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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Star Wars and Sousa at the Capitol

By Gunnery Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | United States Marine Band | June 25, 2018


The Marine Band’s summer performances continue this week on the National Mall with a Sousa march, Star Wars music, and selections from classic musicals by Lerner and Loewe. Conducted by Col. Jason K. Fettig, the evening performances will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 27, and Thursday, June 28, on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol. The concerts are free and no tickets are required.


The program will begin with John Philip Sousa’s march, “The Liberty Bell,” followed by Kimberly Archer’s Humoresque from Symphony No. 2, and Louis Cahuzac’s showpiece Variations sur un air du pays d’oc, featuring clarinet soloist Staff Sgt. Parker Gaims.


“This piece is one in robust tradition of French showpieces which demonstrate an instrumentalist’s technical ability,” Gaims said. “This particular piece is a theme and variations on a charming folk melody from the south of France. The audience will love hearing how Cahuzac repeats the theme over and over, embellishing and stylizing it along the way. At one point, he sets the tune to a Polish dance and later, he shifts the key, tempo, and atmosphere to a mournful Hungarian version. The piece begins with an extended virtuosic display by the solo clarinetist and ends with clarinet fireworks!”


The concert continues with Julie Giroux’s One Life Beautiful and a Lerner and Loewe Songbook, which highlights baritone vocalist Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear on selections from “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady, “They Call the Wind Maria” from Paint Your Wagon, and “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot by the legendary musical duo of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. Bennear has performed the Lerner and Loewe set on tour throughout the Southwest where it was very popular with the concert audiences.


“It was memorable taking it on tour so I wanted to perform it on a summer concert for those visiting D.C.,” Bennear said. “The set is a fun collection and has a nice variance. ‘On the Street Where you Live’ has a walking tempo, upbeat and hopeful feeling; ‘They Call the Wind Maria’ has a cowboy feel; and ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’ is a beautiful romantic piece with a gorgeous melody. And these pieces will take the audience back in time.”


“Lerner and Loewe really helped define Broadway’s Golden Age,” he continued. “They were an amazing team—a huge part of America’s musical heritage. It’s such beautiful music and such beautiful orchestration.”


“When I sang these pieces on tour, a lady came up to me and shared that she was so touched when we performed ‘On the Street Where You Live’ because it took her back to when she was a little girl watching My Fair Lady with her mom. She said they had a record of it and as she sat through our concert, she could remember singing with her Mom way back when. So these songs mean something to somebody. And they mean something to me, too. I’ve sung them since college back home in West Virginia, long before I got in the Marine Band, so they’re part of me. But ‘On the Street Where You Live’ is very meaningful to me because I sang it on my very first concert with the Marine Band. I’ll never forget it. It was pretty special.”


The concert will conclude with Suite from Star Wars, by John Williams. The suite weaves together music from the old and the new, highlighting the iconic Main Title, adventures of the Resistance forces, and a musical motif for Rey, a main character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


The concerts are free but weather permitting. Concert cancellations will be announced by 6 p.m. at (202) 433-4011 and at www.facebook.com/marineband. For more information visit www.marineband.marines.mil.


Complete program and notes

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