Ship’s Band and Shipgirls

Psst, am I going to talk in today’s piece, Chester, or are you?




Mwahahaha! I love 4th-wall breaking pieces for a few reasons, but the ability to say directly what’s on my mind is one of them. No more “oh, but Chester, what would people think,” since, you know, from our perspective YOU GUYS ON THE OUTSIDE WORLD DOESN’T EXIST! Take that you imaginary-totally-not-here people! Go on! Flee! Lest ye face the wrath of DOUBLE-EYEPATCH –

…Okay. Well, originally, today’s piece was going to be over Naval Bands. Specifically, a reader wrote in to ask about whether or not there’s “proof” that the Arizona’s band was really the best, or how bands in America even started to begin with. “Would you really need people to play musical instruments in a military organization?”

In the years before portable musical devices, if you wanted music, you pretty much made it yourself or you waited for the music-guy to play it for you. You know, outside of military applications, a lot of people enjoy music! It’s something you can do with your buddies, or something you can practice yourself.

Well, for that second question, the Navy Band’s official website gives a pretty good explanation. The concise answer is that there were musician positions when the Navy first started, and as the Navy grew, the band became an integral and professional organization. In fact, some of the most recognizable pieces had their “roots” in the Navy! Look up the compose of the Stars and Stripes. You might be surprised!

If you look through memoirs of veterans, for instance, you’ll frequently find anecdotes about hearing the band, or noticing the band march around shoreside while they’re in port. This is part of the job of being a navy musician, and it’s one that I think people tend to appreciate a lot more once they think about it. After all, while the band members do specialize in their job (making music), it’s not like being part of the band exempts you from, well, being a sailor! You still ate the same food and followed the same rules and did the same things everyone else did.

For your second question…


Since many warships (mostly battleships, who had the crew size to, you know, find enough musicians) had their own bands, eventually a tradition arose where a competition (it’s what Chester means by the Battle of the Bands) occurs regularly. In the 1940s, the competition involves performing both what’s “in” (swing, jitterbug) and what’s popular (ballads), and it’s good entertainment for everyone involved.

At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Arizona’s band was a semi-finalist, along with the Tennessee and the Pennsylvania. In fact, the grapevine says that the Arizona’s band was trying to scout out their competition before their fateful day, since, you know, the members of the two bands had went to music school together when the Japanese attack came. Positioned on the top deck, the Arizona’s band was the first to get to their battle station. They passed munitions to the #1 turret. You know what happened soon after that.

The competition was cancelled. The next year, all the other semi-finalist bands willingly ceded the title to the Arizona.

So, there you have it. Personally, I think it’s always a bit tough to answer “which band is the best,” because even with strict guidelines, people disagree strongly with what criteria to use, which technical proficiency matter more, so on and so forth. I think it’s incredibly rare for you to see cases where musicians (let’s not forget musicians are some of the most competitive people on this planet) can come together and unanimously cede the glory to what would have been (possibly bitter!) competitors. In that sense, I at least think the “winner” is pretty evident.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, how do shipgirls have time for hobbies?

I think we can ask this question a slightly different way. Why isn’t (important person) spending all of their time (doing that important thing)?

The answer, as always, is that people are different. There are some who can devote every waking hour to their subject of interest. Scientists. Musicians. Writers. You name it. Some shipgirls are like this when it comes to their “jobs,” too. For everyone else it comes down to work ethics and personal values. Some choose to further cultivate their own personal skills, others cultivate matters that are more of a personal interest.

Remember, too, it’s about what sort of a story we all want to tell or what kind of a world we want to build. The brains behind Pacific tend to be interested in mundane matters, and I think we’ve put enough content out for our long(er) term readers to “get” a bit about the atmosphere and tone that we’re setting. It’s why you won’t see conflicts as a result of hobby-taking-precedent-over responsibility. That’s not who we are. It’s also why you don’t see that particular sort of rivalry. To cite a work the team is currently very interested in, think Uma Musume, not Idolmaster & Lovelive!.

Even me?

Even you, Chester. I know that you know when to –


…Way. To. Go. See if I say something nice about you again to the readers!

T-that was totally not what I had intended…

Here, I’ll write the note to Mike myself. “Request to temporarily revoke musical instrument privileges …”

Ooh! Actually no I can’t do that I just remembered I’m already banned from touching anything musically related 5PM to 7:30AM for the next month and a half. Here let me work this out. Chores? I’ll do your chores?

…You know I like to do chores, Chester. Hmph.

I’m sorry! Let me know what I can do to show that I’m sorry! I’ll do anything! Gosh, and in public too. This is going to do GREAT for my public image…


Yeah, of course! Since when has the Chester gone back on her word? Heh. You can count on that!


Uh… I, uh, yeah?

Okay. Apologies accepted. Here.

…What’s this? A box of screwdrivers?

Go tune, in order, my piccolo, Avalon’s carillon, the organ in the chapel, and the piano in the cruiser girl residences.


I’m being nice and merciful. I could have added Tennsy’s guitar to that list. Heh.