About Spirit of the Navy

This project was conceived as a private bi-centennial birthday celebration for the United States Navy by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke.With a book by Hollywood producer Alan Brown, a reserve navy commander, and stage direction by movie star George O'Brien, a reserve navy captain, Spirit of the Navy had a score that consisted of a five minute overture and incidental music for approximately 15 historic scenes. The overture's middle section was written for fife and drums in response to Chief of Naval Operations Arleigh Burke's request to hear some "fife and drum stuff in the show." The overture was later recorded by the Unites States Navy Band and the Sea Chanters on an LP album entitled Our Navy's Music. Incidental music for the individual dramatizations of navy history included music for a John Paul Jones episode, drunken sailors of the War of 1812, a Farragut episode, Perry's opening of Japan to the West, and other chronological events, ending with two dramatizations from World War II, one of the Gilmore incident (see below), and one of Admiral Mitchner's famous decision to turn on the lights of his aircraft carrier in the Japanese infested Pacific in order to get his pilots back on board safely. The production played for invited audiences in a Department of Agriculture Theater in Washington D. C. for a dozen performances. Materials were then packaged for productions of the show at U. S. Naval Bases around the world, using local Navy personnel as actors and tech people with recorded music. The show was produced in this fashion at about 25 locations worldwide. Gordon received two letters of commendation from CNO Burke. Piano score and conductors score of orchestrated version extant.