The Washington Wind Symphony presents “soUSA” on Saturday, May 25th!

This Memorial Day, Americans will once again pay tribute to the selfless patriots who gave their lives to retain our freedom. To help honor their memory, we’ll present a unique program featuring a diverse collection of all-American music, with a special salute to America’s Military March King, John Philip Sousa. Join the Washington Wind Symphony as music director Jacob Scherr conducts this program by American composers–including a world premiere by one of our own!

The marches:

“Review” by John Philip Sousa, (ed. Gay Corie) – This was Sousa’s first march, published in 1873. He dedicated it to Colonel William G. Moore of the Washington Light Infantry.

“The Pathfinder of Panama (1915)” by John Philip Sousa – One of twelve marches Sousa composed for various expositions or fairs, “The Pathfinder of Panama” was dedicated to the Panama Canal and the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915. 

“The Circumnavigators Club” by John Philip Sousa – This march was played for the Circumnavigators Club at their annual meeting on December 10, 1931, with Sousa as one of their honored guests. It was wildly applauded.

Additional featured selections:

“Chester” by William Schuman – based on a hymn written by the early New England composer William Billings (1746-1800), American composer Schuman originally wrote Chester for orchestra, then re-worked the piece for concert band. This work quickly became a popular marching song in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and was often played on the march by the Continental Army’s fifes and drums.

“Variations on a Shaker Melody (from Appalachian Spring)” by Aaron Copland – The ballet Appalachian Spring tells the story of a newlywed couple living on a pioneer settlement in Pennsylvania during the 1800s. The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, a fundamentalist Protestant religious sect, were known as “Shakers” due to the ecstatic nature of their worship services. Strict believers in celibacy, Shakers acquired their members through conversion. This musical excerpt from the ballet is recognizable as the tune for the song “Lord of the Dance.”

“Four Cinematic Scenes” by Ray Heraty – You won’t hear this piece anywhere else (yet)! Be there to experience the world premiere of this exciting composition, penned by a member of our trumpet section. Ray’s “original movie music” consists of four expressive movements that evoke a range of beautiful aural moods and emotions. And who knows…there may even be dragons!

“Requiem for the Unarmed” by Kevin Day – From the composer: “Requiem for the Unarmed is my musical response to the death of George Floyd and to Black lives lost due to racial injustice in the United States. This piece is meant to be a memorial to those lives lost and is my plea and prayer. May this happen no more.”

“Variations on ‘America'” by Charles Ives, (orch. William Schuman; trans. William E. Rhoades) – Sometimes described as witty and irreverent, Ives composed this popular tune in 1891 when he was just 17 by taking liberties with My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” the de facto anthem of the United States at the time. Listen for the effect of two separate ensembles playing simultaneously, plus themes of patriotism and a sense of playfulness and optimism. 

“Come Sunday” by Omar Thomas – A trombonist from fourth grade through college, Thomas visualized this piece as two-movement tribute to the Hammond organ‘s central role in Black worship services. The composer explains: “The first movement, Testimony, follows the Hammond organ as it readies the congregation’s hearts, minds, and spirits to receive The Word via a magical union of Bach, blues, jazz, and R&B. The second movement, Shout!, is a virtuosic celebration – the frenzied and joyous climactic moment(s) when The Spirit has taken over the service. The title is a direct nod to Duke Ellington, who held an inspired love for classical music and allowed it to influence his own work in a multitude of ways.”

With so much inspiring American wind band music packed into one performance, this concert can only be described as, “So USA”! Be sure to buy tickets in advance, or go to our website to reserve your comfortable seat in the Robertson Performing Arts Center. Be sure to visit any of our social media pages to Like, Subscribe, and Share to help us spread the word!


Adults: $15.00 | Senior: $10.00 | Students/Youth: FREE


Robertson Performing Arts Center @ Redmond High School

17272 NE 104th St, Redmond, WA 98052