Medina Community Band
Complete information on the each concert, literature performed, soloists, and guest conductors, as well as personnel for each concert can all be found on our website:
This material covers the 2nd concert – Friday, June 13th, 2014, 8:30p – 9:30p
Site: Medina’s Uptown Park Square (intersections of Rtes. 18, 42, Broadway and Liberty Street). We have been notified by the Mayor of Medina that there is to be no concert parking behind Marie's, Lager & Vine, or 4 ladies and more. This includes lot between Lager and Vine and Four Ladies and more. The owner has posted it as private lot and tow away zone and cars will be towed.
Cancellation of concerts due to the weather will be posted on the above website!
MEDINA: Medina Community Band will continue with the 2014 summer season, a celebration of 155 years of presenting community concerts in Medina, on Friday, June 13th, 2014, at 8:30p, in Medina’s Uptown Park Square Gazebo. This concert will celebrate Flag Day in the City of Medina.
This concert will celebrate Flag Day in the City of Medina. On September 14, 1814, U.S. soldiers at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry raised a huge American flag to celebrate a crucial victory over British forces during the War of 1812. The sight of those “broad stripes and bright stars” inspired Francis Scott Key to write a song that eventually became the United States national anthem. Key’s words gave new significance to a national symbol and started a tradition through which generations of Americans have invested the flag with their own meanings and memories. We mark the 200th anniversary of that our national anthem!
The Medina Community Band is under the baton of conductor Marcus Neiman, starting his 42th summer concert series, with associate conductors Frank Cosenza, Edward Lichtenberg and Thomas Walker. The 60 minute concert will feature patriotic works related to our national flag by Gould, Williams, Cohan, Bagley, Darcy, (Frank) Panella, Richards, Berlin, and Sousa. Medina Community Band is sponsored by the Medina Community Band Association, a standing committee of the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club. Special guest speaker will be Dennis Hanwell, Mayor of the City of Medina.
The ice cream social for the evening will be presented by the Salvation Army.
Marcus L. Neiman has been conductor of Medina Community Band since the fall of 1972 and has served as conductor of the ensemble longer than any previous conductor in the ensemble’s history. He retired from posts held with the Medina County Schools Educational Service Center in 2010 (1980 through 2000 as fine arts consultant and 2000 through 2010 as director of fine arts tours and festivals). He was formerly director of bands at Medina High School (1972 through 1980).
He attended the Akron Public Schools, received his bachelor of science in music education degree from The University of Akron, master of music in music education degree from The University of Michigan, postgraduate hours at The Kent State University, and The University of Akron.
He was appointed as the interim assistant director of bands and administrator for the division of bands at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University in May of 2010 and held that position through May of 2011. Currently, he teaches their “Music Teaching as a Profession” and “Instrumental Methods for Choral and General Music Majors” courses, supervises music education student teachers, and assists with outreach and recruiting. In addition, he has chaired the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) district six junior high-middle school large group adjudicated event for the 2013 and 2014 seasons at Kent State.
Prior to his arrival at Kent State University, Neiman was a part-time lecturer for the music department at Case Western Reserve University with major responsibilities of teaching their “Foundations of Music Education” course and supervising music education student teachers from April 2004 through May of 2010. He also supervised visual arts education student teachers for The University of Akron.
Neiman has served OMEA as a member of the governmental relations and adjudicated events committees, district president, vice-president, state chair for Music In Our Schools and public relations, state editor of their professional journal TRIAD, and state chair for their council of supervisors. He was elected by OMEAs membership to serve as state president from July 1, 1998 through July 1, 2000, and is currently OMEAs state historian. He was awarded OMEAs highest honor, the “Distinguished Service Award” on January 29th, 2010 at the Professional Development Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Neiman has been published in Music Educators National Conference journal MEJ, The Instrumentalist, The School Musician, The Music Educator, OMEAs TRIAD, FANFARE magazine, and Bands of America Newsletter. His first book, edited for MENC, entitled Life in the Music Classroom, was published by MENC in April 1992. He is listed in Marquis “Who’s Who in America (58th Edition).
Neiman has appeared with junior high/middle and high school, college and university, community bands, and American Federation of Musicians union professional bands as a guest conductor and in his characterization of famed bandmaster John Philip Sousa in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, (state of) Washington, and Wisconsin. On October 15, 2004, Neiman conducted the Volga Concert Band in Saratov, Russia in a Sousa-style concert following a week’s residence in Moscow and Saratov. In addition to conducting the Medina Community Band (since 1972), he formed his own professional touring band -- The Sounds of Sousa Band -- (in 1992) to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the formation of Sousa's first non-military band. To this date he has performed for over 200,000 people in the role of Sousa.
Neiman’s goal has always been to preserve the presence and character of the traditional “town-band.” There are no auditions, membership dues or fees, or chair placements in the ensemble. Membership is open to adults who desire to continue their growth as instrumentalists. In addition, Neiman has encouraged composers to write for the band. Over the years the band has commissioned works by Douglas Court, Robert Feldbush, Stuart Ling, Edmund J. Siennicki, Tadd Russo, and David Shaffer.
Neiman is a member of numerous professional organizations including the National Association for Music Education and Ohio Music Education Association, National Band Association, Ohio Alliance for Arts Education and Ohio Citizens for the Arts. Neiman is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi (University of Michigan Nu chapter, and honorary Beta Pi at Kent State University). He is also a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (national leadership society – The University of Akron (Theta Circle).
He and his wife Mary Ann, who is a professional clarinetist and program administrator - preparatory and continuing education department for the Cleveland Institute of Music, reside in Medina with their two cats Sasha and Dmitri.
Frank T. Cosenza, assistant conductor, (right) received a bachelor of music degree from Bowling Green State University and a master of music degree from The University of Akron. He is a veteran band director of 32 years experience and retired from the West Geauga Local Schools where he was a four-time recipient of the Excellence in Education Award. He was called from retirement to serve as interim director of Athletic Bands/Concert Band at Kent State University Hugh A. Glauser School of Music for the 2012-2013 academic year where the Marching Golden Flashes performed in the MAC Conference Championship and the Go Daddy.com Bowl. His groups have performed at Severance Hall for the Northeast Ohio Wind Band Invitational, the Ohio Music Education Association State Conference, the American School Band Directors Association State Conference, Lincoln Center in New York City, and the Ohio School Boards Association Conference. Additionally, his groups have performed at the University of Akron Band Clinic, Hiram College, Cleveland Browns halftime, the Cleveland Indians and performances in Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Canada. Concert bands under his direction have received consistent superior ratings at large group contests. He has served on the Content Validation Panel for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and has been on the staff of American Music Abroad taking student musicians to Europe and performing in numerous countries. Mr. Cosenza is an elected member of Phi Beta Mu- International Bandmasters Fraternity and the American School Band Director’s Association. As a member of the Ohio Music Education Association, he has served as state treasurer/trustee, district president, member of music selection committees, contest chairman and current adjudicator for large group and solo & ensemble events. He has served as a clinician in Nevada and throughout Ohio and is currently an assistant director of the All-Ohio State Fair Band. Mr. Cosenza is co-principal trumpet with the W.D. Packard Concert Band and Big Band Sound of Warren, and has played with many artists including Frankie Avalon, The Manhattan Transfer, Wayne Newton, Johnny Mathis, Holiday On Ice, and the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. He is a Conn-Selmer artist and maintains a private brass studio.
Edward Lichtenberg, assistant conductor, (at left), Ed retired in 1998 as assistant superintendent for Midview Schools in Lorain County after 32 years in education. Before becoming assistant superintendent, Ed was a middle school administrator and director of bands at Midview, where his concert bands consistently earned superior ratings in OMEA Class “A.” Prior to working 30 years for Midview, Ed was director of instrumental music at Linden McKinley High School in Columbus.
Ed has been a member of the Medina Community Band since 1993. He was also active as an Ohio Music Education Association and as a staff member for the Ashland University Adult Music Camp. Ed has performed on clarinet or saxophone with Sounds of Sousa Band, the Lorain Pops Orchestra, the Doc McDonald Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Band, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and many small groups. He has also conducted concert bands throughout Europe for American Music Abroad.
Ed is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Kent State University, and has done post-graduate work at Ashland University, Bowling Green State University, Cleveland State University, and Kent State University. He studied clarinet with Oliver Shubert, George Waln, Robert Marcellus, and Donald McGinnis.
Ed has been married to his wife, Judy, for 45 years. Judy was supervisor of gifted education for Medina City Schools and retired in 2000. Their children, Rob and Beth (Burdick), are also active in music. Rob, a systems engineer for Level-3, has performed on trombone with the Medina Community Band and the Sounds of Sousa Band. Beth, a coordinator of gifted education for the Strongsville City Schools and North Royalton City Schools, has performed on flute with the Medina Community Band. Beth’s husband, Christopher, is assistant director of bands for North Royalton schools and has performed on trumpet with the Medina Community Band, the Sounds of Sousa Band, and many small brass ensembles.
Thomas L. Walker, assistant conductor, is currently retired from teaching instrumental music in Arkansas where he taught for 37 years. He graduated from Marked Tree High School and later attended Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR where he received his bachelor of music education, master of music education, and specialist in community college teaching. He is currently working on his doctorate at ASU. Thomas also was a member of the Arkansas Army National Guard for 37 years. He spent his career in the Guard as a Field Wireman, Combat Engineer, Musician, First Sergeant, and Battalion Command Sergeant Major. Thomas is now living in Akron, OH with his wife, Rhonda Gail Davis.
Medina Community Band
The Medina Community Band traces its beginnings back to 1859, when a group of local residents got together (some with formal training - others without) to perform music for the community. That first "community band" was called The Medina Silver Cornet Band, probably since the instruments the musicians used were primarily "silver" cornets or percussion. Then, as now, the band performed on the public square. Medina's uptown park was set aside in 1817 and cleared in 1819. During the next two decades, the park was used as a parade ground for local militia and for town celebrations. In the 1840s, the square was enclosed with a white picket fence to keep cattle being driven to market off the square.
During the 155-years that the band has been in existence there have been 20 directors. Marcus Neiman serving the longest in that role. The band probably existed at the pleasure of the square's business community, who often funded the season and encouraged patrons to attend the concerts. The performance night has changed over the years, in most cases at the urging of the business community, and season concerts have been given on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Friday evenings have been the day of choice since the 1950s (or before).
It should be stated that the Medina Community Band was only one of many bands in Medina Community. Almost every town had its own band, and a just a few to mention were the Litchfield, Lodi, Seville, Spencer, and Wadsworth bands. There were also school bands (from both the city and county districts) and even a Boy Scout band (in Westfield Center). The Medina Community Band’s name evolved over the years as the Medina Silver Cornet Band, Medina Band, Grand Army of the Republic Band, Knights of Pythias Band, and now the Medina Community Band.
The size of the band varied from 15 to 20 musicians through the end of last century, into the 50 and 60s through the 1940-1960s, and now boasts almost 100 members on its personnel roster. It should be understood that the "band" did not always perform in the Gazebo. During those early years, the band played on various corners of the square. There was for a few years a band stand, which was destroyed by fire. The "bandstand" on the north side of the square was large enough to seat a 100 piece band (somewhat tightly, but would accommodate that size group), which the current Gazebo will only allow 30 to 35 players. The band itself determines "who will play" based on attendance at practice or business and vacation schedules.
It is interesting to note that members of the band travel from all parts of Northeastern Ohio to play with the group. Entire families (from grandparents to grandchildren are members of the band and it is most common to find husbands and wives, or parents and children playing in the group. The Medina Community Band's membership is open and there are no dues or auditions; however, members are expected to maintain a regular attendance. The band rehearses on Wednesday evenings September through July, providing three to four concerts during the fall, winter, and spring months both at home and on the road. The band also presents an 8 to 10 concert summer season in Medina's Uptown Park Gazebo.
Medina Community Band is sponsored by the Medina Community Band Association composed of members of The Medina Kiwanis Breakfast Club proudly supports the community band. Membership in Medina Community Band is open and there are no dues or auditions; however, members are expected to maintain a regular attendance. The band rehearses on Wednesday evening from 7p until 9p in the band room of Highland High School (4150 Ridge Road, Medina) September through May; and, in the choral room of Medina High School (777 East Union Street, Medina) June through July. The band provides three to four concerts during the fall, winter, and spring months both at home and on the road. The band also presents their popular summer series every Friday, June through July, in Medina's Uptown Park Gazebo. Each year the band presents at a winter concert, annual "Sousa Style Concert," and the popular "Sousa Concert" at EHOVE Career Center (Milan, OH). For additional information on the 2013-14 concert season or Medina Community Band, contact Neiman at 330.725.8198 or MarcusNeiman@medinacommunityband.org
Flag Day History
In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, § 110 is the official statute on Flag Day; however, it is at the President's discretion to officially proclaim the observance. On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first (and only) U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday, beginning in the town of Rennerdale. New York Statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.
Perhaps the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is at Fairfield, Washington. Beginning in 1909 or 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the possible exception of 1918, and celebrated the "Centennial" parade in 2010, along with some other commemorative events.
Star Spangled Banner (John Stafford Smith arranged by John Philip Sousa) uses lyrics from a poem written in 1914 by Francis Scott Key, a then 35-year-old amateur poet, after seeing the bombardment of Fort McHenry at Baltimore, Maryland, by Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812.
The poem was set to the tune of a popular British drinking song, written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a London social club. Set to Key’s poem and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. It was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889 and the President in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. Most prominent among them was “Hail, Columbia” which served as the de facto national anthem from Washington’s time and through the 18th and 19th centuries. Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs would emerge to complete for popularity at public events, among them “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Morton Gould (pictured at left) showed signs of musical talent at a very early age. He began to play the piano when he was four years old, published a composition at the age of six, and was engaged to play piano over radio station WOR when he was seven. He was only 18 when he joined the music staff of Radio City Music Hall. At 21, he became conductor and arrange for his own program with a large orchestra over the WOR-Mutual network, leading to the creation of many works which have since been played by top professional orchestras.
American Salute is semi-serious in nature, and reflects Gould’s uncanny skill in thematic development. Using only When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again for melodic resources, he contrives a brilliant fantasy. Originally written for orchestra and transcribed for band, American Salute has become a program favorite for both bands and orchestras.
Karl L. King (pictured at right) joined the circus when he was 19 years old at a time when the circus world was in great need for composers to write special music for the various acts. King’s unique ability and uncanny knack allowed him to write and arrange just to the needs of the circus world.
King played an important role in the Iowa Band Law, state legislation giving municipalities the right to levy a small tax to support a municipal band. He was also one of the first march composers to write special music for the growing school band programs in America. In addition to writing marches, he also wrote overtures, waltzes, and other selections that could be used for individual concerts or massed band performances.
Emblem of Freedom march, was composed in 1910, and was one of King’s earliest marches, but it reveals considerable maturity for a young man of 19. The march was dedicated to his friend Robert D. Hamilton. (notes attributed to Robert Hoe). Barnhouse Publishers indicate that King was quoted as saying that Emblem of Freedom march was the best march he ever wrote.
John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932 and pictured on the left) is an American composer, conductor and pianist. In a career that spans six decades, Williams has composed many of the most famous film scores in history, including those for Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Hook, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Harry Potter. In addition, he has composed theme music for four Olympic Games, numerous television series and concert pieces. He served as the principal conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1980 to 1993, and is now the orchestra's laureate conductor.
Lincoln is a 2012 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The screenplay by Tony Kushner was based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and covers the final four months of Lincoln's life, focusing on the President's efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives.
The film was produced by Spielberg and his frequent collaborator Kathleen Kennedy. Filming began October 17, 2011, and ended on December 19, 2011. Lincoln premiered on October 8, 2012 at the New York Film Festival. The film was co-produced by DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media and released theatrically on November 9, 2012, in select cities and widely released on November 16, 2012, in the United States through Disney's Touchstone Pictures distribution label. The film was released on January 25, 2013, in the United Kingdom, with distribution in international territories, including the U.K., by 20th Century Fox.
Lincoln received widespread critical acclaim, with major praise directed to Day-Lewis's performance. In December 2012, the film was nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director for Spielberg and winning Best Actor (Motion Picture – Drama) for Day-Lewis. At the 85th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for twelve Academy Awards including Best Picture; it won for Best Production Design and Best Actor for Day-Lewis. The film was also a commercial success, having grossed more than $275 million at the box office.
Williams score is not the bombastic effort that we have heard in so many of his other motion picture scores, but rather an soulful and very tuneful Copelandish offering.
Edwin Eugene Bagley began his musical career at the age of nine as a vocalist and comedian with Leavitt’s Bellringers, a company of touring entertainers. He began playing cornet and again took the road for six years with the Swiss Bellringers.
He later played both trombone and euphonium in a variety of New England ensembles, including Blaisdell’s Orchestra (Concord, New Hampshire); The Park Theatre (Boston); Bostonians Opera Company; Germania Band (Boston); and, the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
He married in 1877 and, in 1893, moved to Keene, New Hampshire, where he conducted several bands, including the Keene City Band. In recent years, the city’s bandstand was named in his honor.
It is also interesting to note that Bagley was completely self-taught. He was also an outstanding visual artist and could well have made a name for himself as a caricaturist.
National Emblem (march). The march is one of the most famous of all marches, yet many non-musicians may be hard-pressed to know its name. In whole or in part, the march has been used extensively as background music on radio and television, in addition to thousands of concert performances. The title is derived from Bagley’s overt (and to some controversial) use of “The Star Spangled Banner” in the first strain of the march. Reportedly, the forceful repeated figure in the trio was inspired by Bagley having seen herds of buffalo crossing the western prairies in the late 19th century.
George M. Cohan (pictured at right). His popularity spanned a century, two world wars, and he was the only musician, I think, to have won a Congressional Medal of Honor (from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1942). In "Yankee Doodle Dandy, George M. Cohan sings that he was "Born on the Fourth of July", only a mild exaggeration, to take his July 3, 1878 birthday over the top! His parents, Jeremiah and Helen, and one sister, Josephine were performing artists, and George's song and dance talents showed strong immediately, till he was obviously the headliner, though still a boy.
"In 1899 the Four Cohans" were joined by a fifth, Ethel Levey, George's first wife, and all experienced continued success and prosperity in their work, creating entire shows from scripts to scores and performing them, nationally and internationally. In 1904, George formed a partnership with Sam Harris that resulted in their entirely dominating Broadway for some years - at one time, they had no fewer than seven shows running simultaneously on Broadway!
Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 American biographical musical film about George M. Cohan, known as "The Man Who Owns Broadway". It stars James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and Richard Whorf, and features Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp and Jeanne Cagney.
"You're a Grand Old Flag" is an American patriotic march. The song, a spirited march written by George M. Cohan, is a tribute to the American flag. In addition to obvious references to the flag, it incorporates snippets of other popular songs, including one of his own. Cohan wrote it in 1906 for George Washington, Jr., his stage musical.
The song was first publicly performed on February 6, the play's opening night, at Herald Square Theater in New York City. "You're a Grand Old Flag" quickly became the first song from a musical to sell over a million copies of sheet music. The title and first lyric comes from someone Cohan once met; the Library of Congress website notes:
The original lyric for this perennial George M. Cohan favorite came, as Cohan later explained, from an encounter he had with a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg. The two men found themselves next to each other and Cohan noticed the vet held a carefully folded but ragged old flag. The man reportedly then turned to Cohan and said, "She's a grand old rag." Cohan thought it was a great line and originally named his tune "You're a Grand Old Rag." So many groups and individuals objected to calling the flag a "rag," however, that he "gave 'em what they wanted" and switched words, renaming the song "You're a Grand Old Flag.”
In the play itself, the scene with the Civil War soldier was replicated. The soldier's comment was the lead-in to this song. Thus the first version of the chorus began, "You're a grand old rag / You're a high-flying flag". Despite Cohan's efforts to pull that version, some artists such as Billy Murray had recorded it under its original title, "The Grand Old Rag", in advance of the play's opening, and copies under that title still circulate among collectors. Cohan's second attempt at writing the chorus began, "You're a grand old flag / Though you're torn to a rag". The final version, with its redundant rhyme, is as shown below.
Music included: I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy; You’re a Grand Old Flag.
Thomas F. Darcy, Jr. was born on May 7th, 1895 in Vancouver, Washington and died on May 19th, 1968 in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Composer, conductor and cornetist, educated at Juilliard and the Army Bandmaster's School. In World War I, he led the 18th Infantry Band (1st Division Allied Expeditionary Force) as the youngest bandmaster in the regular army. He was awarded many medals. From 1924, he was the associate leader and cornet soloist for the US Army Band. In 1953 he was commissioned a Captain as bandleader. During World War II, he conducted the US Army Band, and was Dean of the the Army Bandmaster's School, serving overseas with the Supreme Headquarters Cond.
"God Bless the USA" is an American patriotic song written and recorded by country music artist Lee Greenwood, pictured at left, and is considered to be his signature song. The first album it appears on is 1984's You've Got a Good Love Comin'. It reached No. 7 on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart when originally released in the spring of 1984, and was played at the 1984 Republican National Convention with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan in attendance, but the song gained greater prominence during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, as a way of boosting morale.
Greenwood was born in Los Angeles, California. After the separation of his parents, he grew up near Sacramento on the poultry farm of his maternal grandparents. At the age of seven, he started singing in church. In 1969, he joined the Chester Smith Band and had his first television appearance. A short time later, he worked with the country musician Del Reeves.
He founded his first band, The Apollos, in 1962. The band, which changed its name later to Lee Greenwood Affair, played mostly pop music and appeared mostly in casinos in Las Vegas. A few records were recorded in Los Angeles with the Paramount label. After the band broke up in the 1970s, Greenwood moved back to Las Vegas, where he worked as a blackjack dealer during the day, and as a singer at night.
Frank A. Panella was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1878 and died in Crafton, Pennsylvania in 1953. He was known as the “March King of Pittsburgh.” His musical study began with clarinet lessons at the age of seven. He performed in a number of the city’s theater orchestras and bands as a young man and later played in the Arthur Pryor Band, the Pittsburgh Festival Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He also served as conductor of a number of bands in the rea, including the Grand Army Band, the Boys Brigade Band, Panelia’s Orchestra, and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company Band. He was an instructor at the United States Army School of Music during World War I and later taught at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Institute of Technology.
Flag of Freedom march was written in 1905 and appears to be only one of a number of marches that he wrote with patriotic themes as titles.
Joseph John Richards, pictured at right, was born August 27, 1878 in Cwmavon, Wales. His family immigrated to the United States four years later, settling in Peterson, Kansas. He began learning various brass instruments at the age of ten, progressing rapidly, playing in various amateur bands. At the age of nineteen he was appointed leader of the Norton-Jones Circus Band, beginning a long career as bandmaster with numerous ensembles.
Richards’ first composition appeared in print in 1899; during this period he began writing marches and other works, and certainly many of his early works were first performed by the bands that he led. His career as a circus bandleader culminated with his directorship of the Ringling Bros. Circus Band from 1911 through 1918.
During the circus off-seasons, Richards attended Kansas State Teachers College and the American Conservatory of Music. Beginning in the early 1920’s, he taught school music and directed bands in various Illinois towns through 1944. In 1945, upon the death of Herbert L. Clarke, he was appointed director of the famed Long Beach, California Municipal Band, a post he held until 1950. Subsequently, Richards returned to Illinois in the spring and summer to lead the Mt. Morris Band while wintering in Long Beach. He died on March 16, 1956 in Long Beach.
Richards was highly regarded by his peers. He was elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1939 and served as its president in 1948. He composed well over one hundred works that were published. Undoubtedly his most famous composition - one which enjoys great popularity today - is the marvelous “Emblem of Unity” march.
Emblem of Unity was written in a traditional march form with slight deviations. Of particular interest is Richards’ use of augmented sixth chords in the introduction, as well as solo measures for the snare drum. Possibly the most recognizable feature of the march is the prominent use of the horn section, combined with the baritones on solo measures in the first strain. The horns are featured again in the second strain with exposed octaves accompanied only by chromatic passages in the woodwinds and trumpet parts.
The march was written while he was directing both the public school and municipal bands in Sterling, Illinois. Barnhouse published the march in 1941.
Stars and Stripes Forever (John Philip Sousa – pictured at right) The march is considered the finest march ever written, and at the same time one of the most patriotic ever conceived. As reported in the Philadelphia Public Ledger (May 15, 1897) “ ... It is stirring enough to rouse the American eagle from his crag, and set him to shriek exultantly while he hurls his arrows at the aurora borealis.” (referring to the concert the Sousa Band gave the previous day at the Academy of Music).
The march was not quite so well received though and actually got an over average rating for a new Sousa march. Yet, its popularity grew as Mr. Sousa used it during the Spanish-American War as a concert closer. Coupled with his Trooping of the Colors , the march quickly gained a vigorous response from audiences and critics alike. In fact, audiences rose from their chairs when the march was played. Mr. Sousa added to the entertainment value of the march by having the piccolo(s) line up in front of the band for the final trio, and then added the trumpets and trombones join them on the final repeat of the strain.
The march was performed on almost all of Mr. Sousa’s concerts and always drew tears to the eyes of the audience. The author has noted the same emotional response of audiences to the march today. The march has been named as the national march of The United States.
There are two commentaries of how the march was inspired. The first came as the result of an interview on Mr. Sousa’s patriotism. According to Mr. Sousa, the march was written with the inspiration of God.
“I was in Europe and I got a cablegram that my manager was dead. I was in Italy and I wished to get home as soon as possible, I rushed to Genoa, then to Paris and to England and sailed for America. On board the steamer as I walked miles up and down the deck, back and forth, a mental band was playing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’ Day after day as I walked it persisted in crashing into my very soul. I wrote it on Christmas Day, 1896.”
The second, and more probable inspiration for the march, came from Mr. Sousa’s own homesickness. He had been away from his homeland for some time on tour, and told an interviewer:
“In a kind of dreamy way, I used to think over old days at Washington when I was leader of the Marine Band ... when we played at all public functions, and I could see the Stars and Stripes flying from the flagstaff in the grounds of the White House just as plainly as if I were back there again.”
“Then I began to think of all the countries I had visited, of the foreign people I had met, of the vast differences between America and American people and other countries and other peoples, and that flag our ours became glorified ... and to my imagination it seemed to be the biggest, grandest, flag in the world, and I could not get back under it quick enough.”
“It was in this impatient, fretful state of mind that the inspiration to compose ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ came to me.”
Invincible Eagle. Blache Duffield, soprano of the Sousa Band in 1901, witnessed the creation of this march, and she provided this rare description of the Sousa composing:
“It was [on] a train between Buffalo and New York Outside the coach the lights of towns along the route flashed by like ghosts fluttering at the window panes. The night was dark and the few stars above twinkled fitfully. Mr. Sousa sat in his chair in the dimly lit Pullman. At the further end of the car a porter diligently brushed cushions. At intervals the engine whistled as if in pain.
“Suddenly and without previous warning Mr. Sousa began to describe circles in the air with a pencil, jerking back and forth in his seat meanwhile. Gradually, the circumference of his pencil’s acs diminished and Mr. Sousa drew a notebook from his pocket, still humming to himself.
“Notebook and pencil met. Breves and semi-breves appeared on the page’s virgin surface. Quarter and sixteenth notes followed in orderly array. Meanwhile Mr. Sousa furrowed his brow and from his pursed lips came a stirring air -- rather a martial blare, as if hidden trombones, tubas, and saxophones were striving to gain utterance.
“Now Mr. Sousa’s pencil traveled faster and faster, and page after page of the notebook were turned back, each filled with martial bars. [I] looked on from over the top of a magazine and listened with enthusiasm as Mr. Sousa’s famous march, The Invincible Eagle, took form.
“I tried to attract Mr. Sousa’s attention while he was supplying the accompaniment of flutes, oboes, bassoons, and piccolos, but it was not until he had picked out the march on a violin on his fingers, put his notebook in his pocket, his [imaginary] violin in his case and his cigar back in his mouth that he finally turned toward me and casually remarked that it was a dark night outside.”
The march was dedicated to the Pan-American Exposition, held in Buffalo in the summer of 1901. It outlived a march entitled The Electric Century by Sousa rival, Francesco Fanciullli, whose band also played at the Exposition. At first, Sousa thought The Invincible Eagle would surpass The Stars and Stripes Forever as a patriotic march, although he nearly entitled it Spirit of Niagara.
Irving Berlin (pictured at right). With a life that spanned more than 100 years and a catalogue that boasted over 1000 songs, Irving Berlin epitomised Jerome Kern's famous maxim, that "Irving Berlin has no place in American music - he is American music".
Irving Berlin was born Israel Berlin in May 1888. When his father died, Berlin, just turned 13, took to the streets in various jobs, working as a busker, singing for pennies, then as a singer / waiter in a Chinatown café. In 1907 he published his first song, Marie From Sunny Italy and by 1911 he had his first major international hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band.
Over the next five decades, Irving Berlin produced an outpouring of ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the century. A sampling of just some of the Irving Berlin standards included: How Deep Is the Ocean?, Blue Skies, White Christmas, Always, Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, There's No Business Like Show Business, Cheek To Cheek, Puttin' On The Ritz, A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody, Heatwave, Easter Parade, and Lets Face The Music and Dance. In a class by itself is his beloved paean to his beloved country, God Bless America.
God Bless America. The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.
Kate was also very patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring. She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer, Irving Berlin and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country.
When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before - way back in 1917. He gave it to Kate Smith and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from God Bless America. Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
The Medina Community Band
Marcus Neiman, conductor
Frank Cosenza, Ed Lichtenberg and Thomas Walker, associate conductors
Friday Evening, June 13th, 2016
In Celebration of Flag Day
With special guest speaker Mayor Dennis Hanwell, City of Medina