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United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Marine Band Performance: State of Mind

By Master Sgt. Kristin duBois | United States Marine Band | April 5, 2016

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Alexandria, Va. -- style="line-height: 150%;">The Marine Band will present a program titled “State of Mind” at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 10 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria. Conducted by Assistant Director Maj. Michelle A. Rakers, the selections emphasize the very nature of music and its persuasive qualities. Each piece highlights some mental state, whether it is the pride felt serving as a Marine, as in Robert Jager’s “Esprit de Corps,” or the meditative mood that Michael Gandolfi’s Flourishes and Meditations can evoke during a performance.

One performer on stage will demonstrate the full range of her tough mental capacity. Flutist Mei Stone, the winner of the Marine Band’s 2016 Concerto Competition for High School Musicians, will perform her rendition of Cécile Chaminade’s Concertino, Opus 107. A senior at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, Stone has been juggling college entrance auditions this spring, while preparing for her Marine Band solo. “I’ve been devoting a lot of time to getting comfortable performing in front of a large audience,” she said. “Soloing with a large ensemble is very different to playing with a piano accompanist, so I’m working on being more clear with my musical objectives so I can communicate that with the conductor, the ensemble, and ultimately the audience.” While her intense work ethic is entirely self-motivated, her inspiration to perform comes from her family. “My grandfather was in both the Navy and Marines as a hospital corpsman. My older sister is actually hoping to be a member of one of the armed services bands—she plays trumpet and currently attends Texas Christian University. While I perform, I try to play for them since I know how important this would be to both of them.” 

The program culminates with Dana Wilson’s Piece of Mind where each movement represents the inner workings of the human mind. Written in 1987, Piece of Mind won the 1988 Sudler International Composition Prize and the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Prize. According to Wilson, “Piece of Mind is a musical pun on an old expression. It also explores different aspects of the mind and the way it functions. The first movement, entitled Thinking, is very logical and orderly, transforming the basic four-note idea that you’ll first hear in the marimba in very rational ways. The second movement, Remembering, draws upon my own roots as a jazz pianist, expressing the four-note idea chronologically through various historical styles. As with the way we tend to remember things, some gestures are blurted out in vivid imagery, while others are rather vague reminiscences. The third movement, Feeling, is a reminder that the mind—for better or worse—does not always function in logical ways. It explores a spectrum of emotional worlds, but I’ll allow you to determine what those might be. The last movement is entitled Being. We in the West don’t explore that element of stasis and meditation particularly well, so the main motive is transformed now into elements drawn upon from certain non-Western cultures.”

The Marine Band’s performance of “State of Mind” will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 10 at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. Free parking is available in the lot adjacent the concert hall. The concert is free; no tickets are required.

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