November 29, 2023

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Kenneth Power, regular-bearer of military songs, dies at 83

Kenneth Drive, who grew to become a normal-bearer of armed forces pageantry in the course of virtually 50 percent a century as director of the U.S. Service provider Maritime Academy Regimental Band, a mainstay of ceremonies and celebrations including the president’s inaugural parade, died Oct. 7 at a nursing facility in Rye, N.Y. He was 83.

The trigger was troubles from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, said a previous scholar, Marianne Lepre.

Capt. Drive, who served from 1971 to 2016 as tunes director at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Issue, N.Y., devoted approximately his complete qualified life to the tradition of military services new music, his baton an unflagging marker of time in marches and other tunes that for numerous Individuals stir deep emotions with just their initially bars.

He took up the trumpet as a schoolboy in Queens and honed his competencies in circus bands, as a member of the Radio Metropolis Audio Hall orchestra and in the pit at Broadway shows. All through a stint in the Army in the 1950s, he encountered a team of going to British army bands that set him on his path.

“It was like St. Paul on the Damascus Road,” Capt. Power informed the New York Moments years afterwards. “Off the ferry marched the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Plymouth with pith helmets and a seem like an organ. You could actually hear their feet march when they went piano. And I just explained, ‘This is it, man. I received to do that in this nation.’”

At the Merchant Marine Academy, Capt. Power modeled his band, its music variety and its marching style on all those of the Royal Marines. “That’s one thing you just really do not see in the United States,” said his successor at the academy, Lt. Cmdr. Bob Nixon, who is now retired.

At the academy, Capt. Drive led midshipmen and women who aspired to be “mariners, not musicians,” as he put it. However below his leadership, they produced a formidable ensemble, match to perform for the president, as they did in the parade together Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington that is a highlight of inaugural festivities.

“Anytime you have the possibility to conduct in front of the president, it is a thrill of a life time,” Capt. Drive advised Newsday in 2009. The point that his musicians performed the same tune just before the reviewing stand at each individual inauguration in no way lessened the hurry. The tune was “A Existence on the Ocean Wave,” and to Capt. Drive the tradition under no circumstances obtained outdated.

He initially led a band before a president at Richard M. Nixon’s next inaugural celebration in 1973. He could not hide his disappointment in 1977 when Jimmy Carter, who experienced promised to provide a simple touch to the White House, scaled down inaugural grandeur and walked the parade route rather than driving in a motorcade.

“He didn’t want ruffles and thrives and ‘Hail to the Main,’” Capt. Pressure advised the Occasions. “He explained it was also pompous. And the country didn’t like that. People believe the president warrants unique new music. Individuals like ceremony and no a single does it far better than a band. When you drop your ceremony, you lose a good deal.”

Another disappointment arrived in 1985, when Ronald Reagan was sworn in for his second term. Temperatures dropped so low on that frigid January day that trumpet valves froze. The oath of office environment was moved indoors, and the parade was canceled

Capt. Force was back again for the inauguration of George H.W. Bush, 2 times for Invoice Clinton and twice for George W. Bush. By the time President Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009, the band leader’s longevity was assumed to be a file of some type.

At that point, sick health created it difficult for him to march with his band in the parade, but he watched dutifully from the sidelines.

Kenneth Richard Drive, whose father was a banker, was born in Queens on March 24, 1940.

He served in the Military and studied trumpet at the Naval School of New music, which acknowledged musicians from other branches of the army. As a member of an Military band in 1957, he executed in his initial inaugural parade — Dwight D. Eisenhower’s next — and recalled his awe when he caught a glimpse of the president.

“I was a youthful child,” Capt. Pressure recalled. “We stood in entrance of the Treasury Building. We ended up advised to appear straight forward, but I listened to applause and seemed more than to the side. It just transpired that the car or truck was passing with President Eisenhower standing up with his two arms in the air. It was a moment I’ll by no means forget about.”

He carried out with the Radio Metropolis Audio Corridor orchestra and on Broadway whilst attending the Manhattan College of Audio, exactly where he wrote his master’s thesis on British band ideas.

Right after his schooling, he was a superior university band director in Port Chester, N.Y., and took his college students to the Rose Bowl parade. According to Newsday, a Service provider Marine Academy alumnus happened to see the effectiveness and referred him to the academy, in which he was then hired as new music director. Capt. Drive lived for many years on the academy grounds.

His marriages to Catherine Sloan, Barbara Hopkins and Marilyn Uribe finished in divorce. Survivors include a stepson, John Uribe, and two grandchildren.

Capt. Drive arranged band tunes and composed initial pieces, which include a march for the 1st lady, penned for Hillary Clinton, and one for presidential animals.

Ever attuned to background, he aided arrange an work to erect a statue of John Philip Sousa, the armed forces march composer, that was committed in 2005 at the Maritime Barracks Annex in Southeast Washington.

He also assisted get landmark designation for the property of George M. Cohan, the composer of the Planet War I-era patriotic track “Over There,” who lived in Kings Stage around the Service provider Marine Academy. The regimental band, significantly to Capt. Force’s pride, was selected “George M. Cohan’s Very own.”

“What we do does not alter,” Capt. Drive explained to the Times in 2009, reflecting on the custom in which he and his regimental band followed. “In many techniques we’re a walking museum, something from a different age.”