Washington, DC --
This week the Marine Band will evoke the Olympic spirit by performing John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme. Williams wrote the composition for the 1984 Olympics, which were held in Los Angeles at the Memorial Coliseum, and also conducted the première performance for the ceremonies held on opening day of the Summer Games that same year. In addition to the Williams fanfare, the Marine Band will perform a variety of music including marches by John Philip Sousa and Henry Fillmore and Gioachino Rossini’s Overture to William Tell.
Following the Olympics-style opening, the program will continue with Sousa’s march “The Picador,” then Paul Jeanjean’s “Au Clair de la Lune” featuring clarinet soloist Master Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey Strouf. Assistant Director Capt. Ryan J. Nowlin will then turn over the baton and podium to clarinetist Staff Sgt. Lucia Disano, as she leads “The President’s Own” as part of the band’s Conductor Training Program. The program gives musicians the opportunity to study conducting, receive coaching from current and former Marine Band Directors and leaders in the field, ultimately leading the band in concert.
“Before participating in this program I had only taken one beginning conducting course,” Disano said. “That was almost ten years ago, so I really feel that I was starting from scratch when I began this program. I had the opportunity to visit the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., for lessons with the director of the Eastman Wind Ensemble Dr. Mark Scatterday. I also took lessons with James Ross, director of orchestral activity at the University of Maryland and associate director of the conducting program at The Juilliard School in New York.” She continued, “It’s very difficult to learn much about conducting without an ensemble in front of you. It’s almost like asking someone to practice the clarinet without a clarinet in their hands! For this reason in particular, the program has been invaluable to me. I wouldn’t have been able to find this kind of opportunity anywhere else. I have always had an interest in conducting, but I’ve been surprised by just how much I enjoy it. To be able to stand in front of the ensemble and feel a musical connection with them is a feeling unlike anything else I have experienced. It can be nerve-wracking, but of course when you completely lose yourself in the music, it’s just incredible.”
Disano selected three works for the program: Heny Fillmore’s march “Rolling Thunder;” Gustav Holst’s Suite No. 1 in E-flat, Opus 28, No. 1; and A Tribute to Bing Crosby, arranged by Capt. Nowlin and featuring baritone vocalist Master Sgt. Kevin Bennear.
“Kevin and I worked together to choose something fun and we settled on the Bing Crosby medley,” Disano explained. “Captain Nowlin’s beautiful arrangement presents these songs so cohesively. Regarding the Holst suite, I initially chose to study it because it is a key part of the wind band repertoire. But I found that each time I studied the piece, I found something new. My appreciation of it has only grown over time, so I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to grow with this piece and present it on this concert.”
On Fillmore’s “Rolling Thunder,” Disano said, “I have a bit of an obsession with the trombone, and this march gives our amazing trombone section—as well as the rest of the ensemble—an opportunity to really ‘shred.’”
The concert will close with Nowlin conducting Rossini’s Overture to William Tell, because, as the world gets ready for the Olympics, “it’s off to the races,” said Nowlin.
The Summer Fare performances will take place at 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 27, on the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol and at 8 p.m., Thursday, July 28, at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Both concerts are free and no tickets are required.
For Summer Fare performances, limited street parking is available. For concerts at the Capitol, patrons may travel via Metro and take the red line to Union Station or the blue, orange, or silver lines to the Capitol South station, and the orange, blue, or silver lines to the Smithsonian station for concerts at the Sylvan Theater. 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.