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United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Marine Band Celebrates Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

By Staff Sgt. Brian Rust | | April 24, 2014


At 2 p.m., Sunday, April 27, the Marine Band will celebrate the 450th anniversary of the most remarkable storyteller in history, William Shakespeare, with music from his time and selections inspired by his works. Conducted by Capt. Michelle A. Rakers, the performance will take place at Northern Virginia Community College’s Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Va. The concert is free and no tickets are required; parking is available for $6.


Shakespeare’s timeless themes are as relevant today as they were four and a half centuries ago. With thousands of unforgettable quotes and more than 1,700 English words coined by the Bard of Avon, his influence continues to extend far beyond the theater and into everyday lives. This program features both music of Shakespeare’s time, such as Gordon Jacob’s William Byrd Suite, and works borne from his inimitable prose, such as Sergei Prokofiev’s famous ballet based on Romeo and Juliet and highlights from Sir Arthur Sullivan’s incidental music for The Tempest.


Also, baritone vocalist Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear will sing the Cole Porter tune “Where Is the Life that Late I Led?” from the popular Broadway show Kiss Me, Kate, based on Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew. The program will include a solo performance by trombonist Isaac Johnson of Pine Island, Minn., winner of the 2014 Concerto Competition for high school musicians. Johnson will perform the Andante and Scherzo and Waltz from Henri Tomasi’s Trombone Concerto, the same selection he performed to win the final round of the competition in February. As winner, Johnson received $2,500 from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and the opportunity to solo with the Marine Band in concert.

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