This year the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Band joined the Romanian Navy band to celebrate Navy Day, playing traditional Romanian songs as well as some of America’s favorites, Aug. 8-15, 2022.
With the 101st being deployed in Europe, the band was looking for other ways to interact with the host nation of Romania and learn more about their culture.
“We partnered with the Romanian Navy band that are stationed down at the Naval Academy in Constanta.” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Landrum, Commander of the 101st band. “We wanted to partner with them so we could begin our cooperative effort.”
First celebrated in 1902, Navy Day was held August 15 to give more meaning to the celebrations that gathered large audiences in cities located near water. Constanta, located on the Black Sea and the biggest port in the country, has since attracted large-scale activities such as parades, demonstrations, concerts and more.
According to a message sent in 1902 by the mayor of Constanta to mayors of nearby localities, “On the occasion of the celebration of the 15th of August (Saint Mary feast) the patron of the Navy, in Constanta, on land and on the water, there will be regattas, running competitions, venetian evenings, a grand ball on the water and allegorical cars.”
In 1912, the Royal family became the patrons of the day, and a fixture of the festivities that took place in Constanta. They would greet the sailors, as well as the large crowds that would travel from Bucharest. By day they could watch regattas and mock naval battles and in the evenings, they would be treated to venetian evenings, concerts, dances and fireworks.
During WWI and WWII, the celebrations took on a more somber note. On August 15, 1918, the festivities were dedicated to raise funds for war orphans. In 1945 members of the Allied Commission of Control attended the activities.
During this year's Navy Day festivities the 101st band were invited to perform.
“Working with the Romanians has been incredible,” said Landrum. “A term that gets thrown around a lot in musical circles is that music is a universal language. Most of us don’t speak the same language but when we get together as a combined band, we start communicating with how music allows us: to convey our message to the public and allows us to reach out into the community. So obviously us being musicians a logical first place to start was with fellow musicians in our partner militaries so all through public affairs channels and common contacts we reached out and they already had a series of concerts plan for the 120th anniversary of Navy Day this year and so they said come on partner with us and so we a couple of brief rehearsals and put together an entire program that’s we’ve been taking all over the eastern part of this country.”
The band performed five events throughout Romania in cities such as Constanta, Bucharest, Mamaia and Tulcea, leading up to the 15th where they performed at the Constanta seashore.
The 15th is where after the 101st band performed they were then joined by the Romanian Navy Band and the cadets of the Romanian Naval Academy "Mircea cel Batran." The three groups then marched to the old town district where they were joined by the local population in a traditional Romanian circle dance before ending the celebration.