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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
January Web Exclusives

By Master Sgt. Kristin duBois | United States Marine Band | January 13, 2015

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The Marine Band’s January Web Exclusives audio downloads include John Philip Sousa’s “Hands Across the Sea” as the March of the Month and Antonín Dvořák’s Carnival Overture for the Director’s Choice.

Sousa premièred “Hands Across the Sea” at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia in 1899, one year after the onset of the Spanish American War. Written to bolster America’s position in maintaining peace around the world, Sousa included a quotation from an English diplomat and author, John Hookham Frere, on the cover of the published sheet music: “A sudden thought strikes me—let us swear an eternal friendship.” 

Sousa, impressed with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute Regimental Band’s performance of his march “The Thunderer,” dedicated his performance of “Hands Across the Sea” to them at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Founded in 1872 in Blacksburg as the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) was a land-grant college that required military training for all able-bodied male students. The students were organized into a Corps of Cadets, with initially just one snare drummer and one bass drummer providing a marching cadence while in formation. By 1893 the Band Company was formed, and The Regimental Band has since remained in existence as a distinct and separate unit within the Corps of Cadets. This performance, conducted by then-Director Col. Timothy W. Foley, was recorded Nov. 19, 1999, while on tour in Sahuarita, Ariz.

Download “Hands Across the Sea”

In 1892, celebrated Czech composer Antonín Dvořák traveled to the United States to become the director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York. But before he left Czechoslovakia, he composed a set of three concert overtures. The second of these three overtures, originally titled Life but later called Carnival, contains brilliant writing with a series of driving and whirling melodies which may suggest either a carnival scene or the energy of a busy life. Dvořák conducted the world première on April 28, 1892, just before departing for the United States. He conducted the U. S. première six months later at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 21, 1892. The transcription for band by Herbert L. Clarke, renowned cornet soloist with the Sousa Band, retains the energy and excitement of the original work. This performance, conducted by Director Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig, was recorded Sept. 20, 2014 while on tour in Sandy, Utah.

Download Carnival Overture


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