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Round the World in Music

April 15 & 17, 2003

In April 2003, the Melbourne Municipal Band played a dramatic concert mixing popular music with classical pieces.

The concert opened with Czechloslovakian march king Julius Fucik, who composed over 400 marches in his career. "Entry of the Gladiators" - so named because of his fascination with Rome, is one of his most popular. In 1910, Canadian bandmaster Louis-Phillipe Laurendeau brought Fucik's works to the west, and renamed "Entry of the Gladiators" to "Thunder and Blazes".

Composer Otto Nicolai was born in Berlin in 1810. His "Merry Wives of Windsor", an opera based on the Shakespeare play, was written in 1849. "Merry Wives" is one of the best examples of Nicolai's flair for comic opera.

Originally from Poland, great piano composer Frederick Chopin carried an urn of Polish soil with him when he lived in France. It was his wish that when he died he be buried in Polish soil, so the contents of the urn was scattered on his grave, even though he was buried in France. Chopin composed many amazing pieces for piano and orchestra, and tonight Mr. Clair Christy and the Melbourne Municipal Band played his "Opus 10, Etude 3", arranged by Merle Isaac.

Famed cornetist Herbert L. Clarke was considered the best cornet player of his time. His composition "The Debutante" is one of the most frequently recorded trumpet solos of all time. Mr. Brad Carpenter has been playing the trumpet for 15 years, but chose to be an engineer instead of a professional musician. After playing at the University of Alabama in the Million Dollar Band and Wind Ensemble, he moved to Melbourne where he discovered the Melbourne Municipal Band. Mr. Clair Christy led Mr. Brad Carpenter and the Melbourne Municipal Band in Herbert L. Clarke's "The Debutante".

British composer Tolchard Evans' height of popularity was in between the world wars. So successful was he at imitating the Spanish "paso doble" style that his composition "Lady of Spain" became popular in Spain itself. Lucien Callet arranged the Band's presentation of Tolchard Evans' "Lady of Spain".

Not wanting to flood the market, prolific composer Henry Fillmore published under numerous pen names such as Harold Bennett, Will Huff, Al Hayes, Gus Beans, Ray Hall, Harry Hartley and Henrietta Hall. Biographer Paul Bierley estimates Fillmore wrote 250 original compositions and arranged 750 others, which averages to about 20 compositions per year. Mr. Clair Christy led the Melbourne Municipal Band in Fillmore's last composition, "The President's March", written to honor the President of the University of Miami.

The Melbourne Municipal Band's Swingtime Band played during intermission, featuring Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, What a Wonderful Life, Mac The Knife, and America.

John Philip Sousa performed regularly in Willow Grove Park, and a Philadelphia trolley company owned by Thomas Mitten often transported Sousa's band and patrons to the Park. In gratitude, Sousa wrote the "March of the Mitten Men", based on the hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers" because Mitten liked that hymn so much. Mitten and Sousa had a falling out at some point and Sousa renamed the march to "Power and Glory".

The "Dance of the Hours" is actually a famous scene from Amilcare Ponchielli's ballet "La Giocanda" - the smiling one. However, when you hear this piece you may in fact associate it with dancing hippos, alligators and ostriches from Disney's "Fantasia". Although Ponchielli's ballet is a serious depiction of the parts of the day, Disney turned it into a vaudeville farce. You also might also recall this from a famous song recorded by comedian Allan Sherman - "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah".

Jerry Bilik's "American Civil War Fantasy" features excerpts from many songs and well-known melodies from the Civil War era, at once solemn and celebratory in tone. If you attended this concert you also heard the cannon fire.

Born in Indiana, Fred Jewell got his first playing and conducting experience from the Gentry Brothers Circus Band, and later moved on to the Barnum and Bailey's Circus. Many of his compositions were "screamers" - a term used for circus music. The Band presented a Jewell of a march in the highly recognizable "E Pluribus Unum".

George Bernard Shaw's 1912 play "Pygmalion", a farce of the British class system, became the inspiration for Alan Lerner and Fredrick Lowe's musical "My Fair Lady". A celebration of intelligence, this beloved musical has been produced countless times in productions large and small. This Robert Russell Bennett arrangement features "With a Little Bit of Luck", "The Street Where You Live", "Wouldn't It Be Loverly", "I'm Getting Married In the Morning", "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face" and "I Could Have Danced All Night".

We didn't forgot our other military services tonight. We'd like to salute you with a presentation of the "Armed Forces Salute" featuring songs of the different armed forces - "The Caisson Song", "Semper Paratus", "The Marine's Hymn", "The US Air Force" and "Anchors Aweigh". As each serviceman in the audience heard their service song, they stood to be recognized as the Melbourne Municipal Band presented Bob Lowden's arrangement of the "Armed Forces Salute".

John Philip Sousa once stated that "March music is for the feet, not the head." Composed in 1896, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is indeed foot-tapping music. Mr. Clair Christy and the Melbourne Municipal Band concluded the concert with our national march - John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever".

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The Melbourne Municipal Band
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