This week’s Marine Band Summer Fare performances will feature an eclectic mix of both old and new works, including selections by “The Waltz King” Johann Strauss, Jr., and “The March King” John Philip Sousa, as well as more contemporary pieces by such composers as Adam Gorb and John Mackey. The concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 24, on the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol, and at 8 p.m., Thursday, June 25, 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. Patrons are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets to sit on as there is no permanent seating available.
Conducted by Director Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig, the performance will begin and end with Sousa marches: “Hands Across the Sea” and America’s national march, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Sousa wrote “Hands Across the Sea” in 1899, one year after the onset of the Spanish-American War, to bolster America’s position in maintaining peace around the world. Just three years prior, in 1896, Sousa composed his most popular and widely recognized march, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Since its premiere in May 1897, the rousing piece has captured the spirit of American patriotism perhaps better than any other composition for more than a century and, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed an act of Congress designating “The Stars and Stripes Forever” the national march of the United States.
Moving into the late 20th century, the Marine Band will perform the more contemporary selections “Awayday” by Adam Gorb; Party Piece by Philip Sparke, featuring euphonium soloist Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Summers; and Sheltering Sky by John Mackey. “Awayday” is a musical homage to the great days of Broadway while Sheltering Sky draws melodic inspiration from traditional folksongs such as “Danny Boy” and “Shenandoah.” The lighthearted Party Piece, written for long-standing principal euphonium Charles Shipp of the historic City of Cambridge Brass Band in England, is an exciting display of endurance, beautifully expansive melodies, and technical virtuosity.
The concert’s final selections before Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes” will take the audience back once again to the 1800s as mezzo-soprano soloist Gunnery Sgt. Sara Dell’Omo sings “Adele’s Laughing Song” from the Strauss comic operetta Die Fledermaus, followed by the Finale from Symphony No. 1 by Vasili Kalinnikov and transcribed by Glenn Cliffe Bainum. Kalinnikov’s Symphony No.1 is commonly considered as his greatest compositional achievement, and displays his very complex musical writing that often draws from Russian folksong. While the final movement of Kalinnikov’s first symphony is reminiscent of the lyrical and folk-like motives of the preceding movements, the Finale emphatically concludes with an expansive and uplifting exultation.
For the Summer Fare performances, limited street parking is available. 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. For concerts at the Sylvan Theater, take the blue, orange, or silver lines to the Smithsonian 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.
June 22, 2015 -- Complete Program and Notes