I attended a Marine Band concert at the Washington Monument this evening. They began with Sousa's not so well-known Marquette University March, followed by the Overture to The Bartered Bride. It opened with the clarinets in full violin section mode, playing unison 16th notes at about MM=140, no one else playing and thus very exposed, and sounding like one large clarinet. This is the sort of thing we seem to expect from the orchestra world, yet rarely hear done this well in the bands. Of course there are more professional orchestras than bands. By the end of the piece every section had had their opportunity at rapid articulated 16ths--a virtuoso performance.
Next was the Saint-Saens Cavatine, originally for trombone and piano, arranged for brass and trombone by the noted British brass band arranger James Gourlay, featuring SSgt Preston Hardage. Reportedly, his peers liked it--me, not so much.
Then was the Entry March of the Boyars, practically the national march of Norway, followed by Morton Gould's Ballad for Band.
Next, GySgt Kevin Bennear performed the recitation for Randy Bass's Casey At the Bat. He delivered a wonderfully dramatic reading, and, since he is also a musician singing baritone for the band, he and Director Colonel Michael Colburn worked well together so that the recitation and the music coordinated perfectly.
They closed with Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, another difficult transcription, performed superbly.
All in all, another outstanding example of your tax dollars at work. I thank all you citizens of Montana, Florida, Texas and all the other states for your contribution to my enjoyment, and wish more of you could share it with me, but there isn't room for all of you to live in Maryland and northern Virginia.