Musician First Class Matt Shea grew up in Ellington, Connecticut, graduating from Ellington High School in 1991. He attended the University of North Texas in Denton, TX, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance in 1996. Later, he returned to UNT, and earned a master’s degree in 2001. While in graduate school he performed as the jazz trumpet soloist in the world renowned One O’clock Lab Band, recording “Lab ’98” and “Lab ’99” with the ensemble.
MU1 Shea gained invaluable professional experience freelancing in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. He performed big bands, brass quintets, wedding bands, musicals, salsa bands, rock bands, and small jazz ensembles. He performed for studio recordings used for radio and television commercials, and performed live for several Dallas Cowboy football games, a Dallas Stars hockey game, and with the Ft. Worth/Dallas Ballet. While on summer breaks from school, MU1 Shea worked as a showband musician for Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Lines. Having worked for Carnival periodically from 1998 to 2000, MU1 Shea accepted a full-time position with them in 2001 and was quickly promoted to Musical Director.
In 2004, MU1 Shea auditioned and was selected for assignment in the U.S. Naval Academy Band. Following recruit training at RTC, Great Lakes, he reported for duty as trumpeter with the wind ensemble, marching band, Next Wave jazz ensemble, Commandant’s Combo, ceremonial units, and as a duty bugler. His collateral duties include Command Leading Petty Officer of the USNA Band, Petty Officer in Charge of the band’s Administration Departement, and Enlisted Representative for the Midshipmen jazz ensemble.
MU1 Shea has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal (3 awards), National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.