July 4th Special
July 4, 2023
The Poetry Foundation describes Walt Whitman as America’s world poet – putting him into the same group of poets like Homer, Shakespeare, and others that came long before Whitman himself. Living from 1819 to 1892, Whitman witnessed and documented in his writing a rapidly changing America, including the Civil War. In fact, during the Civil War, Whitman would visit wounded soldiers in his spare time, helping dress their wounds and offering them what solace he could. It’s no surprise, then, that many American composers were inspired to set text by Whitman.
On a special Arizona Encore for the Fourth of July, we’ll hear a few such works by composers like Charles Ives, Leonard Bernstein, and others. And we’ll be celebrating Independence Day with a program full of great American composers and music, like the American Overture for Band by Joseph Willcox Jenkins from a 2018 performance by the United States Army Field Band when they stopped by the Chandler Center for the Arts; works by Aaron Copland performed at the 2019 College Band Directors National Association conference in Tempe; and two selections by John Williams that he scored for films about iconic moments in American history.