2014 Program – Promise: An American Portrait
Lincoln Portrait by Copland, Aaron
Symphony No. 3 by Copland, Aaron
Red Pony by Copland, Aaron
Swing, Swing, Swing by Williams, John
Music from the soundtrack “Pollock” by Beal, Jeff
In 2004, a rule was passed in DCI which allowed member corps to use amplified voice for the first time. George Hopkins, the director of the Cadets since 1983, was a major proponent of this rule. One of the examples he gave was the ability for corps to REALLY perform Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, something which corps like the Troopers, Boston Crusaders, and even the Cadets in the 70’s had done, but the focus was primarily on the first third of the piece before the spoken word segment began. With narration, Hopkins believed the full grandeur of Copland’s composition could come to realization on the field.
It’s been 10 years and nobody, not even the Cadets, has attempted Lincoln Portrait in any fashion during that time period. Until now.
Promise: An American Portrait, the Cadets’ 2014 program, begins with Lincoln Portrait and a focus on Lincoln himself, and will feature at least some of the words which famous voices such as James Earl Jones and Henry Fonda have performed along with the music. As the show concept grew throughout the winter months, however, the focus expanded from one American president to three. As Hopkins himself states:
As the show takes us through that “Hope and Promise of America” from Lincoln’s time, through Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, and finally to JFK, the music flows with the current. In fact, the Cadets could even add another Roosevelt to the mix during “Swing, Swing, Swing” as that selection evokes the World War II era and the associated presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. As somebody who led the country through both the Great Depression and WWII, FDR (who also fits the unofficial requirement of three initialed presidents for this show) also embodies the qualities of hope and promise from a time when both were in very short supply.
The Cadets have long done well with contemporary American composers, especially Copland and Williams, and Pollock soundtrack composer Jeff Beal is a strong addition to that group. Beal, who is currently known for the soundtrack to the Netflix hit series House of Cards, captures not only the eccentric artist the movie was based on but also the times he comes from. It will be interesting to see (and hear) what narration is interwoven with this piece, as well as throughout the entire show.