Between performances at the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building, the U.S. Navy Concert Band, one of the United States' premier musical organizations, will make a special stop at UT's Cox Auditorium at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Sponsored by the UT Band Department, the U.S. Navy Band concert promises to be an evening of musical excellence, patriotism and entertainment.

"Under the baton of Capt. Brian O. Walden, the band will perform selections from their national tour program," said Donald D. Ryder, interim director of bands.

Along with several featured soloists and a special tribute to our military veterans, an assortment of popular and classical concert favorites will be included in tomorrow's performance.

"This is also a homecoming event for UT alum, MUC Courtney R. Williams of Greenbrier, Tennessee," Ryder said.

Williams is the concert narrator for the U.S. Navy Band, as well as an accomplished vocalist. He was the narrator at the 2004 opening of the Clinton Presidential Library and, more recently, the announcer at the 56th Presidential Inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.

While a student at UT, Williams studied voice with former "Anthem Man" Professor George Bitzas and was winner of the freshmen men's category of the Tennessee National Association of Teachers of Singing competition in 1994.

In addition to their extensive concert schedule, the U.S. Navy Band is also dedicated to music education and the betterment of young musicians.

"The Music in the Schools program features band members presenting clinics, master classes and recitals at local schools," according to the U.S. Navy website.

Even though they are recognized as one of the finest wind ensembles in the world, the band often performs for local high schools and civic auditoriums in addition to their concerts at Carnegie Hall and The White House.

"When I was younger, I used to love seeing the Navy Band play in Washington, D.C.," said Jessie Anne Compton, junior in vocal education.

The U.S. Navy Band has performed at 21 presidential inaugurations, shared stages with popular recording artists such as Vince Gill and Tony Curtis, and participated in the 300th Anniversary of the Russian Fleet in St. Petersburg, Russia.

"The United States Navy Band, nationally and internationally, stands for musical and military excellence," according to the U.S. Navy website.

The concert is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for entry. Currently, all free tickets have been distributed. However, at 6:45 p.m., any unused seats will be made available to patrons who do not have a ticket.

For more information on the U.S. Navy Concert Band and all other U.S. Navy musical ensembles, visit their website at www.navyband.navy.mil.