The Marine Band Salutes the Wind Band Tradition
By Master Sgt. Kristin duBois
| “The President’s Own” | June 10, 2014
June 10, 2014 --
When Assistant Director Capt. Michelle A. Rakers steps up to the podium at 8 p.m. on June 11 and 12 on the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol, she will conduct a program that salutes the tradition of the wind band with English folk songs written by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Leonard B. Smith’s aptly titled march “The March King,” and one of John Philip Sousa’s most recognized marches.
The concert will begin with “Let Freedom Ring,” an original composition by Marine Band staff arranger Staff Sgt. Ryan Nowlin which was premiéred at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration on Jan. 21, 2013. The “simplistic treatment of the theme is to portray a deep reverence,” Staff Sgt. Nowlin said. Based on the melody of “My Country ‘tis of Thee,” Staff Sgt. Nowlin drew inspiration from Samuel F. Smith’s patriotic lyrics, specifically the phrase “land where my fathers died;” a strong reminder of the Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that all may enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The program continues with Vaughan Williams’ first composition for band, English Folk Song Suite; Carlton Lind’s transcription of Amilcare Ponchielli’s Clarinet Duet, “Il Convegno,” featuring soloists Master Gunnery Sgt. Charles Willett and Gunnery Sgt. Tracey Paddock; Smith’s “The March King” which includes a nod to Sousa’s “Riders for the Flag;” and W. J. Duthoit’s arrangement of selections from Leonard Bernstein’s seminal West Side Story.
Capt. Rakers will conclude the concert with Sousa’s march, “The Washington Post,” which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. What was originally penned as a march to be performed at an essay contest sponsored by the newspaper became internationally well-known as it was the ideal rhythm to dance the wildly popular “two step.”
The free performances will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 1,1 and Thursday, June 12, on the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol. No tickets are required. Inclement weather announcements will be made after 6 p.m. on the Marine Band Concert Information Line at (202) 433-4011. For more information, please visit www.marineband.marines.mil.