Illinois State University Alumni Concert Band June 8, 2024

Illinois State University Alumni Concert Band

June 8, 2024 - 4:00pm

Center for the Performing Arts - Illinois State University

Anthony C. Marinello, III, conductor

Larry Frank, guest conductor


Hands Across the Sea - John Phillip Sousa, arr. Brion and Schissel

On this Bright Morning - David Maslanka

One Life Beautiful - Julie Giroux

Angels in the Architecture - Frank Ticheli

Of Our New Day Begun - Omar Thomas

Alumni Concert Band Roster

Program Notes

Hands Across the Sea (1899/1997)

John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), arr. Brion and Schissel | Duration: 3:00

Hands Across the Sea, composed in 1899, might well be considered Sousa’s farewell to the nineteenth century that had been so crucial to the evolution of the United States of America. The two final decades of that century had also been very good to Sousa, for in those years he emerged as a world-famous music personality. His magnificent band was one of the first American success stories in music, for it captured audiences wherever it played. Sousa, his band, and his thrilling marches spoke for all of us. Together they just might possibly have been the best ambassadors for the Republic since Benjamin Franklin. Hands Across the Sea could also have been Sousa’s sincerely confident and patriotic view of the years ahead at the dawn of what he hoped might be a bright new era for mankind. The title of the march has the ring of history in it. Since Sousa was almost as fascinated by words as he was by music, this happy combination finds him joining one of his most mature and compelling marches with words to match, for the prophetic title was original with him. There are, of course, as many ways to play Sousa marches as there are conductors to lead them, and no official “system” of performance was either provided or approved by him. Those many admirers among his players who subsequently conducted provided viable options, but Sousa’s approval on proofs for publication make them all that is ultimately correct. - Program note by Frederick Fennell

When played for the first time by Sousa's Band in Philadelphia's Academy of Music on April 21, 1899, "many feet were beating a tattoo." The band was obliged to repeat it three times. Hands Across the Sea was off to a good start, and it has since remained a standard in band literature. The march was addressed to no particular nation, but to all of America's friends abroad. It has been suggested that Sousa was inspired by an incident in the Spanish-American War in which Captain Chichester of the British Navy came to the support of Admiral Dewey at Manila Bay. A second (and more likely) source is a line by Frere, which was printed on the front cover of the music: "A sudden thought strikes me ... Let us swear an eternal friendship." The line by Frere apparently appeared in a play which Sousa read. In answering questions sent to him while serving in the navy, he gave this account in the Great Lakes Recruit in March 1918: After the Spanish War there was some feeling in Europe anent our republic regarding this war. Some of the nations ... thought we were not justified while others gave us credit for the honesty of our purpose. One night I was reading an old play and I came across this line, A sudden thought strikes me ... Let us swear an eternal friendship." This almost immediately suggested the title Hands across the Sea for that composition and within a few weeks that now famous march became a living fact. - Program Note from John Philip Sousa: A Descriptive Catalog of His Works

On this Bright Morning (2013)

David Maslanka (1943-2017) | Duration: 10:00

On this Bright Morning was written for a consortium of Montana high school bands. The focus group was the second band at Missoula’s Hellgate High School, the thinking being that this second band in a good music program would represent the technical development of the average high school band around the state. The music is bright and engaging, and at the same time quite soulful. It asks players and conductors to commit fully to a very direct and powerful personal feeling. As a motivation for approaching the piece I have attached the following quote, taken from an interview with the poet, Jane Kenyon: “Yes, there are things in this life that we must endure that are all but unendurable, and yet I feel that there is a great goodness. Why, when there could have been nothing, is there something? How, when there could have been nothing, does it happen that there is love, kindness, beauty?” There are times of stability in life, and times of significant transition. Transitions can be upsetting, often provoked or accompanied by physical or emotional troubles. They are times of uncertainty and unknowing, but also the times of greatest creative change. “On This Bright Morning” acknowledges the struggle, and the feelings of pain and loss in times of transition, but embodies the pure joy of realizing the bigger life. On this bright morning, life is new, life is possible. The following is from a Bill Moyers interview with the poet, Jane Kenyon, who suffered chronic depression, and who died of leukemia at age 48: “Yes, there are things in life that we must endure that are all but unendurable, and yet I feel that there is a great goodness. Why, when there could have been nothing, is there something? How, when there could have been nothing, does it happen that there is love, kindness, beauty?” Program Note by David Maslanka

One Life Beautiful (2010)

Julie Giroux (b. 1961) | Duration: 6:00

“One Life Beautiful” - The title itself is a double-entendre which in one sense is referring to the person this work is dedicated to as in “one life” that was beautifully lived. The other sense is a direct observation concluding that having only one life is what makes life so sacred, tragic and so very precious. This is an impressionistic work musically describing that condition. Shakespeare’s “sweet sorrow”, the frailty and strength of life, the meaning of what it is to truly live One Life Beautiful. Program Notes from publisher.

Angels in the Architecture (2009)

Frank Ticheli (b. 1958) | Duration: 15:00

Angels in the Architecture was commissioned by Kingsway International and received its premiere performance at the Sydney Opera House on July 6, 2008, by a massed band of young musicians from Australia and the United States, conducted by Mathew George. The work unfolds as a dramatic conflict between the two extremes of human existence -- one divine, the other evil. The work's title is inspired by the Sydney Opera House itself, with its halo-shaped acoustical ornaments hanging directly above the performance stage. Angels in the Architecture begins with a single voice singing a 19th-century Shaker song:

I am an angel of Light

I have soared from above

I am cloth'd with Mother's love.

I have come, I have come.

To protect my chosen band

And lead them to the promised land.

This "angel" -- represented by the singer -- frames the work, surrounding it with a protective wall of light and establishing the divine. Other representations of light, played by instruments rather than sung, include a traditional Hebrew song of peace ("Hevenu Shalom Aleichem") and the well-known 16th-century Genevan Psalter, Old Hundredth. These three borrowed songs, despite their varied religious origins, are meant to transcend any one religion, representing the more universal human ideals of peace, hope, and love. An original chorale, appearing twice in the work, represents my own personal expression of these aspirations. Just as Charles Ives did more than a century ago, Angels in the Architecture poses the unanswered question of existence. It ends as it began: the angel reappears sings the same comforting words. But deep below, a final shadow reappears -- distantly, ominously.

Of Our New Day Begun (2016)

Omar Thomas (b. 1984) | Duration: 10:00

“Of Our New Day Begun” was written to honor nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015 while worshipping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (affectionately referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina. My greatest challenge in creating this work was walking the line between reverence for the victims and their families, and honoring my strong, bitter feelings towards both the perpetrator and the segments of our society that continue to create people like him. I realized that the most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from both sides of that line - embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims’ families. Historically, black Americans have, in great number, turned to the church to find refuge and grounding in the most trying of times. Thus, the musical themes and ideas for “Of Our New Day Begun” are rooted in the Black American church tradition. The piece is anchored by James and John Johnson’s time-honored song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (known endearingly as the “Negro National Anthem”), and peppered with blues harmonies and melodies. Singing, stomping, and clapping are also prominent features of this work, as they have always been a mainstay of black music traditions, and the inclusion of the tambourine in these sections is a direct nod to black worship services.

“Of Our New Day Begun” begins with a unison statement of a melodic cell from “Lift Every Voice….” before suddenly giving way to ghostly, bluesy chords in the horns and bassoons. This section moves to a dolorous and bitter dirge presentation of the anthem in irregularly shifting 12/8 and 6/8 meter, which grows in intensity as it offers fleeting glimmers of hope and relief answered by cries of blues-inspired licks. A maddening, ostinato-driven section representing a frustration and weariness that words cannot, grows into a group singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” fueled by the stomping and clapping reminiscent of the black church. In the latter half of the piece the music turns hopeful, settling into 9/8 time and modulating up a step during its ascent to a glorious statement of the final lines of “Lift Every Voice….” in 4/4, honoring the powerful display of humanity set forth by the families of the victims. There is a long and emotional decrescendo that lands on a pensive and cathartic gospel-inspired hymnsong. Returning to 9/8 time, the piece comes to rest on a unison F that grows from a very distant hum to a thunderous roar, driven forward by march-like stomping to represent the ceaseless marching of black Americans towards equality.

Conductor Biographies

Dr. Anthony C. Marinello, III serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Bands at Illinois State University where he is the conductor and music director of the Illinois State University Wind Symphony. In addition to overseeing all aspects of the wind band program, he leads the graduate program in wind conducting and teaches undergraduate courses in instrumental conducting. As conductor of the Illinois State University Wind Symphony, Dr. Marinello has collaborated with numerous esteemed colleagues and composers including William Bolcom, Steven Bryant, Donald Grantham, and Chen Yi. He is also active in the commissioning and performing new works for wind band including a recent commission, world premiere, and subsequent recording of Come Sunday for wind ensemble by composer Omar Thomas.

He joined the faculty at Illinois State University after serving at The University of Texas at Austin as the Assistant Director of the Longhorn Band and Director of the Longhorn Pep Band. Prior to his appointment at The University of Texas, Marinello served on the faculty of Virginia Tech as Assistant Director of Athletic Bands. Marinello has previously taught in the public schools of Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas and remains committed to serving the music education community as an active guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. Dr. Marinello has been inducted into Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts Service Initiative Award, the Illinois State University College of Fine Arts Research Initiative Award, the Illinois State University New Faculty Start-up Award, The Eyes of Texas Excellence Award, and the Delta Omicron Music Professor of the Year Award at Virginia Tech. He has received invitations to participate in the National Band Association’s International Conductor’s Symposium in Rome, Italy, the West Point Conducting Workshop, and the National Band Association’s Young Conductor Mentor Project.

Dr. Marinello holds memberships in the College Band Directors National Association, the National Association for Music Education, Tau Beta Sigma, Kappa Kappa Psi, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Marinello holds the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Louisiana State University, the Master of Music Degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from The University of Texas at Austin.