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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Summer Concerts Feature Music Highlighting the Spirit of America

By Gunnery Sgt. Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | August 14, 2018


The Marine Band’s evening summer concerts on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol continue this week with performances at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 15 and Thursday, Aug. 16, conducted by Assistant Director Capt. Bryan P. Sherlock. Almost all of the music on the program is by American composers and each selection is an uplifting work that helps fill one with feelings of national pride and hope, including works by such iconic composers as Edwin Franko Goldman, John Philip Sousa, and John Williams. Both concerts are free and open to the public and no tickets are required.


“This program started with the idea of liberty and freedom,” Sherlock said. “The American Overture is a classic work for band that musically represents America and our freedoms, while the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 is often seen as a statement of liberty by a severely repressed composer during the Soviet reign of Stalin. A couple of pieces by Hollywood film composers Rossano Galante and John Williams further the idea of our American spirit.”


The program will begin with Joseph Wilcox Jenkins’ American Overture for Band, an iconic work that has become one of the most performed pieces by concert band. The music evokes feelings of the American spirit and conjures up images of the wild west, the American dream, and the beauty and majesty of the nation. The concert will also include two marches by some of the best known band leaders in American history: Goldman’s “The Chimes of Liberty” and Sousa’s “Hail to the Spirit of Liberty.” Each march reflects the composers’ pride in their country and both marches were composed for significant commemoration events. While Sousa is known as “The March King,” Goldman definitely holds his own with “The Chimes of Liberty” which includes a piccolo solo that rivals the famous piccolo solo in Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

American composer Rossano Galante has composed numerous works for film and his Resplendent Glory, while not composed specifically for a movie, fits right into that category with a heroic sound featuring lush melodies and sweeping fanfares and flourishes. The impressive overture captures the imagination and makes one feel as if they can conquer anything. The work, which was commissioned and premiered by Dr. Peter Loel Boonshaft and the Hofstra University Symphonic Band, also showcases the dynamic possibilities of the wind ensemble.

Following Resplendant Glory, tuba soloist Staff Sgt. Simon Wildman will perform iconic American composer John Williams’ Tuba Concerto. The light and tuneful concerto highlights the virtuosity of the soloist and has the classic Williams sound. Baritone vocalist Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear will be the other soloist on the concert, performing Earl Robinson’s “The House I Live In.” Robinson wrote many popular songs and music for Hollywood films in the 1940s. However, because of his vocal political views, he was blacklisted for being a Communist, and his opportunities in Hollywood severely dwindled. Robinson composed the song “The House I Live In” in 1942, and it was later featured in the 1945 short film by the same title starring Frank Sinatra. The ten-minute film was produced to bring awareness to and to speak out against anti-Semitic sentiments. The film received an Honorary Academy Award and a special Golden Globe Award in 1946. Viewed by the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” The House I Live In was selected in 2007 for preservation in the National Film Registry. The recording by Frank Sinatra also became a national hit and he performed the song for decades.

The program will conclude with Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich’s Finale from Symphony No. 5, Opus 47. The majestic and uplifting Finale suggests optimism for the future in contrast to the first three movements which portray struggle, tragedy, and emotional sorrow. During the era of Stalinist purging, audiences across Russia connected with the struggle and tragedy personified in this work. Shostakovich said of his inspiration for the work, “I wanted to convey in the symphony how, through a series of tragic conflicts of great inner spiritual turmoil, optimism asserts itself as a world view.”


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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