are limited.