MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON, D.C. --
There are so many familiar names on the program for this week’s concerts at the Capitol, including John Philip Sousa, Henry Fillmore, Antonín Dvořák, and Harold Arlen. Conducted by Assistant Director Captain Ryan J. Nowlin, this week the Marine Band will perform two concerts at the U.S. Capitol, with a blend of music that is both fresh yet familiar at 8 p.m., both Wednesday, Aug. 1 and Thursday, Aug. 2.
The program will begin with Sousa’s march “The Federal,” followed by Ralph Hultgren’s “Whirr, Whirr, Whirr!!!” The composer said of his composition: “Can you feel that sensation as you mentally juggle the demands of emotion, profession, and family, and each concern barks at you for attention and demands its need be satisfied…? Can you feel the sensation that wells up in you as you desperately search for the right answer in a situation…? Your mind spins, ducks and dives, leaps and plunges, and seems to Whirr, Whirr, Whirr!!!”
“I do happen to know Ralph Hultgren well, a widely respected composer in Australia,” Capt. Nowlin said. “I think his piece from 2001 is a great concert opener that embodies the seemingly ceaseless hustle and bustle of daily life. He actually penned it on a train amid said hustle and bustle, which I've always found impressive—and appropriate!”
The program will continue with Belgian composer Bert Appermont’s piece for solo trombone: Colors. According to trombone soloist Staff Sgt. Russell Sharp, “It’s a fairly new trombone solo that is getting played quite a bit. I played it for the first time in March 2016 with the Frontier Brass Band which was organized by my brother Ryan who is a professor of trumpet at the University of Central Oklahoma.”
While Sharp has performed the piece with brass band, he has never played it with concert band. As a fairly new member of the Marine Band—he joined “The President’s Own” in 2017—this will be Sharp’s first time soloing with his new colleagues. And Sharp notes, “This piece really shows some of what the trombone does best, in my opinion—beautiful, broad melodies.”
Capt. Nowlin added: “I thought it would be of great interest to audiences. Imagined in its original form for concert band and trombone soloist, the spotlight is shared equally between ensemble and soloist. It is very melodic and harmonically inviting. I think the composer does a wonderful job capturing the attention of performers and patrons alike and the steps of the U.S. Capitol are the perfect place to share his work.”
The program will continue with Henry Fillmore’s march “His Honor” followed by mezzo-soprano Gunnery Sgt. Sara Sheffield performing a medley of Harold Arlen favorites, arranged by former Marine Band arranger Steve Bulla.
When performing his marches, Fillmore would often make several changes to surprise and engage audiences. “I do love a Fillmore march, the Ohio-an that I am, and plan to spice it up a little in ‘Fillmore Fashion,’” Capt. Nowlin said. “Also, Harold Arlen is one of my favorite songwriters of all time and Steve Bulla’s medley is incredibly scored—tasteful and engaging. This will undoubtedly be a highlight of the program.”
Another highlight, the program also includes Antonín Dvořák’s Carnival Overture—on Nowlin’s short list of favorite overtures and very familiar to many classical music enthusiasts. The concert will conclude with Samuel Augustus Ward’s perennial favorite “America, the Beautiful,” arranged by Carmen Dragon.
The concerts will take place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1, and Thursday, Aug. 2, on the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol. The concerts are free; no tickets are required. Inclement weather cancellations are made by 6 p.m. the evening of the concert at facebook.com/marineband and (202) 433-4011.
Complete program and notes