Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
Conflict between the colonies and England was already a year old when the colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. In a June 7 session in the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the famous words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
Lee’s words were the impetus for the drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence, although the resolution was not followed up on immediately.
On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress reconvened, and on the following day, the Lee Resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, New York not voting. The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late afternoon of July 4, when the Declaration was officially adopted. Of the 13 colonies, nine voted in favor of the Declaration, two — Pennsylvania and South Carolina — voted No, Delaware was undecided and New York abstained. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. It is said that John Hancock’s signed his name “with a great flourish” so England’s “King George can read that without spectacles!”
An honor guard stands next to the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at the National Archives in Washington, D. C. Photo: CNN
America is the greatest nation on the planet. And it has the music to match. This week, it’s all about patriotic music to get you in the mood for the big birthday.
The Summer Olympics begin three weeks from today. COVID-19 prompted the cancellation of the games last year.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from July 23 to August 8, 2021, and the Paralympic Games will follow, running from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
We open with a clip from the 2009 Mountbatten Festival of Music in the iconic Royal Albert Hall, London, and The Royal Marines Band Service.
Which country is the most successful at the Olympic Games?
According to topendsports.com, the US has clearly won the most gold medals and the most medals overall, nearly doubling the next ranked country (these figures include medals won in Rio 2016, updated April 2021).
Including all medals:
Soviet Union: 1122
Next, one of the most recognizable musical pieces ever, by one of America’s most famous composers. Some of Aaron Copland’s most famous works are his ballets including “Rodeo” that celebrates the American West.
In 1928 Copland composed music for a story about a cowgirl who dresses as a cowboy to impress the head wrangler on the ranch. But she found herself competing with visiting city girls for the attention of the local cowboys, especially the head wrangler. From the ballet “Hoe-down” has a dynamic start, demonstrating the cowgirl’s transformation. She puts aside her cowgirl clothes and is now the prettiest girl around. Happy ending as the cowgirl fins her man, the right man. Not the snooty head wrangler, but another cowboy who is kind and respectful.
Copland’s take on the American square dance debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House on October 16, 1942. Reportedly there were 22 curtain calls.
The narrator was the legendary actor Robert Mitchum.
Next, you probably recognize this theme but may not know the title.
The tune “Colonel Bogey” was made famous in the British film “Bridge on the River Kwai.”
It was written by the bandmaster FJ Ricketts, who often wrote march tunes under the name of Kenneth Alford. Ricketts was the son of a Cockney coal merchant in Shadwell, in London’s East End, and when his parents died he was put into the army as a boy soldier and sent out to India.
When it became quite evident Ricketts possessed musical talent he was sent to the Army School of Music at Kneller Hall, Twickenham, and soon became bandmaster for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
The story goes that he wrote “Colonel Bogey” after playing golf with the colonel of his regiment at Fort St George in Scotland. Instead of shouting “Fore!”, his commanding officer would loudly whistle two notes to those playing ahead. Ricketts added more notes for the final tune. The title is a humorous reference to his colonel’s inability to score par on the golf course.
“Colonel Bogey” has been adopted by former POWs of the Japanese as a theme song.
Jack Kopstein, a Canadian musician and writer who spent 35 years of service as a musician and conductor in the Canadian Forces wrote “Colonel Bogey is arguably the most famous march ever written.”
Hmm. Wonder what John Philip Sousa would have said about that.