This month’s Web Exclusive audio downloads both hold ties to the Marine Band’s 17th Director John Philip Sousa. September’s March of the Month is actually a Galop written by Sousa and titled “On Wings of Lightning.” The title is appropriate as the piece is very quick – only about one and a half minutes long – and also incredibly lively and energetic. Sousa composed the piece in 1876, only a year after leaving the Marine Band where he had served for eight years as an apprentice musician and performing member. Four years later, in 1880, Sousa returned to the Marine Band to take on the role of 17th Director and would remain there for 12 years.
Conducted by former Marine Band Director Col. Timothy W. Foley, the Marine Band performed the piece on Jan. 18, 2004, at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax, Va., during the band’s annual Sousa Season Opener.
Download “On Wings of Lightning”
The Featured Soloist audio download for September is Herbert L. Clarke’s “Nereid” featuring cornet soloist Master Sgt. Michael Mergen. Clarke joined Sousa’s newly formed civilian band and was one of Sousa’s most prolific cornet soloists. He often composed many of his own solos, and he was known for his beautiful tone and expressive playing. The term “Nereid” refers to the sea nymphs of Greek mythology who accompanied Poseidon. They provided aid and comfort to sailors in distress or who were battling storms on the high seas, in distinct contrast to the Sirens who lured the sailors to their doom with their beautiful songs.
Conducted by Marine Band Director Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig, the Marine Band performed the piece on Jan. 11, 2015, at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Fairfax, Va., during the band’s annual Sousa Season Opener.