Senior Chief Musician Nicholas J. Pastelak is a native of Bel Air, Maryland, and a 1981 graduate of Bel Air High School. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in timpani performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University Conservatory of Music where he studied with Fred Begun, Jonathan Haas, and Scott Stevens.
Prior to joining the Navy, MUCS Pastelak performed as principal timpanist with Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI in Turin, Italy, and served as principal percussionist, acting principal timpanist, and assistant stage manager for the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra.
In 1988, MUCS Pastelak auditioned and was selected for assignment to the U.S. Naval Academy Band. Upon completion of recruit training at RTC San Diego in 1989, he reported to the band for duty as percussionist with the popular music group, Electric Brigade. Following the 9/11 attacks, he volunteered as the first Naval Academy Band member to serve TAD with the Washington Marine Barracks’ Annapolis Company as part of USNA’s Auxiliary Security Force.
Currently, he serves as drummer and unit leader for the “Crabtowne Stompers,” the band’s New Orleans-style jazz/funk brass band. Additionally, he performs as principal timpanist and concert announcer with the concert band, percussionist in the marching and ceremonial units, and percussionist, vocalist, and announcer for the “Next Wave” jazz ensemble. In addition to his performance duties, MUCS Pastelak is currently the USNA faculty and staff orientation program coordinator.
MUCS Pastelak has earned the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards), Meritorious Unit Commendation (2 awards), Navy Good Conduct Medal (7 awards), National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal.