Washington, D.C. --
The U.S. Marine Band’s summer concerts that will take place this week will feature a program full of lighthearted favorites perfect for a warm summer evening on the National Mall. Assistant Director Capt. Ryan Nowlin will conduct the band at 8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol. The concerts are free and weather permitting.
The concert will feature principal bass clarinet player Staff Sgt. Andrew Dees performing Nathan Daughtrey’s Twitch. Although Staff Sgt. Dees usually performs on bass clarinet, Twitch was written for a B-flat clarinet soloist. Staff Sgt. Dees began his musical training on clarinet at age 11. After graduating from Lloyd V. Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas, in 2001, he attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance in 2005. In 2006, he earned a master’s degree in music performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. His instructors included Paul Garner of SMU and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Forest Aten of the Dallas Opera Orchestra, J. Lawrie Bloom of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Steve Cohen of Northwestern University. Prior to joining “The President’s Own” in 2010, Staff Sgt. Dees was a freelance musician and taught privately in Richardson.
Twitch also has a Texas connection. It was commissioned by the Spring High School Wind Ensemble of Spring, Texas, for performance at the 2016 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic with guest clarinet soloist Sasha Potiomkin of the Houston Symphony. Daughtrey features the clarinet in a virtuosic role, at times accompanied by the full band and sometimes as part of a clarinet quartet. The composer’s background as a percussionist is evident in the vital role of the percussion section throughout the piece; they provide a grooving drive which keeps the music alive from beginning to end.
The concert will also feature as soloist baritone vocalist and concert moderator Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear, who joined the Marine Band in 2000. Master Sgt. Bennear began his musical instruction at age nine. After graduating in 1990 from Elk Garden High School in Elk Garden, W.Va., he attended Potomac State College in Keyser, W.Va., and earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1996 from West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown, where he studied with Peter Lightfoot. He earned a master’s degree in vocal performance in 1999 from the University of Tennessee (UT), in Knoxville, where he studied with George Bitzas. Master Sgt. Bennear has performed with the UT Opera Theater, WVU Opera Theater, Theatre West Virginia, and the Knoxville Opera Company, where he played the role of Sharpless in Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with noted soprano Stella Zimbalis of the Metropolitan Opera. He also taught voice as a graduate teaching assistant at UT.
Master Sgt. Bennear will perform “I Have Dreamed” from The King and I by the legendary musical team of composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II. In the 1940s and 1950s, Rodgers and Hammerstein produced a string of extraordinarily successful musicals, including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music. Their Broadway shows and corresponding film versions garnered 34 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and two Grammy Awards. The King and I premièred in 1951 and ran on Broadway for nearly three years. This love story set amongst a clash of cultures is an adaptation of the historical memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The song “I Have Dreamed” celebrates the secret love of two side characters, Lun Tha and Tuptim. Tuptim is an enslaved young woman presented as a gift to the King to be one of his many wives. Lun Tha, a scholar, sings of his love for her and his vision of their future together before the couple attempts a dangerous escape from the King’s court.
The concert will also include John Philip Sousa’s march, “The New York Hippodrome;” Ernst von Dohnányi’s Andante and Rondo; Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Rhosymedre,” Prelude on a Welsh Hymn Tune; R. B. Hall’s march, “The New Colonial;” and Sir Charles Mackerras’ Suite from Pineapple Poll.
Summer concerts are free, no tickets are required. Inclement weather cancellations will be made by 6 p.m. on the Marine Band Concert Information Line (202) 433-4011 and at www.facebook.com/marineband.
Directions to U.S. Capitol