American Fanfare Program

Choral Artists of Sarasota
Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble
July 4, 2021
Sarasota Opera House
2:30 PM

Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble
Joe Miller, Conductor

National Anthem
Bennett’s Triumphal March
American Overture for Band
Hands Across the Sea
Americans We 
On the Mall
American Patro

Francis Scott Key
Melvin H. Ribble
Joseph Willcox Jenkins
John Philip Sousa
Henry Fillmore
Edwin Franko Goldman
Frank W. Meacham

Choral Artists of Sarasota
Joseph Holt, conductor
Susan Versage, pianist

An American Celebration
This is a Great Country

This is my Country
You’re a Grand Old Flag
Lift Every Voice for Freedom
My Country, ‘Tis of Thee
Lift Every Voice and Sing

If I Can Help Somebody (Rebecca Stracener, soloist)
Take Care of this House
Ballad for Americans (John Whittlesey, soloist)

arr. Brent Adams
Irving Berlin
Al Jacobs and Don Raye
George M. Cohan
arr. Moses Hogan
Samuel Francis Smith and Thesaurus Musicus
James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson
Alma Bazel Androzzo
Leonard Bernstein
John LaTouche and Earl Robinson

Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble & Choral Artists

Armed Forces Salute
Battle Hymn of the Republic
God Bless America

arr. Bob Lowden
Julia Ward Howe, arr. Peter Wilhousky
Irving Berlin

Program Notes

For Americans, July 4th is a day of celebration and commemoration of the revolutionary beginnings of the great experiment that is the United States of America. One very important facet of that commemoration is the 245 years of music it has inspired, ranging from patriotic hymns and the martial strains of military bands to the beauty of meaningful song lyrics about our responsibilities as caretakers of our people and our country. The concert you will hear this July 4 will enrich your life with musical selections that reflect this long tradition. The Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble will begin the concert, followed by the Choral Artists of Sarasota, and ending with the combined forces of the Wind Ensemble and the Choral Artists.

john phillip sousa
John Philip Sousa

Many composers have expressed their own patriotism through their compositions. Music by bandleader and composer John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), “The March King,” is presented twice in this afternoon performance. The final piece on the concert is The Stars and Stripes Forever, probably Sousa’s most well-known work, which is enjoyed greatly by audiences (who get to clap along!). One very unusual section of this exciting and uplifting music is the moment the piccolos are featured in what is called a “countermelody” – a second tune that compliments and harmonizes with a melody played by the rest of the band.

Sousa was a violinist who also studied music theory and composition. His father enlisted him in the United States Marine Band as an apprentice in 1868. He left the band in 1875, and over the next five years he performed as a violinist and learned to conduct. In 1880 he rejoined the Marine Band, and he served there for 12 years as director. After retirement from the military, he organized a band that toured for many years, bringing his music to big cities and small towns in the United States and Europe. From 1880 until his death, he focused exclusively on conducting and writing music. Sousa aided in the development of the sousaphone, the large brass tuba that marching bands players carry over their shoulders. The instrument has a forward-facing bell, so it can be heard in the last row of the audience!

The Stars and Stripes Forever was composed on Christmas Day, 1896, to celebrate the life of a Sousa Band manager. The march was premiered in May of the following year. Ninety years later (1987), an Act of Congress adopted The Stars and Stripes Forever as the National March of the United States of America.

hands across the sea

Sarasota is a former “circus city,” and there is a circus-related story about this famous march. A circus band has several functions—primarily to entertain and excite the spectators, but also to help synchronize the acts. Their most critical and unusual role is in signaling the entire circus company with the “Disaster March”—The Stars and Stripes Forever. If you were a circus performer or worker in the early 20th century and you heard the band suddenly shift into this familiar march, you would know that there was a life-threatening emergency, like a fire or a serious accident. This “early warning system” gave the opportunity for circus personnel to organize the exit of the audience (calmly and without panic, theoretically!). The march was only used for this purpose and was never played at any other time.

The other Sousa march on our concert is Hands Across the Sea. Written in 1899, the march premiered in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music. The audience was so charmed by it that they insisted on two “encore playings.” Sousa addressed the march to “no particular nation, but to all of America’s friends abroad.” Additionally, on the cover of the sheet music Sousa quoted English diplomat John Hookman Frere: “A sudden thought strikes me—let us swear eternal friendship.” Hands Across the Sea was composed following the Spanish-America War.

Two other marches in the instrumental opening of our concert may be familiar to many: Americans We and On the Mall. These compositions are by two of the next generation of band composers, Henry Fillmore (1881-1956), and Edwin Franko Goldman (1878-1956), both highly respected members of the composer/bandleader community in the first half of the 20th century.

Moses Hogan
Moses Hogan

In the Choral Artists selections, we also find familiar American composers, including Irving Berlin (1888-1989), George M. Cohan (1878-1942), and Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), all famed for their work on Broadway. Distinguished African-American composers Moses Hogan (1957-2003), James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), and J. Rosemond Johnson (1873-1954) are also represented. The familiar gospel/pop song ,“If I Can Help Somebody” by Alma Bazel Androzzo (1912-2001) will be performed for you as well.

For many people, Irving Berlin’s body of work embodied all that was admirable about America. His song God Bless America is considered a “second” national anthem by many.

James Weldon Johnson
James Weldon Johnson

You will also hear the much less familiar Berlin song “This is a Great Country,” which is from Irving Berlin’s, Mr. President. This musical, Berlin’s last one, ran for 265 performances on Broadway in 1962. The hit Broadway shows of 1962 were Oliver (from London), along with Stephen Sondheim’s first success as composer as well as lyricist, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and also from England, Stop the World—I Want to Get Off, written (with Leslie Bricusse), directed, and starring Anthony Newley.

Leonard Bernstein

Against such competition, Mr. President was deemed “too old-fashioned and out-of-date,” although the quality of the music was praised. President and Mrs. Kennedy attended one evening, but were called away mid-performance. In a note to Berlin, the Kennedys described Mr. President as “a hit,” although it is suspected that the subject matter was especially appealing to them. In retirement, former President Truman attended as well, but had an attack of appendicitis and was taken to the hospital at intermission. Overall, the production of Mr. President was not blessed with luck!

The lyrics to “This is a Great Country” are a frank request for a return to old-fashioned patriotism, not necessarily a popular concept in 1962, but perhaps more understandable today. It was recorded by Bing Crosby and by Frank Sinatra, both of whom had success with the song on the radio.

Choral Artists of Sarasota
Joseph Holt, artistic director
Susan Versage, pianist


Trine Bolling
Kiran Kimbell
Lauren Krockta
Joy Leitner
Gina Novotne
McKenzie Pollock
Michaela Ristaino*
Nicole Smith+
Maya Stevenson
Rebecca Stracener


Baron Garriott*
Bill Krockta
Nicholas Masiello**
Steven Phillips
Jonatan Rodriguez
Zachary Stockman
Thomas Tryon


Hannah Boyd*
Joan Campbell
Lizabeth Flood
Sharon Greene
Karen Olson^
Stephanie Schulman
Teia Watson**


Timothy Garrett
Kevin Moroney**
Timothy O’Connor*
Gene Stracener
James Taylor
John Whittlesey
Kyle Wiskow

*Section Leader
+Chorus Manager
**Apprentice Singer

Lakewood Ranch Wind Ensemble
Joe Miller, conductor


Beth Morrison


Vic Mongillo
Joseph Martinez
James Hill
Bill Karow


Karen Romig
Thomas Bancroft


Michelle Nicolette
Stephanie Daige


Robert Richards
Kristine Marsh


Gayle Heskett
Beth Miller Hulbert

French Horn

James Bertrand
Tina Stephanz
Karen Bowles
Sandy Petersen


Robert Felman
Paula Rothman
Susan Custer
Michael Drapkin
Linda Spinella
Robert Notari


Donald Parker
John Cooley
James Marshall


Robert Medlin
Alejandro Guardia

Bass Clarinet

Leslie Kraus

Alto Sax

Pete BerenBregge


Richard Gans
James Damoulakis

Tenor Sax

Ellen Saxton


Andrew Trapani
Jim Roytz
Lynn Cleary

Baritone Sax

Melvin Davis