Medina Community Band
This material covers the 3rd concert – Friday, June 20th, 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 Cafe, Lager & Vine Gastro Pub & Wine Bar, or 4 Ladies & More Consignment Boutique. 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 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 20th, 2014, at 8:30p, in Medina’s Uptown Park Square Gazebo.
This concert will celebrate the life of Medina resident and composer Edmund J. Siennicki. Siennicki was a member of Medina Community Band, composed music for the group and was a past conductor of the Medina Symphony Orchestra. 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 works by Siennicki, Mendelssohn, Erickson, Fillmore, Gluck, Russo, and Sousa. Medina Community Band is sponsored by the Medina Community Band Association, a standing committee of the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club.
Featured clarinet soloists will be Amy Dragga and Mary Ann Grof-Neiman in Mendelssohn’s Concertpiece forTwo Clarinets and John Franklin, director of concert band, university band, and athletic band at Kent State University, as featured guest conductor.
The ice cream social for the evening will be presented by the Medina County Historical Society.
Featured Soloists and Guest Conductor
Amy Dragga, clarinetist (pictured at left) was born and raised in the Medina area. A graduate of Highland High School and student of Vicki Smith and Mary Ann Grof-Neiman, Amy studied music education at The Ohio State University. She graduated from the University of Akron with a B.A. in English and achieved a Master of Library Science from Kent State University. Although music was always her first love, her career took a much different path. A fundraiser by trade, Amy has helped raise money for noteworthy organizations such as The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Clinic, and Summa Health System. She currently serves as Director of Development for Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. She is also a brakeman on the railroad when time permits. Amy has performed with Medina Community Band since 1988 and the Sounds of Sousa Band. She resides in Bedford with her husband Bill. (June 2012).
Mary Ann Grof-Neiman, clarinetist (pictured at right) is currently the program administrator of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory and Continuing Education Division. She received her bachelor of science in music education degree from the Bowling Green State University. Ms. Grof-Neiman has served as clarinetist for the Blossom Festival Band, Lakeland Civic Band, Lakeside Symphony Orchestra, Youngstown Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, the Chagrin Falls Studio Orchestra and currently performs with the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, Lakewood Home Town Band, Medina Community Band, the Cleveland Winds, and is principal clarinetist with the Sounds of Sousa Band. She maintains private studios at Baldwin Wallace College through their Conservatory Outreach Program as well as her home in Medina. She has served the Ohio Music Education Association as a Woodwind Adjudicator for the last 25 years and is a member of AFM Local 4. She resides in Medina with her husband Marcus and their cats Dmitri and Sasha.
Dr. John Franklin (pictured at left) joined the faculty of the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University in the fall of 2013 as the director of Athletic Bands having served in similar capacity at Duke University (Durham, NC), East Carolina University (Greenville, NC), the University of West Georgia (Carrollton, GA), and as the interim director of bands and visiting assistant professor of music education at the College of Wooster (Wooster, OH). A native of Jacksonville, FL, Dr. Franklin has been a part of the band profession since 1998 when he served as the director of bands at Frostproof Middle/Senior High School (Frostproof, FL). This was followed by a position as the director of bands and choirs at Avon Park Middle School (Avon Park, FL).
As a public school music educator, his ensembles were known for their curriculum in comprehensive musicianship and were hailed for their mature band sound. While at Indiana University for graduate studies, he served as a clinician at several area band programs, worked on the staff of the Indiana University Marching Hundred, recipient of the 2007 Sudler Trophy, guest conducted the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble, conducted the All-Campus Band, and coordinated the Young Winds music education program.
Dr. Franklin’s scholarship interests include the training of music teachers, particularly in the area of undergraduate instrumental conducting education, and the history and literature of the wind ensemble. His work has been published in the Teaching Music Through Performance in Band series. He recently presented a clinic on creating five-year development plans for college athletic bands at the 2011 CBDNA Athletic Band Conference in Scottsdale, AZ.
Furthermore, his catalogue of nearly 100 athletic and concert band arrangements have been performed by bands across the United States, including those at Duke University, East Carolina University, California State University-Long Beach, Northwest Missouri State University, Florida State University, Indiana University, the University of Georgia, Mississippi State University, the College of Wooster, and the University of West Georgia.
As a conductor, Dr. Franklin’s ability to prepare both concert and chamber groups has garnered praise from many conductors, composers, teachers, and musicians from across the country. He remains in steady demand as a guest conductor with past and future engagements that include several honor bands in North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida as well as with the prestigious United States Military Academy Band. Dr. Franklin completed his DM in Wind Conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. He holds a master of music education also from Indiana University and the bachelor of music education from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Professional memberships include the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA), the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE), the National Band Association (NBA), and is an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha (Zeta Psi chapter).Our Conductors
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. 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.
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.”
Summer Evening on the Square was written by Tadd Russo (pictured at left) to celebrate the 150th season of Medina Community Band (premiered in 2009). Russo was born and raised in Medina, Ohio, and was first exposed to “band music” on the Square in Medina, listening to the Medina Community Band with his parents. Russo is currently a member of the United States Air Force Band’s Music Production Staff.
Technical Sergeant Russo is a 1999 graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned both a bachelor of music and a bachelor of music in education, and was the recipient of The OSU College of the Arts Grant for work in Theater Music. He earned his master of music degree in 2001, also from Ohio State. While at OSU, he was the composer-in-residence for The Ohio State University Symphony Orchestra, and studied with Thomas Wells, Donald Harris and Jan Radzynski. Sergeant Russo is a member of the Society of Composers, Inc. and ASCAP.
The work is programmatic in nature and allows us to picture a typical Friday evening on the square from the late afternoon arrival of vendors and musicians, to car and trucks passing through the square, on to the band’s performance.
Edmund J. Siennicki died on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014, of natural causes. He was 94. We are dedicating this concert in his memory.
He was the first “real live published composer” I ever met. He played bassoon in the Medina Community Band, which I conduct, and he was a good and true friend. And, he was a bit of a character.
Ed leaves his daughter Barbara (Sergio Barroso) Siennicki; and sister, Helene McKee. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews and his dearest friend, Nellie Renner. He was preceded in death by his wife, Bette J. (Hall); and sister, Virginia Ojeda.
He was a product of the Cleveland Public Schools music program and graduated from J.F. Rhodes High School and completed his bachelor’s degree in music education at Kent State University following his return from military service during World War II. He wrote the Kent State University fight song, Fight on for KSU, which is still played at football games. While a student at Kent State, he was reportedly asked to leave the music building when he was caught playing "jazz" on the piano in the practice room. In 1994, he was presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music.
He obtained his master of arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, NYC, in 1948. He was a bassoon student of Simon Kovar and studied composition with Herbert Elwell, electronic music with Sergio Barroso, and consulted with Vincent Persichetti.
Ed taught music in the Cleveland Public Schools at Collinwood High School, Thomas Jefferson Junior High, and Mooney Junior High. Television star Drew Carey was one of his band members. Friend and colleague Don Santa Emma, who was music supervisor for the Cleveland Public Schools, said Ed indicated that Carey was a cut-up in class and very good at generating laughs from fellow band members. Ed often had to pull Carey aside to calm him down – telling him that people pay money to hear comedians and that’s where he should focus his efforts rather than band class.
Former student Nancy Rycbacki Dix commented in an editorial that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that Ed had the patience of a saint. Corporal punishment was allowed back in 1955, and he even made that musical. A drum roll prior to the swat, then a crash of cymbals, and at last taps played by the trumpets.
As an educator, Ed was awarded the Martha Holden Jennings Master Teacher Award in 1964. This award provided him the opportunity to live at the MacDowell Colony, a residence for artists, composers and authors, and an experience he treasured throughout his life. Yet, everyone wasn’t fond of his music. Santa Emma commented that Ed was acting as an adjudicator’s assistant for a Cleveland Public Schools solo and ensemble contest being held at Thomas Jefferson High School. The adjudicator Ed was assisting didn’t know who Ed was and after an ensemble come in a played one of Ed’s compositions muttered ‘who wrote that (expletive) piece? Ed commented, ‘I did!’
As a composer, with over 400 publications of his compositions and arrangements of music for schools, Ed reached an international audience with performances throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. His compositions have won prizes in the National School Orchestra composition contests. He published for a number of publishing houses including Alfred Music, Ludwig, and Luck’s Music, just to name a few.
He conducted the Medina (Community) Symphony Orchestra for a number of years, played bassoon in the Medina Community Band, and wrote and/or arranged for both groups. He, and friend and colleague Albert Oliver Davis, served as composers-in-residence for the Medina County Fair Honors Ensembles for a number of years, writing pieces for the bands and serving as guest clinicians and running sectionals for the groups. The students in those groups never realized the talent base helping them, just two “old guys” having fun teaching and composing. They loved and respected both men and loved playing their music.
Joyce Wendel, who served with Ed at the Ohio State Fair summed it up so well - Ed was such a sweet man, a true musician and educator, always ready to share his stories and his knowledge. He took the time to really listen, and any opportunity to teach.
A Flower for Theresa was dedicated to the memory of Theresa Stekely, a student in the Medina County Schools Educational Service Center Fair Honors Junior High-Middle School Band. Theresa died in a bike car accident in 1993 and the work was published by Ludwig Music Publishing Company in 1994. Both Siennicki and Marcus Neiman, were grief stricken. Siennicki was kind enough to write and/or arrange numerous pieces for the Medina County Fair Honors Ensembles and Medina Community Band over the years. We often read new works for band with the community band and Ed would kindly agree to conduct first performances on the Square in Medina. I asked Ed to consider writing a piece in her memory, something that was lyric and yet accessible by young bands. The result was “A Flower for Theresa.” It was premiered by the Medina County Fair Junior High Honors Band the year following the girl’s death. Mary Schrembeck comment that the 300 member Ohio State Fair Band adored him and loved to play the music he had written. One of their favorite pieces was "A Flower for Theresa." The band was very moved by this piece.
Robots in Rhythm was published in 1985 by Shawnee Press, Inc. The work was commissioned by and dedicated to Medina County Junior High/Middle School Fair Honors Band, Marcus L. Neiman, director. The work was written as an educational composition that would help young band students become more adept at playing in Alla breve meter. The term comes from the Italian for ‘at the breve,’ also called cut time or cut common time. Siennicki commented that with some imagination, the listener, upon hearing “Robots and Rhythms,” might be reminded of educational and promotional motion pictures distributed by manufacturers to demonstrate how they make and package their product. In most cases, the items are sent along a conveyer in a precise, mechanical rhythmic parade, each station along the way completing its function until the product finally emerges in its completed form.
Kent State University Fight Song. Laura Morello-Simonitis wrote the following information on Siennicki’s writing of the fight song that appeared on the KSU website. In 1939, Siennicki (’46) enrolled in Kent State to study music education, where he played the piano and bassoon. He arrived in Kent with $95 - enough to buy books, and pay for two weeks of room and board. He paid his way through school by playing the piano at country clubs, nightclubs and churches. Without a car, he relied on whatever means necessary to perform and continue his studies. "I hitchhiked to Cleveland to play a job and hitchhiked back," he said.
It was during an orchestration class that Siennicki created his Kent State musical legacy. His professor, Roy Metcalf, asked him to write a song the band could play for Kent State. Siennicki remembers Metcalf saying, "'If you write it, we'll play it once. If we like it, we'll play it again.'"
That song, "Fight On For KSU," which was played again and again, was adopted as the university's fight song. Freshmen hear the rhythm and beat of Siennicki's music for the first time at convocation. The marching band unleashes it as the Golden Flashes approach the playing field, and whenever the team scores, making it the band's most-played song.
With a lifetime of success and numerous awards and recognitions, Siennicki remained remarkably humble."I've been very fortunate," he said, citing the help that friends have provided him. His enthusiasm for music seemed as boundless as the notes he wrote. His "Fight On for KSU" continues to rouse cheering Kent State fans every year. And his songs dare countless others to find musical bliss.
Two Marches from Alceste by Christoph W. Gluck and scored for symphonic band by Siennicki was published by Ludwig Music Publishing Company in 1977. Siennicki was adept at scoring and arranging works for band, orchestra, or small ensembles. His arrangments were carefully thought out and well scored. This particular arrangement of two marches by Gluck includes “March of the Conquerors” and “In the Temple of Apollo.”
Felix Mendelssohn (pictured at left), the grandson of the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, was recognized early as a musical prodigy, but his parents were cautious and did not seek to capitalize on his talent. Early success in Germany, where he also revived interest in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, was followed by travel throughout Europe. Mendelssohn was particularly well-received in Britain as a composer, conductor and soloist, and his ten visits there – during which many of his major works were premiered – form an important part of his adult career.
His Concertpiece, No 2 for Two Clarinets, was composed in 1832, and was originally for clarinet and Basset Horn. Written as bravura pieces, each one is a self-contained mini concerto with three movements. Heinrich Baermann and his son Carl were two of the great clarinet virtuosos of the 19th century, their artistry celebrated the length and breadth of Europe. To their friendship with Felix Mendelssohn we owe this composition.
An interesting aside, retold by Carl Baermann, who reports that the alternative title of the first piece, ‘grand duet for sweet yeast dumpling and cream puff, clarinet and basset-horn’, stems from a culinary duel fought between him and Mendelssohn in Berlin at the end of 1832. By preparing yeast dumplings and cream puffs, Baermann apparently persuaded Mendelssohn to respond to a commission that his father had given him some time earlier, encouraging him to slave away at his ‘piano stove’, while he himself busied himself in the kitchen.
Henry Fillmore (pictured at right) was a true free spirit. He was brought up by a conservative family in a conservative town. When he couldn’t do as he wished, he ran away with a circus and played trombone in the circus band. To top it all off, he married an exotic dancer.
Footlifter (March). The march was composed for a Cincinnati insurance agency which sponsored the radio broadcasts of the Fillmore Band, and was dedicated To Harry T. Garner, Secretary of the Cincinnati Automobile Dealers’ Association. The motto of the agency was “A penny a day” for insurance and, as he had done with other marches, Henry used the rhythm of the phrase “A penny a day” to dictate the opening rhythm of the march. The title was suggested by a personal friend of Henry’s who made the comment that the march was “a footlifter.”
Henry Fillmore (pictured at left) was one of our most prolific composers with 256 compositions to his record and almost 800 arrangements. He published under various pseudonyms as well as his own name: Henry Fillmore -114; Gus Beans – 2; Harold Bennett – 65; Ray Hall – 3; Harry Hartley – 6; Al Hayes – 57; Will Huff – 8; and Henrietta Moore – 1.
According to Herb Block, Henry got into a conflict with his father (who composed and published liturgical music in Cincinnati) over the kind of music that Henry was composing. Henry liked march music and said, “I will huff and puff and I will write my own music.” Hence, the name Will Huff.
Fillmore was a true free spirit. He was brought up by a conservative family in a conservative town. When he couldn’t do as he wished, he ran away with a circus and played trombone in the circus band. To top it all off, he married an exotic dancer.
Lucky Trombone (characteristic). The characteristic was published in 1926 by The Fillmore Brothers Company (Cincinnati, Ohio). The subtitle was “he’s da thirteenth member uv de family.”
Fillmore wrote 15 characteristics, or trombone smears, over a period of 21 years. All were ragtime pieces reflecting the minstrel show idiom of vaudeville and all were deeply in the ragtime style. Lucky Trombone, obviously was the 13th addition to the family!
Fillmore was often called the “Father of the Trombone Smear.”
Music from the Movies – James Bond Suite arranged for band by Frank Erickson. Several James Bond numbers have become “classics” in their own right. From the suite, we have selected three that stand out in their own right. The first is James Bond Theme taken from the movie “Dr. No.” The movie hit the screen in 1962 and starred Sean Connery as James Bond, the first of the series. Based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, adapted by Richard Mailbaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather, the movie was directed by Terence Young and provided by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli. Monty Norman was invited to write the soundtrack and John Barry, who would later write music for eleven Bond films, arranged the Bond theme, but was uncredited.
Live and Let Die (1973) was the eighth spy film in the James Bond series. It starred Roger Moore as Bond and was produced by Saltzman and Broccoli and directed by Guy Hamilton. The film was a box-office hit and also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Live and Let Die” written by Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by Wings. This was the first time a rock and roll song was used to open a Bond film, and became a major success in the United Kingdom and the United States. The Olympia Brass Band had a notable part in the film, leading a funeral march for a soon to be assassinated victim. Trumpeter Alvin Alcorn played the killer and the piece of music the band played at the beginning of the funeral march was “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” followed by “Joe Avery’s Piece” after the killing.
Goldfinger (1964) was the third film in the series and the third to star Sean Connery as Bond. Produced by Broccoli and Saltzman it was Hamilton’s first as director. John Barry composed the score for the film and described his work in Goldfinger as his favorite. The musical tracks, in keeping with the film’s theme of gold and metal, make heavy use of brass and metallic chimes. The film’s score is described as “brassy and raunchy” with “a sassy sexiness to it.” The film is said to have started the tradition of Bond theme songs being from the pop genre or using popular artists. The song was composed by John Barry, with lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse.
Clare Ewing Grundman (pictured at left) is one of the most prolific and highly respected composers for band on the American scene today. He is represented in one publisher’s catalogue with nearly 50 works for band, in addition to other media.
Grundman grew up in Ohio earning both bachelor of science and master of arts degrees at The Ohio State University. From 1937 to 1941, he taught arranging, woodwind, and band at OSU and during World War II, he was a member of the US Coast Guard. He credits Manley R. Whitcomb with first encouraging him to write for band and Paul Hindemith with providing practical techniques for composition.
Grundman’s activities also include scores and arrangements for radio, television, motion pictures, ballet, and Broadway musicals. His arrangements have been used by many well-known entertainers including: Carol Channing, Marge and Gower Champion, Sid Caesar, and Victor Borge. He has taken a special interest in composition for school bands, and his works have been performed by school and college bands throughout the country.
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 of 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.”
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 20th, 2014
In memory of Edmund J. Siennicki
National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner (1889) Francis Scott Key/John Philip Sousa