Cruisers to rock in park

July 31, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

The Cruisers will sail into Hagerstown on Friday, Aug. 1, for a concert that's sure to rock City Park.

"We keep things pretty upbeat," says Chief Musician John L. Fisher, leader of the five-person rock ensemble.

The newest specialty unit of the U.S. Navy Band, based in Washington, D.C., the Cruisers takes its name from the versatile class of Navy ships. The group is slated to perform at 7 p.m. at the Peter Buys band shell in City Park.

"I've heard nothing but great things about them. It's supposed to be just good, classic rock 'n' roll," says Elizabeth Lay, executive director of the Washington County Arts Council, which is sponsoring the concert in cooperation with the City of Hagerstown.

Under the direction of Fisher, the Cruisers will perform a variety of music ranging from classic rock, rhythm and blues, and today's top 40 hits. In addition to Fisher, the group includes: Musicians 1st Class Shana Higginbotham, vocalist; Kenneth H. Carr, guitarist; Shawn R. Doolittle, drummer; Benjamin L. Grant, bassist; and Peter A. Czekaj, sound support technician.


Higginbotham's Texas roots make her a natural country music songstress, says Fisher, who has played a mix of musical genres during his nearly 20-year tenure in the Navy.

A Delaware native who enlisted in the Navy in 1984, Fisher began his musical studies on saxophone at age 10. He has played for the Navy Band Guam, Navy Band Northwest in Seattle, SIXTH Fleet Band in Naples, Italy, Navy Band Northeast in Newport, R.I., and the U.S. Naval Academy Band in Annapolis. He reported as the Cruisers' lead vocalist when the band formed in 1999, and he was a featured vocalist on the U.S. Navy Band's 75th Anniversary Concert Tour throughout the Southeast in 2000, according to the U.S. Navy Band's Web site.

The U.S. Navy Band is comprised of 163 enlisted musicians and three officers who perform in four specialty groups - the Sea Chanters chorus, the Commodores jazz ensemble, the Country Current group and the Cruisers rock ensemble. The band also features chamber music groups, according to the Web site.

Rock 'n' roll fans who plan to attend the Cruisers concert in City Park are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. The concert will be canceled if it rains.

The Cruisers in concert

Friday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m.

Peter Buys band shell

Hagerstown's City Park


For more information, call 301-791-3132.

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