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Marine Chamber Orchestra Concert - Jan. 23, 2022

Photo by United States Marine Band

Marine Chamber Orchestra – Live & In-Person Jan. 23

20 Jan 2022 | Staff Sgt. Chase Baran United States Marine Band

On Sunday, January 23 at 2 p.m., the United States Marine Chamber Orchestra returns to the stage for public performance at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. This is a free, non-ticketed event.

Program and Notes

This is the first performance of the year for “The President’s Own,” and marks the start of a season packed with appearances from guest artists, classic works, brand new compositions and special concerts.

Complete Season Schedule

Anchored by two works for soloist and orchestra, this program explores the many moods and colors of classical music, both new and old.

The centerpiece of the event is a brand-new Concerto for Clarinet written by American composer Jacob Bancks specifically for this concert’s guest soloist and principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ricardo Morales.

It’s the clarinetist’s second appearance with “The President’s Own” - his first being in 2017 for the wind ensemble transcription prèmiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Clarinet Concerto, Nekudim.

“We’ve had the great pleasure of performing on stage with Ricardo before, and I cannot wait to share his incredible artistry with you once again through this wonderful new Concerto,” Director Col. Jason Fettig said.

Bancks is by no means an unfamiliar name with the Marine Band either. The band presented the world prèmiere of his work Occidental Symphony during the same concert that Morales performed in 2017, and The Information Age in 2013.

Regarding this performance of his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Bancks wrote:

The première performances of this work were in Philadelphia last November, with Ricardo and his phenomenal colleagues performing with great depth, commitment, and technical flair. Their performance was, to me, a great gift. And to hear the work again a mere few months later, with the same singular soloist and the exceptional musicians of the Marine Chamber Orchestra, is a great gift as well. I wish to share my deep gratitude to Mr. Morales, Col. Fettig, all of musicians of this great chamber orchestra, for bringing their great artistry to my work.

The second pillar of this concert is Gustav Mahler’s song cycle “Songs of a Wayfarer.” The words to these musical poems were written by the composer himself; however they were deeply influenced by a collection of German folk poetry that was a particular favorite of Mahler’s, and one that he would return to again and again, called Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Youth’s Magic Horn).

Although Mahler’s original song cycle was composed for a large orchestra, like his symphonies, Austrian-American composer Arnold Schoenberg distilled the work down in a brilliant setting for a chamber orchestra accompanying the solo voice.

In this rendition, Marine Band mezzo-soprano Master Sgt. Sara Sheffield will sing in German the lyrics which tell the story of a journeyman’s experience with love gained and then lost.

“I have been looking forward to this performance for months!” Sheffield exclaimed. “This work covers such a beautiful spectrum of human emotion: love and loss, awe and anger, pain and peace. Learning this piece at this point in my career, after experiencing the depth of these emotions in my own life, has made it all the more meaningful. It has been a true artistic journey.”

Also planned for this performance are Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra’s ebullient A Joyous Overture based on the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, and the masterful Variations on a Theme of Haydn by Johannes Brahms, who also happened to be one of Beethoven’s most ardent admirers.

The performance hall address is 4915 East Campus Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311. Free parking is available in the adjacent garage. Please note that masks and COVID vaccination or negative COVID test within 72 hours are required for all in-person concerts. All programs are subject to change.