Navy Funk Band an Offbeat Career Path for Service Members

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - When most people think of military service, they think of the infantry - marching, drill instruction and firing rifles.
But there's a wide variety of career paths within the armed services.
As a music educators conference at the university found over the weekend, that means some carry trumpets instead of M-4 rifles.

Michael Brehm >> "It's true. I'm happier than I've ever been."

Jarod Brannon >> "It's kind of a dream come true. To get to do that and make a living playing music."

There are nine fleet bands all over the country and overseas. This band is bringing the funk to the Northwest.

Musician Third Class Michael Brehm; Saxophone Instrumental >> "This particular group is the funk band and what we play is kind of a variety of funk music throughout the last several decades including our own."

After pursuing music education and sometime freelancing, trumpeter Michael Brehm found that enlisting in the Navy could mean a career in performance.
Saxophonist Jared Brannon faced similar challenges in his musical journey.

Musician Second Class Jared Brannon; Saxophone Instrumental >> "I really wanted a career in music. I was thinking I might like to teach classical saxophone at a university or college somewhere and didn't realize how difficult it was to find those jobs. They don't exist in very many places."

Michael >> "We're going to keep things going here with another one form the 80's."

With this active duty band, one of the best parts is reaching out to the civilian community.

Jared >> "I think for us as musicians that's our favorite part of the job is getting out and connecting with people."

Embracing the sense of adventure, these two musicians and their families have traveled all over the country to serve in the best way they know how.

This is Julia Laude reporting.