200 years of tradition
August 16, 2012
WASHINGTON (Aug. 14, 2012) -- Hundreds gathered on a warm summer evening to watch The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" perform Tchaikovsky's "Overture 1812" at Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds, Aug. 14.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Overture 1812" included explosive cannon fire by the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) that delighted the crowd from the diversified instruments to the melodies of the "Pershing's Own" vocal performances.
The annual musical spectacular was hosted by Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Joint Force Headquarters-Nation Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.
Both first time spectators and veteran performers loved being a part of this annual concert feature of classical, popular, and patriotic music for audiences of all ages.
Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull, JFHQ-NCR/MDW attended the concert for the first time and enjoyed all that it had to offer for military and civilian onlookers.
"I thought it was great!" said Turnbull. "The fact that it was not on an installation and civilians that have never seen the military perform could also enjoy this."
Staff Sgt. Martha C. Krabill, vocalist from The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" performed in a solo piece from a well-known Broadway production.
"I was so honored when I was informed that I was going to be a part of the "Overture 1812" concert," said Krabill. "I have never been on this particular concert. I was thrilled when the song,
'Popular' from the Broadway show 'Wicked' was chosen for me to perform as part of the historical concert."
Tchaikovsky, a Russian composer, had taken on symphonies, concertos, operas, ballets, and chamber music. Some of these are among the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical field.
Overture 1812 was composed for the 1880 Kremlin Square celebration honoring the Russian victory over the French Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812.
Today the overture is revered among concert goers--from its playful, mocking themes from the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, to the powerful finale with ringing church bells and booming cannons proclaiming victory.
"It was great to hear world class musicians from the piccolos to the chorus singers," said Turnbull. "I enjoyed the Presidential Salute Battery. They really fired up the crowd!"
"I think it is great that The U.S. Army Band has the 1812 concert every summer at the end of the Summer Concert Series," said Krabill. "I love all of the music; some old, some new and how it all ends with cannons being fired and the feeling of celebration and victory that just seems to fill the air. It is a very patriotic moment."
The polished French horns, golden harp, and the harmony of the Army Chorus Band were only a few of many ensembles that left a lasting impression on the visitors watching the concert.
"It was nice to hear some Soldiers from "Pershing's Own" get highlighted in many different segments," said Turnbull. "It's something they rarely get to do since they are usually a whole."
"There is something so cool about being a soloist with the Concert Band element and performing in front of so many people in our Nation's Capital," said Krabill. "And when The Old Guard sets off the cannons it gives me such a feeling of pride and patriotism."
The triumphant cannons that lit up the Nation's Capital and the voices of "Pershing's Own" supplied audience members with a vivid picture of the overture two hundred years later.
"I think it's our responsibility in the Army, to carry on the traditions of customs and courtesies," said Turnbull. "The "Overture 1812" concert can really renew your pride for the Army and your pride for our nation."
"What an incredible experience," said Krabill. "I think The U.S. Army Band has done an incredible job at maintaining the traditions of the concert and I hope it continues forever."