The WSC band students traveled to Lincoln on Oct. 2 to watch the “The President’s Own” Marine Band, directed by Jason K. Fettig, opened the season with the first concert of the year. The concert included many songs, ranging from patriotic anthems to a “Star Wars” song. The band also included a multitude of songs dedicated to John Philip Sousa, who was the 17th band director of “The President’s Own.”
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and it was really neat to listen to the best musicians in the country,” said JoAnn Lundahl, a junior at WSC.
The band opened the concert with a march titled “University of Nebraska,” which was composed by John Philip Sousa. This song was composed when Sousa first came to the University to direct “The President’s Own.” The first half of the concert also included works from Leonard Bernstein, a clarinet soloist performed a piece by Frank Ticheli that showed off his extraordinary talents on the instrument. The first half ended with a piece composed by David Maslanka.
“[The concert] was very exciting and it was interesting to listen to the clarinet soloist perform because he had such a high range on the instrument,” said Melanie Schutte, a freshman at WSC.
“The Adventures of Han” from “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” composed by John Williams, was the opening for the second half. Following the opening was a performance of pieces by Sergei Prokofiev, a famous Russian composer, from “Romeo and Juliet.”
Next was a piece composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from “The Marriage of Figaro,” which included a solo from a vocalist. This was followed by three patriotic pieces that the audience could get involved in concluded the concert. “America, the Beautiful” composed by Samuel Augustus Ward, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” composed by John Philip Sousa, preceded the concert’s finale: “A Salute to the Armed Forces of the United States of America” arranged by Thomas Knox. Members of the audience stood up to as a tribute to family members or friends that served in the U.S. military as the song was performed.
The students of WSC enjoyed this experience watching some of the best instrumental players in the country. The soloists in a few of the songs demonstrated how hard work and practice can pay off in the end. Upon the many hours of practicing day in and day out for this tour and other Presidential events, “The President’s Own” is ready for its 2018 tour.