Anchored by Paul Hindemith's Symphony in B-flat, written in 1951 specifically for "Pershing's Own" at the request of Lt. Col. Hugh Curry, the program also features works by award-winning American composer Michael Daugherty, Grammy winner and electronic music artist Mason Bates, and more.
The final piece on Saturday night's program will be the world premiere of Love and Light by Baltimore-based composer Brian Balmages. The piece was commissioned by "Pershing's Own" in memory of Madison Hope Elliott, the daughter of conductor 1st Lt. Elizabeth Elliott. Madison was born without a heartbeat on November 8, 2018, and the piece represents not only a memorial to Madison, but as a way to find comfort through music after a painful loss. After reaching out to several composers, Lt. Elliott found Brian Balmages to be the most understanding of the gravity of the piece and how healing it could be for families who experience the loss of an infant.
"We heard from people all of the country and the world who wanted to be part of it [the commission]. Once we saw the overwhelming response, my first reaction was a sense of responsibility to all of those families to whom this mattered so much, to make this project the best it could possibly be. After speaking to Col. Andrew Esch at The U.S. Army Band, he graciously agreed that 'Pershing's Own' had to be the group to premiere it," said Lt. Elliott. "I am so thankful for all the people who made this possible. To Brian - who really spent a lot of time preparing his heart to be ready to write this piece, to Col. Esch for being so open to this project, to Rachel Maxwell (who hosted the 501c3 nonprofit to help us fund this project), to all of the family, friends and parents that joined this consortium and saw its importance, and of course to the incredibly talented and warm musicians of 'Pershing's Own' for their openness to this vision."
Saturday's concert at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Virginia, is free, but tickets are required. Visit www.usarmyband.com for ticket information. The performance will be live web broadcast at www.facebook.com/usarmyband.
Free parking is available on the campus of Northern Virginia Community College.