Artist spotlight: Montrose native performs with Navy Band

Musician Second Class Everett Cencich performs with the 32nd Street Brass Band from Navy Band Southwest at the USS Arizona Memorial on the campus of the University of Arizona in conjunction with Navy Week Tucson in February. 

Everett Cencich wasn’t too worried about how he would perform during Navy Week in February. The preparation of the band and the atmosphere was all Cencich needed.

“By the time we get set up and we're just waiting for the start of the show, I’m mostly just trying to relax into a performance mindset,” he said.

Cencich graduated from Montrose High School in 2005. He was heavily involved with the band program.

Years later, he’s performing with Navy Band Southwest with the rank Musician Second Class. He’s been in various iterations of the 32nd Street Brass Band. But in the performance in Tucson last month, the group had only been together for three months.

Even with busy schedules and little rehearsal time, there’s no panic from the musicians.

“Putting together quality shows quickly with limited rehearsal is something Navy bands do all the time,” Cencich said. “Mostly I try and relax and have fun. The audience will pick up on the energy from the band, and if the band isn’t having fun, the audience won’t either.”

The rank of Musician Second Class comes with more responsibilities, too. Preparing for performances is part of it, but Cencich has to balance a high level of musicianship while handling more responsibility on the business side of running a military fleet band. Taking time for personal practice, rehearsals, and learning about the administrative side prepares an officer for more responsibility and leadership positions, Cencich indicated.

Although the Navy requires saxophonists to play all saxophones in any style, Cencich views himself as a jazz tenor saxophone player.

“I’ve been playing tenor saxophone since the 6th grade and I was a jazz/commercial music major in college.”

After so much time with the instrument, the fire hasn’t burnt out, and he’s still motivated to deliver top notch performances to the crowd.

“The effort to continually improve upon each performance, both personally and as a group,” he said. “The continuous effort to improve is essential to quality performances.”

Playing with Navy Band Southwest has allowed Cencich to experience unique opportunities.

“During my time here, I’ve been to Fleet/Navy weeks in Tucson, San Francisco, and Dallas/Fort Worth, to name a few. For me, getting to travel to different cities and experience the different cultures for a little while is what makes them fun and unique.

“It’s mostly a lot of fun. I’m very fortunate to get to do something I love for a living and travel to experience the southwestern United States,” he added.

Commitment is just a part of what is necessary to continue delivering high quality performances. But passion for the craft elevates those performances to another level. It’s what makes Navy Week unique for Cencich, and his experience overall.

“I'd say to make sure to continually grow in your craft, whatever that may be, while at the same time being open to learning and getting good at the business side of things. Being successful at any passion at a professional level requires both.”

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