ST. LOUIS – The USS St. Louis sailors and the Navy Band Great Lakes took the stage at Whiteside Middle School in Belleville Monday for “Navy Week.”

“This is Navy Week St. Louis, and we are coming out and performing as much as we can around the area of St. Louis,” said Christopher Cornette, Lt. Commander for the U.S. Navy. “Trying to meet the people of St. Louis and let them meet us.”

Other members of the Navy Band Great Lakes stopped at the Humboldt Academy of Higher Learning in St. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The middle school students got acquainted with the accompanist and brass section of what Woodrow Wilson once called, “America’s Band.”

“It was great for our kids to hear all the wonderful music and to hear about all the jobs in the United States Navy and also the STEM jobs,” said Monica Laurent, principal of Whiteside Middle School. “It’s very important that we’re preparing our students for the STEM fields.”

Meanwhile, at Sigel Elementary School Monday afternoon, there was a ceremonial guard display, which was a big hit.

“So they are the Navy exhibition drill team,” said Ken Warford, Commander, and Executive Officer for the US Navy Ceremonial Guard. “They spend countless hours learning how to do all the rifle manual and, as you said, twirls. That is their side job. Their main purpose is to conduct Navy funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. That is the primary job of the Navy Ceremonial Guard.”

Then, it was time to answer questions, read to the grade school students, and showcase another side of the Navy.

“We just wrapped up state testing, so we’ve been very intensely focused,” said Laura Owca, principal of Sigel Elementary School. “This is a great way to kind of celebrate and bring that to a close, and get ready for summer.”

The Navy Band Great Lakes will be performing all week long around the St. Louis region.