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United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
Unit News
Summer Fare Features the Music of Iconic American Composers

By SSgt Brian Rust | United States Marine Band | July 7, 2015


This week’s Marine Band Summer Fare performances will feature a mix of songs by such iconic American composers as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin. The concerts will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 8, on the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol, and at 8 p.m., Thursday, July 9, at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Both concerts are free and open to the public and no tickets are required. Patrons are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets to sit on as there is no permanent seating available.

Conducted by Assistant Director Maj. Michelle A. Rakers, the performance will begin with one of Sousa’s earliest marches, “On the Tramp.” Composed in 1879, one year before becoming director of the Marine Band, Sousa practically gave the march to his publisher for free as they wouldn’t even offer fifteen cents for it. He ended up getting a new dictionary in exchange for the march. Ironically, the piece was based on the song “Out of Work” by Septimus Winner and the title phrase, “On the Tramp,” was a common slang term used in the 1880s by men looking for employment. “On the Tramp” is also available for free download at www.marineband.marines.mil, along with the full PDF score and parts, as part of Volume 1 of The Complete Marches of John Philip Sousa.

Following Sousa’s march, the rest of the concert will shift to the mid-twentieth century, beginning with Aaron Copland’s An Outdoor Overture. With a somewhat open-air quality to it, the piece was originally written for high school level orchestra and premiered by the High School of the Arts Orchestra in New York in 1938. A few years later, at the request of legendary band leader Edwin Franko Goldman, Copland transcribed the piece for concert band.

During this same time period, jazz was king, and two of the great jazz masters included Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton. Honoring the two musicians, clarinet soloist Staff Sgt. Shannon Kiewitt and vibraphone soloist Staff Sgt. Gerald Novak will perform the medley Benny & Lionel, arranged by Master Sergeant Loran McClung, arranger for the United States Army Field Band, and includes favorites such as “Fascinating Rhythm” by George and Ira Gershwin, “Memories of You” by Eubie Blake and Andy Razaf, and “Slipped Disc” by Benny Goodman.

The concert’s final selections include legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Suite, selections from George Gershwin’s long-running folk opera Porgy and Bess, and 1st Lt. Ryan J. Nowlin’s arrangement of Matt Malneck and Johnny Mercer’s “Pardon My Southern Accent,” sung by mezzo-soprano vocalist Gunnery Sgt. Sara Dell’Omo. Mercer’s lyrics are comical in nature, and it is safe to assume that he drew inspiration from his youthful days growing up in the South.

For the Summer Fare performances, limited street parking is available. For concerts at the Capitol, patrons may take the red line to Union Station or the blue, orange, or silver lines to the Capitol South station. For concerts at the Sylvan Theater, take the blue, orange, or silver lines to the Smithsonian station. The concerts are free but 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.

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