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Where are they now? David Agee

Over video chat, sitting on the porch of his Chicago apartment, enjoying a rare pristine summer day in the Windy City, Hilton Head native and percussionist David Agee told me about his life’s unexpected turn. He’d just wrapped up his last semester teaching percussion at Fenwick Park High School, and was spending the week saying goodbye to friends before starting his new adventure. Agee, who uprooted to Chicago eight years ago to pursue his love of music, recently joined the Navy and is heading to boot camp. He joked, “I never thought I’d be graded on pushups in order to play music.”

Boot camp, believe it or not, is a requirement of the Sea Chanters, the official chorus of the U.S. Navy and Agee’s brandnew gig. He’s leaving city life behind and driving up to Great Lakes, Illinois, where he’ll be stripped of his personal effects and issued a Navy uniform. For 40 hours without sleep, he’ll endure medical tests, standing at attention and verbal abuse, topped off by a buzz cut. He’ll be given two minutes to tell his family he’s “alive and well” — reading from a supervised script — and then it’s radio silence for two weeks. Then, for six weeks, Agee will endure a rigorous schedule of mind-numbing tasks, such as staring unblinkingly into the night on watch duty and cleaning barracks on a diet of overcooked vegetables and bacon the texture of cardboard. He will relish every letter and pay-phone call he can get. If this sounds harsh, that’s because it is. But Agee will be rewarded for the two months of hardship with a coveted tenured position in the esteemed ensemble, which performs at major national events such as the presidential inauguration.
Read the full article at Hilton Head Monthly.