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"The President's Own"


"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Battles, Jazz, and Fantasies

By Master Sgt. Amanda Simmons | United States Marine Band | May 9, 2017


At 2 p.m., May 14, the members of the Marine Chamber Orchestra will present a string-focused chamber program at John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in Washington, D.C.  The concert is free, no tickets are required, and will take place at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C., and will stream live at www.marineband.marines.mil and www.youtube.com/usmarineband.


“Most people are surprised to learn that the Marine Band has a string component, which makes it feel even more like a ‘hidden gem,’” notes violinist and concert coordinator Staff Sgt. Chaerim Smith. “I wanted to program pieces that would feature all the different talents our string players have, including a jazz piece with classically trained violist Staff Sgt. Tam Tran who is performing jazz on violin!”


The violin was a traditional jazz instrument, specifically in the genre of Gypsy Jazz of the 1930s. The quartet, violin, piano, guitar, and double bass, will transport audiences back to the 1920s to the city of Avalon, a resort town of Catalina Island, off the coast of California. Avalon has become a jazz standard and is particularly popular in the Gypsy Jazz genre highlighted by Django Reinhardt’s two separate recordings with Coleman Hawkins and the Quintette du Hot Club de France.


Opening the program is Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke (Fantasy Pieces). Composed in just two days in 1849, the works were were originally written for clarinet and piano, with additional versions composed for violin with piano and cello with piano (featured on this program). It is comprised of three short movements, each depicting a specific mood or emotional state of mind.


“One of my favorite pieces on the program is the final piece, ‘Last Round,’ by Osvaldo Golijov,” continues Smith. “It features two string quartets and a bass; our setup is a bit like a battle between the two quartets with the bass in the center of it all. It’s raucous, wild and fun!”


Audiences will also be treated to a string quartet in a more traditional format. Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Opus 13 is revered as one of Mendelssohn’s most passionate works and was influenced by Ludwig van Beethoven’s death.


The program will also include the theme from BBC2’s Victorian Kitchen Garden, a 13-part British television series produced in 1987. The theme music and soundtrack was composed by English composer, Paul Reade, who then arranged the music from the show into a five-movement suite for Clarinet and Harp.  


For complete program information, click here.

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