August 4, 2014 --
This week’s Summer Fare will highlight the crooning of Bing Crosby as baritone vocalist Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear performs a medley of tunes arranged for the Marine Band. Conducted by 1st Lt. Ryan Nowlin, the concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 6, on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol and Thursday, Aug. 7, at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Both concerts are free and no tickets are required.
Bennear joined “The President’s Own” in January 2000, becoming the third featured vocal soloist since the position was established in 1955. He is incredibly versatile, having performed opera, Broadway hits, pop and country music, and more. But it was Bing Crosby he requested when he approached Nowlin about a new transcription for the band.
“It fits his voice so well,” said Nowlin of Bennear. “He’s really channeling the crooner, but he adds a little bit of himself, especially in the ballad.”
The medley will begin with a big band flavor on “Swinging on a Star” by Jimmy Van Heusen with quirky lyrics by Johnny Burk, continuing with Bennear singing smoothly over the lightning quick “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” by Harry Warren with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Finally, the medley will slow down with Irving Berlin’s “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” and end with the upbeat and popular “Blue Skies.”
“‘Count Your Blessings’ takes me back to when I was just a kid,” said Bennear. “My family didn’t have much—we honestly spent every day just getting by. Sometimes Mom had to stretch to keep us all fed.” He continued, “We were thankful for every little thing. So this song is a wonderful reminder of what is important, set to a beautiful melody. It truly does make me reflect on that.”
Bennear will serve as moderator for the remainder of the concert which will include marches by Kenneth Alford and John Philip Sousa, Master Sgt. Donald Patterson’s transcription of Overture to La Forza del Destino by Giuseppe Verdi, Jubilee Overture by Philip Sparke, Yosemite Autumn by Mark Camphouse, and Kenneth Singleton’s transcription of Concertino for Flute by Otar Gordeli, featuring soloist Staff Sgt. Kara Santos.
Complete Program and Notes
Inclement weather announcements will be made after 6 p.m. on the Marine Band Concert Information Line at (202) 433-4011. For more information, please visit www.marineband.marines.mil.