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Country Current Comes to Herndon

United States Navy Band plays for United Methodist Congregation.

Country Current is the US Navy’s premiere country-bluegrass ensemble. They entertained an audience at Herndon United Methodist Congregation on Nov. 9.

Country Current is the US Navy’s premiere country-bluegrass ensemble. They entertained an audience at Herndon United Methodist Congregation on Nov. 9. Ryan Dunn

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Musician 1st Class Joe Friedman, Musician 1st Class Kenny Ray Horton, and Senior Chief Musician Keith Arneson, all members of the US Navy Band Country Current.

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Musician 1st Class Joe Friedman standing with Herndon United Methodist Congregation Director of Traditional Music, Shannon Wise.

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Musician 1st Class Joe Friedman, Herndon United Methodist Congregation Director of Traditional Music, Shannon Wise, and Musician 1st Class Kenny Ray Horton.

“It was wonderful, the musicianship was outstanding.”

-- Herndon resident Mike Wise

On Nov. 9, members of the United States Navy Band Country Current preformed before an audience at Herndon United Methodist Congregation. “It was a nice concert, very well attended,” Burke resident Sarah Hooke said. Hooke has been the church organist for 19 years.

“It was wonderful, the musicianship was outstanding,” said Mike Wise, a resident of Herndon and member of the congregation. “I was impressed with the number of songs the lead singer Kenny wrote.” Approximately 165 people attended the music show, which was open to the public.

The church’s Director of Liturgical or Traditional Music, Shannon Wise, helped arrange the concert. “This is the first time we have had a bluegrass music show,” Wise said. “There is a desire for culture in this area, and it is a good way to reach out to the community. I try to get a good mix of music to our concerts. We never charge admission for the concerts and we provide free childcare,” Wise said.

The United States Navy Band Country Current is the Navy’s premiere country-bluegrass ensemble. Formed in 1973 by banjoist Bill Emerson, the band has a legacy of notable alumni. Under the direction of Senior Chief Musician Keith Arneson, Country Current has become renowned for its musicianship, performing a blend of modern country music and cutting-edge bluegrass.

“We have a lot of fans locally and we usually get a good turn out,” said Musician 1st Class Kenny Ray Horton. “We do national tours once a year. Our primary duty is to take care of ceremonies and entertainment for the office of the President, the Vice President, and the top brass.”

The band played 15 songs, one of them was “Hope It Grows” composed by band member Horton. Horton released his first bluegrass album in 2009 and plans to continue writing and recording for future records to be released as well.

“About 14 months ago I finished the song up and brought it out before the band, I told them I did not think it was ready but the band disagreed… Eventually it will end up on one of my personal records,” Horton said. His inspiration for the song came from friends and family members who were farmers. “The song fell out in about 10 minutes… I’ve tweaked it a little bit here and there but it always goes back to the original.”

Before the performance ended, the band played songs of the military branches including the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard. All current and former military service members were invited to stand as their branches’ song was played.

One of the next upcoming musical events at Herndon United Methodist Church will be the Dec. 8 Herndon Ecumenical Choir Christmas Concert and Sing-a-long. This event will include members of local congregations including St. Joseph’s Parish and Holy Cross Lutheran. “We are hoping to have a really good turn out,” Wise said.

To learn more about upcoming Navy Band shows and upcoming concerts, visit their website at: http://www.navyband.navy.mil. To learn more about Herndon United Methodist Church, visit their website at http://www.herndonumc.org.