Staff Sgt. Brian Rust --
The Marine Band’s Summer Fare continues this week at 8 p.m., on Wednesday, Aug. 24, and 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 25, on the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol, with music from such iconic American composers as “The March King” John Philip Sousa, George Gershwin, Morton Gould, Edwin Franko Goldman, and Irving Berlin. Conducted by Assistant Director Captain Ryan J. Nowlin, the outdoor concerts taking place in the shadow of the Capitol will feature music that honors this great nation and its people. Both concerts are free and open to the public and no tickets are required.
The concert will begin with Sousa’s popular March, “Semper Fidelis,” a piece the composer regarded as his best march and dedicated to the officers and men of the U.S. Marine Corps. After the Sousa march, the band will perform Gershwin’s Cuban Overture followed by Gould’s “American Salute.” One of the most popular composers of his time, Gershwin had just returned from a vacation to Havana, Cuba, when he set to work creating a tone poem capturing the native Cuban music and Caribbean rhythms he had heard and been captivated with during his trip. Gould’s “American Salute” was composed as simply that – “a salute to America.” The work uses the familiar tune “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” as its melodic resource and weaves an incredible patriotic fantasy around the tune that has made it a favorite in the concert band repertoire.
Next, the concert will feature Ronald Lo Presti’s Elegy for a Young American, written in honor of President John F. Kennedy and expressing the grief felt at word of his assassination, followed by Goldman’s popular March, “On the Mall,” written in dedication of Naumburg Band Shell in New York’s historic Central Park. Mezzo-soprano vocalist Gunnery Sgt. Sara Sheffield will sing a medley of three songs all about sleep, including the jazzy “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South;” Berlin’s popular “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” from the movie “White Christmas;” and the funny, quirky song “10,432 Sheep” from the movie “The West Point Story.” The concert will conclude with former Marine Band chief arranger Thomas Knox’s “American Pageant,” composed for the first inauguration of President Richard Nixon. The patriotic work includes melodies of traditional American songs such as “Yankee Doodle,” “America,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “America, the Beautiful,” and “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.”
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. 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