Marine Barracks Annex --
The Marine Band’s outdoor summer concerts on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol continue this week featuring marches by both John Philip Sousa and Edwin Franko Goldman, a virtuosic cornet solo, and a medley of music from Beauty and the Beast. Conducted by Marine Band Assistant Director Capt. Bryan P. Sherlock, the concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, Aug. 1. Both performances are free and no tickets are required.
The concert will kick off with Peter Mennin’s Canzona, a work originally commissioned by renowned bandleader Goldman in 1950, followed by Sousa’s march, “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.” Sousa, like many prominent individuals throughout history, was a Freemason. He became a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine in Washington, D. C., in April 1922 and, at the request of his nephew who sponsored him, Sousa composed a march that saluted all Shriners, but was dedicated specifically to the Almas Temple and Imperial Council. The work is one of the few Sousa marches that begins in a minor key, giving it an exotic character which pays homage to the intriguing oriental sounds heard in Shrine marching music, thus making “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” one of Sousa’s more unusual but wonderful marches.
Following Sousa’s march, cornet soloist Staff Sgt. Chris Larios will perform Cleopatra Polka by French composer Eugène Damaré. Not only is Larios performing the solo, but he also arranged the music he will perform on the concert.
"Cleopatra is one of my favorite classic cornet solos!" Larios said. "I've grown up listening to recordings of all my favorite players playing it, and couldn't think of a better solo for my first performance in front of the band. Capt. Sherlock was also gracious enough to allow me to create and use a new arrangement that showcases the virtuosity and brilliance of the Marine Band in the introduction and interludes."
Originally written for the piccolo, Cleopatra Polka was arranged in the nineteenth century for cornet solo by German flutist and bandleader Joseph Bernard Claus and soon became a staple of the cornet repertoire. The opening is full of lyrical melodies in a traditional English style, a feature that made the work one of the most popular instrumental solos in England. Filled with triple-tonguing and fast scalar passages, the closing polka section showcases the soloist’s brilliant technique.
Next, the band will perform Ron Nelson’s Courtly Airs and Dances, a set of movements inspired by and directly reflecting distinctive Renaissance dance forms and styles from different European countries. Another march, Goldman’s “Onward Upward,” will follow Nelson’s suite of Renaissance-inspired dance music.
In a nod to musicals, Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear will sing a medley of music from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The medley is comprised of the songs “Evermore” and “If I Can’t Love Her,” both sung by the Beast after he has released Belle from his castle so that she may help her father, who is ill and lost in the forest. Both songs were composed for remakes of the Disney 1991 film: “Evermore” for the 2017 live-action remake and “If I Can’t Love Her” for the 1994 Broadway adaptation.
The concert will conclude with the contemporary piece Kokopelli’s Dance by Nathan Tanouye, composed in 2005 and one of the composer’s few works written for wind ensemble. The music of Kokopelli’s Dance illustrates the popular god of Native American cultures in the American Southwest. There was a wide variety of storytelling around this ancient deity, and in this lively episodic work, Tanouye captures many of the mysterious, mischievous, and playful qualities Kokopelli was believed to possess.
Both concerts are free but are weather permitting and programming is subject to change. Inclement weather announcements will be made by 6 p.m. on the band’s Concert Information Line at (202) 433-4011 and on the Marine Band’s website and social media pages.
Complete program and notes