This week the Marine Band will perform its first summer concerts of the season on the National Mall, featuring a march by John Philip Sousa, a euphonium focus, and works by Sir Malcolm Arnold, Camille Saint-Saëns, and popular American singer and songwriter Johnny Mercer. Conducted by Assistant Director Captain Ryan J. Nowlin, the band will perform at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 7, at the U.S. Capitol and at 8 p.m., Thursday, June 8, at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Both concerts are free and open to the public and no tickets are required.
Nowlin has programmed many exciting and familiar pieces, kicking off the concerts with Sousa’s “Manhattan Beach,” written in 1893 and included in Volume 3 of The Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa by the Marine Band.
“The way we perform it is similar to the March King’s own performance practice,” said Nowlin. “By altering the dynamics, the band creates the image that the parade is passing the listener by as both the band and audience remain stationary.”
“Camille Saint- Saëns’ Danse Bacchanale from Samson et Dalila might be familiar to all concertgoers, and it keeps you engaged until the final cut off. And Sir Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Prelude, Siciliano, and Rondo’ is a staple of band literature,” Nowlin continued. “I think enthusiasts of the wind band would be appreciative to hear it performed by ‘The President's Own.’”
The program will feature euphonium soloist Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Summers on Philip Sparke’s Pantomime, a staple in the Euphonium literature. With the intentional euphonium emphasis on the program, Nowlin also programmed march music bandmaster and composer Karl L. King’s “The Melody Shop.” According to Nowlin, “When King was accused of not writing challenging euphonium parts, he responded with this bucket of notes that skirts the border of ‘unplayable’ at the tempo we plan to travel!”
The concerts will also highlight Marine Band mezzo-soprano vocalist Gunnery Sgt. Sara Sheffield performing a beloved song set of Johnny Mercer: a collection of some of America’s treasured songs, including a heart-wrenching treatment of Autumn Leaves by Joseph Kosma.
Complete Program and Notes
Limited street parking is available for Marine Band summer concerts on the National Mall. For concerts at the Capitol, patrons may take the red line to Union Station or the blue, orange, or silver lines to the Capitol South station. The concerts are free but weather permitting and programming is subject to change. Inclement weather announcements will be made by 6 p.m. on the band’s Concert Information Line at (202) 433-4011 and on the Marine Band’s website and social media pages.