Ashland City Band


Composed by Norman F. Rowe

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The march contains numerous musical references to the band. Traditionally, the band begins its concerts with an arrangement of George Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band" and finishes its concerts with two John Philip Sousa marches. The march's introduction begins with references to "Strike Up The Band" and finishes with a modified Sousa march introduction.

The motif upon which the first strain is based contains the concert pitches A-C-Bb. Omitting the chromatic, the notes A-C-B provide the Ashland City Band's initials. By the ninth measure, the tonality has moved to the dominant and the restatement of the theme moves down one scale tone. However, for the Bb treble clef instruments playing the melody (clarinets and cornets) the melody now contains the written pitches A-C-B, continuing the motif.

The second strain's opening motif consists of the concert pitches D-B-D-B played by the trombones, euphonium, and tenor sax. These pitches stand for "Directed By Don Bieghler." The tenor sax plays these concert pitches, but its written pitches are "E-C-E-C" which describe Mr. Bieghler as an "Excellent Conductor, Everyone Concurs."

The Ashland City Band sports an exceptionally fine French horn section. The Trio section initially presents the horns as a quartet (doubled by the ACB's eight horns) accompanied by a bass line and snare drum tap-dancing on the rim. The second time through, each of the horn parts splits at the octave and the result is an eight-part horn choir, allowing them to sing, soar, and shine! The bells also contribute a little added sparkle. In fact, throughout this march the horn section is spared their usual consignment to afterbeats. The ACB horn section contains just too much talent and ability to be relegated to the relative obscurity of that boring chore. The afterbeats occur elsewhere and in a somewhat obscured fashion.

The "dog fight" section results in a "band fight." The voicing of the warring factions pits the instruments on the left side of the band "against" the instruments on the right side of the band. In the repeat of the "band fight" the notes are the same but the parts are reversed.

Following the first "fight" comes the first rendition of the final strain. The initial melodic material is a rhythmic variation of the opening motif. The "doodles" over the long notes refer directly back to the opening motif. This section contains the melody and a harmony line (with "doodles" in some parts), a bass line, and some rhythmic accompaniment filling out the harmony. After the second "fight" follows the reprise complete with additional "doodling," a counter-melody, and trumpet fanfares. In the final measure the band states its musical initials - A-C-B - one last time in full unison with the drums and cymbals adding an exclamation point.

The score and parts may be obtained from Talent Music Publishers for $45.00 plus shipping.

To listen to an MP3 file of the August 7, 2008, performance, click here.

You may also view the performance on two videos:
Just the music:
The music with spoken introduction and annotations:

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