Athus F. Delima was born in Brazil, but he considers Dallas home. That's why he's excited that the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers, the group in which he plays bass, has decided to make Dallas one of the 14 stops on its tour. The Cruisers visit the Dallas Arboretum this afternoon.
“Performing in Dallas to me means bringing back the results of what this city and its musicians taught me," Delima says. "I've met and played with great musicians in the Dallas scene, and being able to come back here with the U.S. Navy band is gratifying.”
Delima moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 8 years old. A year later, he started musical training. From a young age, his mother, a choir director and vocal coach, always made sure he had a gig playing with the choir, which helped Delima improve quickly.
He started ninth grade at Irving High School, where he studied classical string bass, and he graduated from Jack E. Singley Academy in Irving in 2007. During high school, Delima made the Texas All-State band in 2005, thanks to the help of his teachers, Chris Severin and Renaldo Lobo.
With the promise of college benefits and the opportunity to become a professional musician, Delima enlisted in the Navy as a musician after graduating high school. He completed basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois, and he later attended Naval School of Music in Little Creek, Virginia. After his time in Virginia, Delima was assigned to the New Orleans Navy Band and performed in the Crescent City Krewe and the Ceremonial Band.
In 2010, Delima auditioned for the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers to be bass guitarist — and he got the part.
The Cruisers are the U.S. Navy’s premiere music group, comprising eight of the Navy’s best performers. The group plays a variety of genres, from R&B to pop, classic rock, adult contemporary and jazz. It also plays original songs.
There are five other ensembles in the Navy Band, the Navy’s flagship musical organization: the Concert Band, the Ceremonial Band, the Sea Chanters chorus, the Commodores jazz ensemble and the Country Current country/bluegrass ensemble. Although these bands play across the country and the world, the Navy Band is based at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
“For many years, Navy bands have been where it matters, when it matters, just like the rest of our Navy,” Capt. Kenneth Collins, U.S. Navy Band commanding officer, said in a press release. “Today, we have sailors performing around the world, improving relations with our allies abroad as well as telling the Navy story here at home.”
The Navy Band, which has been touring the U.S. since 1925, is tasked with performing across the country at family-friendly events. These performances mainly draw veterans, families and many interested in joining in the Navy. The Navy Band’s ensembles tour nationally 12 to 15 weeks of the year. The Navy Band’s sailors are full-time professional musicians, and many have degrees in music, including some with graduate degrees.
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The Cruisers’ 2017 tour spans 14 cities, four states and about 1,400 miles as part of the Navy’s outreach program. The Cruisers' show at the arboretum will serve as a personal homecoming for Musician 1st Class Delima.
The Cruisers' Dallas performance begins at 1 p.m. Saturday and is free with paid admission into the arboretum. During the month of August, admission to the Dallas Arboretum is $1 as part of its August Dollar Days, which also features discounted concessions.
The Cruisers, 1 p.m. Saturday, Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road, $1, dallasarboretum.org.