New Scout House Music For 2014 Field Show
Preston Scout House members will feel a touch of nostalgia when they take field show spectators on a musical visit to the Land of Make Believe this summer. The Land of Make Believe was the motto written on the proscenium arch of the theatre on the upper floor of the Scout House building in the 1940s, when 1st Preston Scout Troop members would perform original skits and songs written by Band director Wilf Blum.
Other new numbers to be featured in the Band’s 2014 field show include the central melody from Jupiter, one of the seven orchestral pieces making up The Planets, by Gustav Holst and Miserlou, (originally spelled Misirlou) a Greek folk song with cult status in five different styles of music: Greek folk music, middle-eastern belly dancing, Jewish wedding music, American surf rock and orchestral easy listening.
Both Land of Make Believe and Miserlou have been arranged for Scout House by well-known teacher and arranger Dave MacKinnon. Jupiter, which will be played as a warm up number at the beginning of field shows is arranged by Scout House brass instructor and music conductor Gord Cupskey. Miserlou will be the opening number on the field and Land of Make Believe will be a moving concert.
Holst, born in Cheltenham, England in 1874, composed The Planets as a series of mood pictures after being introduced to concepts of astrology. The suite, written from 1914 to 1916, represents the progression of life with each planet having an astrological chararacteristic. Jupiter is The Bringer of Jollity, representing the prime of life. The central melody is familiar to today’s audiences as a patriotic hymn including the words “I vow to thee, my country.”
Misirlou was first performed as a Greek folk song in 1927. The melody was probably composed through collaboration of band members with the lyrics likely written by the band’s leader. Misirlou is a Greek word referring to a Muslim Egyptian woman. The lyrics of the desert love song portray a cross-faith, cross-race affair, which would have been very controversial at the time. The lyrics describe lovers crossing the desert to be together. The final lines are:
Old temple bells are calling across the sand.
We’ll find our Kismet, answering love’s command.
You, Misirlou, are a dream of delight in the night.
To an oasis, sprinkled by stars above,
Heaven will guide us, Allah will bless our love.
Misirlou was performed by many North American swing bands in the 1940s and was widely used as an accompaniment to mid-Eastern folk dances. The song, retitled Miserlou, reached a wider, younger North American audience when guitarist Dick Dale’s blazing up-tempo rock and roll version was featured in one of the beach blanket movies of the 1960s. Dale’s instrumental version received another boost in popularity when it was included on the soundtrack of the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction.
Land of Make Believe is the title tune of one of Rochester jazz musician Chuck Mangione’s best known albums, written in the early 1970s when American involvement in the Viet Nam war was a controversial topic across the land. Land of Make Believe is an imagined idealized state where we can make dreams come true if we follow our hearts:
It’s a place where no one dies.
It’s a land where no one cries.
And good vibrations always
Lyrics name some of America’s best-loved fictional characters who create the good vibrations in this mythical land, including Mother Goose and her rhymes for children, the Wizard of Oz, the Seven Dwarves, Little Boy Blue, Uncle Remus and Snow White (representing an integrated society). The call for integration is further emphasized in a reference to Martin Luther King:
In your world there was a King
He once said, “I have a dream,”?
Scout House expects to be performance-ready early in the year with two music sessions with arranger Dave MacKinnon and two indoor field show practices at the Preston Soccer Dome scheduled over the next two months. The Band’s early season indoor schedule includes the fourth annual exhibition appearance at the Ventures Winter Guard show and the Scout House Spring Opening arena show in Preston, offered with no admission charge as a thank you for community support throughout the year.
Scout House has already confirmed a dozen parade and field show performances for 2014 in Ontario and New York state, including the Alumni Spectacular field show in Rochester during the 50th anniversary Drum Corps Associates championship tournament on Labour Day weekend.
Regular weekly practice sessions for all groups within the Band are now underway. These include Silver Leaves brass ensemble rehearsal Sunday morning; brass and percussion Sunday afternoon; rifle/banner spin line practice Sunday afternoon; mini-corps practice Monday evenings; colour guard training Tuesday evening; extra brass and Preston Scout House Cadets practice on Wednesday evening and drill team practice on Thursday evening.
For more information about Preston Scout House, contact Activities Director Nancy Weiler at telephone (519) 653-3376, email prestonscouthouseband [dot] adm [at] sympatico [dot] ca or visit the Web site at http://www.scouthouseband.com/