Unit HomeNews
"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Young People’s Concert: Character Music from "Star Wars"

By Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | April 25, 2017


On April 30, in a concert hall far, far away...

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will present its annual Young People’s Concert titled “Charac­ter Music” at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 30, at Northern Virginia Community College’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Va. This free, one-hour concert is perfect for families and is centered on something many will find very exciting: the music and characters of “Star Wars”!

“This year’s program will focus on how music behind characters can make us feel a wide variety of emotions,” said Assistant Director Capt. Ryan J. Nowlin, who will conduct and narrate the performance. “In addition to learning about some of the most elemental parts of music, we hope children and families will begin to notice the music in their favorite movies, television shows, and video games and continue to think about why and how it makes them feel what they feel.”

In particular, the program will emphasize the musical themes of four well-known “Star Wars” characters: Princess Leia, Rey, Darth Vader, and Kylo Ren. Nowlin will discuss and demonstrate with the band how the different characters’ themes make one feel and why, including the importance of melody and theme, instrumentation and dynamics, harmony, tempo, and soundtrack. All of these elements together can be used to portray a character as kind, evil, lovable, or goofy. And sometimes music is for the atmosphere only, creating a mood that can’t be seen, but only felt. It is a powerful ally in storytelling, particularly in movies. Young people in atten­dance will all receive a custom coloring booklet and crayons to draw and color the characters they see and the emotions they feel as they listen to the music.

In addition to the incredible and well-known music of John Williams, including the main “Star Wars” theme, Princess Leia’s theme, Imperial March, Cantina Band, Scherzo for X-Wings, and Jedi Steps, the concert will feature members of the 501st and Rebel Legions in full “Star Wars” costumes participating during the program! The costumed characters will also be available immediately following the concert in the lobby for photo opportunities with kids and adults alike. Families are encouraged to wear their own “Star Wars” costumes to the concert. Kids will also have the oppor­tunity to try out many of the instruments for themselves after the concert in the instrument petting zoo.

The 501st and Rebel Legions are nonprofit organizations of all volunteer members with a shared interest in “Star Wars” and costuming. The mission of the 501st Legion is “for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in ‘Star Wars’ through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for ‘Star Wars’-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work,” according to their website.

So don’t miss this one-of-a-kind family concert that will be both entertaining and educational, as well as offer an up close glimpse at some of the most well-known characters around. The concert will last about one hour with no intermission and is geared toward students in grades 4-8, but all are welcome. Admission is free and seating is general admission on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets are required. Free parking is available in the adjacent garage. Schlesinger Concert Hall is located on the campus of Northern Virginia Community College at 4915 East Campus Drive in Alexandria, Va.

Unit News Search