Empire Statesmen Announce 2009 Program

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Rochester’s Empire Statesmen will bring the sounds that symbolize various aspects of the country’s enduring appeal to people around the world to the contest field in 2009. The new music production is titled Out of Many, One: the American Destiny. The theme explores a wide variety of well-known and appealing music, including classical, religious, popular and patriotic selections, which illustrate the rich tapestry and mosaic of American spirit, identity and values.

The field show will open with Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, written in 1942 to honor the common men and women fighting for their country during World War II.

The opening continues with Robert Jager’s Esprit de Corps, to evoke the opportunity America presented to those who came from across the world to pursue the ideals of freedom, democracy, liberty and equality and who were willing to fight to defend those rights.

Amazing Grace will be presented as a tribute to fallen heroes: our ancestors, who paid a high price in the cause of freedom and liberty. The well-known hymn is a favorite around the world with supporters of freedom and human rights.

A sense of celebration will be created as each section of the corps is featured throughout a production number based on the musical themes of Gordon Goodwin’s Sing, Sang, Sung and the Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, book-ending a high velocity percussion feature.

The show will conclude with a musical and visual statement to illustrate the country’s motto of “From Many One.” This tradition of merging shared cultures and beliefs will be conveyed through the richly harmonic score of music featured on the album titled One Voice.

The field show selections highlight some of the most popular music, composers and arrangers of the past century.

Aaron Copland wrote his Fanfare for the Common Man at the request of Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, to be performed during the 1942-43 concert season. During World War I Goossens had asked British composers for a fanfare to begin each orchestral concert. That project was so successful he made the same request to American composers during World War II. The fanfare was also used as the main theme of the fourth movement of Copland’s Third Symphony. Copland’s fanfare has since been used by various groups, including British rock bands Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the Rolling Stones. The American rock band Styx has also used the fanfare. The Woody Herman Orchestra closed its performances with a jazz rendition of Fanfare for the Common Man. Bob Dylan opened some of his shows with Fanfare for the Common Man. Copland is well known for his lyrical compositions which use elements of American folk music, such as the ballets Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring. He also composed music for films, including Of Mice and Men, Our Town, and The Heiress.

Esprit de Corps, by Robert Jager, was commissioned by the United States Marine Band, of Washington, DC in 1984. The stirring composition, based on The Marines’ Hymn, is a kind of fantasy-march, full of energy and drama, with both solemn and lighter moments. Jager was born in Binghamton, New York in 1939 and received his education at the University of Michigan. He has published more than 65 compositions for band, orchestra and various chamber groupings, with more than 35 commissions including the United States Marine Band and the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra. He is the only three-time winner of the American Bandmasters Association’s Ostwald Award.

Amazing Grace, written John Newton between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, England is one of the most beloved hymns of all times. Newton himself is the self-proclaimed wretch who once was lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace, as stated in the first lines of the hymn: Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)/That sav’d a wretch like me! Newton was still a teenager in 1744 when he was impressed into service on an English man-of-war. He deserted to escape the intolerable conditions on board the ship, but was recaptured, publicly flogged and demoted. At his request, he was exchanged into service on a slave ship. After he gave up life at sea he eventually became a minister and a prolific hymn writer. The origin of the melody of Amazing Grace is unknown, but may have been the tune of a song that slaves sang years earlier aboard his ship.

Sing Sang Sung, written by Gordon Goodwin and performed by his Big Phat Band, was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition. Several of Goodwin’s songs are plays on old big band jazz tunes, including Sing, Sang, Sung which mimics the famous swing era hit number Sing, Sing, Sing. He wrote his first big band chart when he was in the 7th grade. When he graduated from school, he was recruited into Louie Bellson’s big band. Goodwin is a three-time Emmy winner, and has been a guest conductor for groups including the London Symphony Orchestra and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He is currently head music arranger for Walt Disney Parks around the world.

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince, was recorded by the Andrews Sisters, the most successful female singing group of all-time, on January 12, 1941. The Andrews Sisters, Patty, Maxene and Laverne, are still well loved for making some of the most popular music of World War II. After a recording made in 1937 failed to sell, their father persuaded them to come back home to Minneapolis to attend secretarial school. They were packing their bags when they were invited to sing on a radio program. Decca Records vice president Dave Kapp heard the broadcast and invited the sisters to his office. After a short audition, he signed them to a contract. Their unique vocal arrangements and tight harmonies quickly made them one of the most popular musical acts in the country, with a string of recording hits and regular appearances on radio. In 1940, they made their first of many film appearances. During World War II, they often performed for servicemen across America and abroad.

The music on the album One Voice, is best described as progressive southern gospel music, featuring rich four and five part vocal harmonies, backed by full orchestration, in a style reminiscent of such vintage popular groups as the Four Freshmen and the Lettermen.

Empire Statesmen’s regular two-day rehearsal camps to learn the new music and guard routines will be held every other weekend at Mercy High School, 1437 Blossom Road on Rochester’s upper east side, beginning on January 3, 2009. The first winter performance is scheduled for mid-March.

Since first competing in 1983, the Empire Statesmen have won five Drum Corps International (DCA) world championships, four American Legion national titles, and the triple crown: the DCA and American Legion titles and the World Show Band championship in London, England all in the same year in 1998, when the field show featured music from West Side Story. Empire Statesmen have finished in the top four during DCA championship tournaments for 21 consecutive years.

The Empire Statesmen drum and bugle corps is a self-supporting independent group that represents the city of Rochester across the United States and Canada and as far abroad as Europe, the Caribbean and South America.

For more information about any aspect of the Empire Statesmen organization, call (585) 266-2232, e-mail esmen [at] rochester [dot] rr [dot] com or visit the Empire Statesmen Web site at: www.statesmen.org

Posted by on Friday, November 28th, 2008. Filed under DCA News.