May 31, 2016 --
“The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band will launch its Summer Fare season at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 1 and Thursday, June 2 with concerts that will take patrons to a galaxy far, far away with the March of the Resistance from Star Wars: The Force Awakens by John Williams. Conducted by Assistant Director 1st Lt. Ryan J. Nowlin, the program also has a distinctly Scottish accent with selections such as Percy Grainger’s “Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonnie Doon,” Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “The Heather on the Hill” from Brigadoon, sung by mezzo-soprano Gunnery Sgt. Sara Sheffield, and John Hartmann’s cornet solo, “Blue Bells of Scotland.”
Cornet soloist Master Gunnery Sgt. Susan Rider discovered Hartmann’s solo in a pile of music at a friend’s house. “I’m always interested in increasing and having diverse trumpet and cornet solo literature in my personal library,” she said. Although most people know of Arthur Pryor’s trombone version of “Blue Bells of Scotland,” Rider suggested that Hartmann’s cornet version is not one of the more standard or well-known solos in the cornet literature. Solos in this style were very common in the late 19th and early 20th century concert bands and performed by such superstars as Pryor and Herbert L. Clarke, the solo cornetist of the Sousa Band. Composers wrote the solos to show off the musicians’ artistic and virtuoso musicianship and Hartmann was up to the challenge. He composed the solo in a theme and variations form with a particular soloist in mind: Matthew Arbuckle. Arbuckle was known for his triple tonguing technique and Rider hinted that patrons will be able to hear her employ this technique in the last variation.
“Though the technical nature of the piece is certainly impressive, I like the challenge of striving to perform the lyrical parts of the third variation in a convincing way,” Rider said. “I’ve noticed that one of the characteristics of John Hartmann’s solos is to include a lyrical variation that feels like it stands on its own musically. All the performer has to rely on is the simplicity of the melody, and to hopefully engage the audience.” But mostly, she added, “I’d love for the audience to just have a fun listening experience!”
Summer Fare takes place June through August at 8 p.m., Wednesdays at the West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol and Thursdays at the Sylvan Theater, on the grounds of the Washington Monument. 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.
Complete Program and Notes
Download Summer Brochure