News & Views Thursday, December 14, 2017

Community Band Spotlight: Salute The Greatest Generation Wednesday, November 08, 2017

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

This post is part of a series highlighting music for community bands.

As we approach Veterans’ Day, I wanted to highlight some unique new titles that are perfect for community bands.  In lieu of the typical patriotic selections there are several new pieces that are ideal for saluting The Greatest Generation, those who served at home and abroad during World War II.  From President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor address and the advent of The Voice of America radio, to songs made up by POW’s and a narrated tribute commemorating the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, there are several excellent options for your concert, or program them all and devote a entire portion of your concert to honoring these men and women who gave so much.

The Greatest Generation
Robert W. Smith
RWS Symphony Band – Grade 4
RWS Concert Band – Grade 3
Written for the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and gathering of heroes from around the world in December of 2016, this stirring composition pays tribute to America’s “Greatest Generation.” Narrated by World War II and Normandy veteran Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, this is the perfect selection to honor those that have served in the armed forces past and present. The available grade 3 setting is more technically accessible.

Freedom’s Voice
David Shaffer
Barnhouse Concert Band – Grade 3
Freedom’s Voice was commissioned to commemorate “The Voice of America,” which began broadcasting in 1942 to combat Nazi propaganda with truthful news and information. VOA has served the world with a consistent message of truth, hope and inspiration. Opening with a mysterious and haunting melody representing the axis powers during the 2nd world war, the piece quietly builds into a voice of hope with the introduction of fanfare figures woven into a stoic rhythmic melody. The piece builds forcefully utilizing just these 2 simple musical elements into a broad finale representing the glory of freedom and free speech.

In Infamy
Jack Wilds
FJH Young Band – Grade 2.5
Commissioned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, In Infamy is a reaction to the emotional arc of President Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor address. A foreboding opening gives way to an intense call to action. A moving setting of America closes the work on a hopeful note. Perfect for patriotic programs and as a salute to a day that will forever live “in infamy.”

Spirit of ‘44
Bob Cotter
RWS Developing Band – Grade 2.5
Toward the end of WWII, both sides had amassed a great number of POW’s. These people were used as labor to build roads and bridges. To keep morale high, the POW’s made up songs that were sung or whistled. These tunes made the work go faster and were used to communicate messages. The Spirit of ‘44 was written in honor of those valiant men and women. Try whistling the melody. It might raise your spirits, too.

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004.  His iPod ranges from jazz and funk to classic and alternative rock, and symphonies.  Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty, and The Tragically Hip have been in heavy rotation lately.  Besides music, he geeks out on amusement parks, hockey (especially the 5x Stanley Cup Champion Penguins), and all things Pittsburgh.


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