This month’s March of the Month is Johannes Hanssen’s Valdres march, the winner of the 2015 Sousa’s March Mania. The second Norwegian march to make it into the championship match and upset “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Valdres moved through the March Mania bracket as an eighth seed upsetting each march it faced, beginning with the number one seed “Semper Fidelis” in the first round. Valdres won the championship decidedly with a total 713 votes to 534 votes for “Stars and Stripes.”
Interestingly, Valdres was Hanssen’s first composition and it takes its name from an area of Norway between Oslo and Bergen. Hanssen sold the march to a publisher for about five dollars, never imagining the international fame it would achieve. The opening solo contains the signature fanfare of the Valdres Battalion and other melodies are drawn from Norwegian folk and folk-inspired sources.
Conducted by former Marine Band Director Col. John R. Bourgeois, USMC (ret.), this performance of Valdres was recorded by the Marine Band at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax, Va., in May 1992 for its educational recording Sound Off!
The New Music Corner audio download is Donald Grantham’s “Let Evening Come.” Grantham’s music was inspired by Jane Kenyon’s poem of the same name. Grantham is one of many composers to find musical inspiration from Kenyon’s poem which offers comforting words in times of trial and mourning.
Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig conducted the Marine Band in the performance of the selection in September 2014 at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, during the band’s National Concert Tour to the West.
Download “Let Evening Come”
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