March the Eighteenth

Concert march in the tradition of Sousa but with some unexpected twists. Begins in a fiery, dramatic mood reminiscent of Kozhevnikov or Shostakovich, and ends with the connotation of a fun day at the fair. Also available for concert band and orchestra.

Brass Quintet | Grade 5 | 3:30

Performance materials are available for purchase:

Demo is of the orchestral version.

About the piece

​I originally wrote March the Eighteenth for brass quintet while studying at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. The inspiration for both the name and the form came from the occasion of the premiere: a trumpet recital on March 18th, 2012.

Likewise, the tongue-in-cheek title anticipates the nature of the piece: a clear homage to the classic march form perfected by Sousa and his contemporaries, but simultaneously a departure from tradition with its sardonic jabs and grand, symphonic gestures. The influence of Russian composers such as Kozhevnikov and Shostakovich can also be heard, especially throughout the first half of the piece. A final key objective in my process was to give each instrument a piece of the melody, including the horn and tuba, whose roles in a march are typically more rhythmic in nature.

I arranged the piece for concert band at the University of New Hampshire, under the mentorship of Andrew Boysen, Jr. This version called for new countermelodies in the upper woodwinds, expanded harmonies throughout the ensemble, and of course the ubiquitous rhythms of the battery percussion. A soprano sax features in the second strain, and the low woodwinds join the tubas on melody in the trio. With the full array of the band, the final strain evokes images of a carousel and a fun day at the fair.

The concert band edition of March the Eighteenth was premiered on February 25th, 2015 by the University of New Hampshire Wind Ensemble, Andrew Boysen, Jr. conducting.