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Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman's Marine Band Reviews

31 May 2019 | GySgt Rachel Ghadiali United States Marine Band

Happy Birthday Walt Whitman!

Did you Know?
Walt Whitman reviewed Marine Band concerts in Washington, D.C. Here are excerpts from three of his reviews published in The Sunday Herald. Meanwhile, he was quoted in Horace Traubel’s “With Walt Whitman in Camden:” I knew nothing about it, simply took it in, enjoyed it, from the human side: had a good natural ear—did not trouble myself to explain or analyze.

May 26, 1872
The Marine Band Concert
yesterday afternoon on the south lawn of the President’s was a real success. The gathering proved the fullest of the season. There were all the features of former concerts—the preponderance of ladies, most of them young and in gay attire, and all full of animation; the soft turf to walk upon; the vistas of trees, and the distant outlook; the circle of promenaders, with the sparkling eyes that meet one everywhere; the strains of Verdi, Meyerbeer, or Strauss wafted to the ear. Then the afternoon, neither too cool nor too warm and the partially clouded sky, made the affair just right. 
     The programme was well rendered throughout, especially this tender and graceful “Thou Art so Near and Yet so Far,” and selections for Trovatore and Huguenots.
     We welcome the return of all our old friends, members of this band, especially the soloists, Petrola, Naecker, Thierbach, and Prosperi—not forgetting young Will Haley; but, in fact, nearly every player in the band would deserve to be creditably named.

Aug. 13, 1871
The President’s Grounds Last Evening.
The gathering at the close of yesterday at the President’s grounds, to hear the Marine Band, was even fuller, and apparently afforded more enjoyment, and showed more new faces, than that a week ago. It deserves to be made a note of. While the dog star rages, over a thousand, and perhaps nearer two thousand people, half of whom Jenkins would put down as evidently the choicest class of fashionables, the young largely preponderating, with a full proportion of handsome women, rendezvous here in democratic style, in these turfy shades, at the close of the week, in the cool, on the grass, under the trees, or by the fountain, to enjoy the best of music, given by one of the finest bands in the world. For the Marine Band is one of the finest...

Aug. 4, 1872, Whitman’s Last Review for the newspaper
The Best Concert Yet
We believe we shall have to put the above heading for the music of the Marine Band, under Professor Fries, last evening, during the two beautiful hours from six to eight o’clock on the South Lawn at the President’s grounds. Every piece as a success, and the performers were especially fine in rendering the music of Verdi and Gung’l. The parts of the drums were given with a spirit, precision, and effect never surpassed. At the conclusion of a capital performance of one of Meyerbeer’s compositions we saw Walt Whitman go up and shake hands with Leader Fries and others of the Marines… [interpolated by the Editor]