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News 'Stars, Stripes, Sousa'

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UD Wind Ensemble performs traditional marches at patriotic concert

Rodney Miller, as John Philip Sousa, leads the University of Delaware Wind Ensemble in a patriotic performance of Sousa marches.

It was “Star, Stripes, and Sousa!” at the University of Delaware on Saturday, May 9, when families, students and other guests enjoyed a patriotic-themed afternoon outside at UD’s first Sousa concert.

Starting at 3 p.m. on the lawn between the Roselle Center for the Arts and the Amy E. du Pont Music Building, UD’s Wind Ensemble performed a concert complete with acclaimed Sousa enthusiast Rodney Miller as the conductor. 

The scene was picturesque with families and students spread out across the grass in lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Volunteers handed out miniature American flags to everyone. 

The hot afternoon made the UDairy Creamery Moo Mobile a popular attraction as guests enjoyed the concert with ice cream cones in one hand, and the small flags in the other. 

There was plenty of toe tapping and flag waving as the marching music concert took place.

Chad Nicholson, assistant professor of music and director of the UD Wind Ensemble, opened the show by telling the audience about the excitement of Sousa concerts, a tradition that honors American composer John Philip Sousa. 

Sousa is famous for composing the greatest number of marches that stood the test of time, and he’s commonly referred to as America’s “March King.” He was also known for his devoted patriotism.

Members of the military attending the concert were saluted during the performance.

UD’s concert stayed true to the style of traditional Sousa concerts, using placards to announce each song instead of program guides. Guest artists included Bruce Tychinski, UD associate professor of music and an acclaimed trombonist, who was featured as a soloist. 

Guests of all ages expressed enthusiasm for the show. Reasons for attending varied, but many in the audience made the concert a family event.

“I thought it’d be fun to bring my grandson,” said Joan Crossman. “The weather’s perfect and the music’s great.”

Others said they learned about the event from the concert’s co-sponsor, the UD Community Music School.  

“It’s especially good to see the spirit of America here because you don’t always get to see that a lot,” said a father who brought his two young children.

In keeping with the patriotic nature, the concert began with the national anthem. There was also a tribute to any attending veterans, and toward the end of the performance each military branch was acknowledged in song.

Miller entertained the crowd from start to finish, wearing a red uniform and resembling the real John Philip Sousa, complete with the composer’s memorable beard and mustache. 

Miller is the director of Port Clinton City Schools’ bands in Ohio and has taught music for 27 years. He is also a frequent guest clinician, conductor and speaker throughout the United States. He hosts leadership workshops for various high schools, colleges, organizations and Fortune 500 companies.

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A traditional family concert with a patriotic theme was held outdoors at UD on May 9 when the Wind Ensemble performed classic Sousa marches.

A traditional family concert with a patriotic theme was held outdoors on the University campus May 9 when the UD Wind Ensemble performed "Stars, Stripes and Sousa," an assortment of classic marches.

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  • School of Music
  • Amy E. du Pont Music Building
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2578