Keith Brion and his New Sousa Band, will open the 86th season of the Brown County Civic Music AssociationonFriday, October 5, with a concert commemorating the life and times of John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), the composer and conductor known as the March King. In the tradition of Sousa’s band concerts, the program will include a mixture of light classics, novelties, and instrumental and vocal solos along with well-known Sousa marches. A note here: Sousa concerts were never all marches!
The musicians of the New Sousa Band are chosen for their ability to transmit the original excitement, style, spirit and ensemble sound of Sousa’s Band. They are selected nationally from major orchestras, military bands, university faculties and freelance musicians. The band wears authentic replicas of the original Sousa Band uniforms. The New Sousa Band has adopted many of the original period instruments including saxophones from the 1920’s, cornets, smaller trombones and baritone horns, the upright bell sousaphones (designed for Sousa) and a period snare drum.
Keith Brion, former Director of Bands at Yale University, maintains an active career as an orchestra conductor and is currently recording the complete band music of Sousa. Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever, composed in 1896, isthe official National March. [Sousa’s band performed in Green Bay six times between 1898 and 1928.]
Concerts begin at 7:30 pm in the Ralph Holter Auditorium at Green Bay West High. Auditorium doors open at 7:00. All concerts are open seating. Tickets are available for this concert as well as for the five-concert season online, by mail, or at the door. Tickets for the Sousa concert: $25 adults, $10 students (kindergarten through college). Tickets for the 5-concert series: $80 adults, $25 students. All tickets purchased less than two weeks prior to the first concert will be held at “Will call” in the lobby. For more info, call the Civic Music office at 338-1801.
Keith Brion, Music Director of his own New Sousa Band, has appeared as a frequent guest conductor with the nearly all of America’s major symphony orchestras and professional bands. His New Sousa Band, begun in 1979, is a realization of Mr. Brion’s dream to reincarnate the Sousa Band and once again tour America’s towns and cities.
Keith Brion and his New Sousa Band have toured extensively in the Eastern, Midwestern and the Southeastern United States. The band made their first overseas tour to Japan in August 1996. In November 1993, the band played its first theatrical engagement with a one week appearance at the Christie Lane Theatre in Branson, MO. They have appeared regularly in every section of the United States. In 2000 they were presented by the Minnesota Orchestra and in May 2002 appeared for an entire week on the Seattle Symphony pops series. The band performed in 2009 for the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and in Dec./Jan. 2010-11 toured six major cities in China.
The musicians of the New Sousa Band are chosen for their ability to transmit the original excitement, style, spirit and ensemble sound of the Sousa’s Band. They are selected nationally from major orchestras, military bands, university faculties and freelance musicians. The band wears authentic replicas of the original Sousa Band uniforms. They assemble several times each year to concertize.
The band uses the early 20th century performance style, and inflections of and the special march orchestrations of Sousa’s original band. They have also adopted many of the original period instruments including saxophones from the 1920s, cornets, smaller trombones and baritone horns, the unique upright bell sousaphones used by Sousa’s Band and a period snare drum.
Mr. Brion and his band appeared in a 1986 PBS TV special The New Sousa Band On Stage at Wolftrap, now released as a video and as a laserdisc by Proscenium Entertainment. Excerpts from this show appear from time to time on the Classic Arts Channel. Mr. Brion has also been seen in the PBS-TV special on the American Experience “If You Knew Sousa” and has been seen on BBC TV London in a new show called “Sousa in New York.”
His recordings with his New Sousa Band include The Original, All-American, SOUSA! on Delos Records and the Sousa Legacy for Bainbridge Records, recorded with the Rochester Philharmonic and the New Sousa Band. He has recorded Percy Grainger-To the Fore! with the Michigan State Band for Delos Records and the Wind Music of Alan Hovhaness forMace with trumpeter Gerard Schwarz. Mr. Brion recorded a second all-Hovhaness recording, “Star Dawn,” with the Ohio State Band and trombonist Christian Lindberg and a third for Naxos with trumpeter John Wallace. A fourth recording with the Trinity College of Music Wind Orchestra on Naxos will appear in 2011 for the Hovhaness centennial year. He has also three volumes of Sousa orchestral music as well as CD’s of the music of Percy Grainger and Victor Herbert. Mr. Brion is currently recording the complete band music of Sousa with London’s Royal Artillery Band, and the Royal Norwegian Navy Band, also for Naxos. Ten volumes of the sixteen volume series have already been recorded.
In addition to leading the New Sousa Band, Mr. Brion maintains an active career as an orchestra conductor. He is actively presenting his popular Sousa revival concerts with orchestras such as the Boston Pops, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Utah, Minnesota and Milwaukee symphonies, his overseas orchestral engagements have included the London Concert Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, and the Gothenburg Symphony.
Mr. Brion has been a frequent guest conductor of professional bands among which are the Stockholm Symphonic Wind Orchestra, Royal Swedish Naval Band, Royal Norwegian Naval Band, New York City’s Goldman Band, and the Allentown Band. He has also appeared with most of the major service bands, including the U.S. Marine Band, Army Band, Army Field Band, West Point Band, Coast Guard Band, the U.S. Army Band of Europe in Heidelberg, Germany, etc. University and school band appearances have included Florida State, Michigan State, University of Texas, Ohio State, and the University of Iowa, plus the National Music Camp at Interlochen.
Keith Brion is a former Director of Bands at Yale University, where he led the Yale Band in concerts at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and in an all-Ives program at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Prior to coming to Yale, he was the founder and music director of the North Jersey Wind Symphony and a longtime band educator and music supervisor in the New Jersey public schools.
He has published over thirty editions for band, including the music of Charles Ives, Percy Grainger, John Philip Sousa and D.W. Reeves, and is the author of numerous articles. This includes a series of twenty two Sousa publications collaboration with Loras Schissel, curator of the Sousa collection at the Library of Congress and a current series of New Sousa Band Editions.
Mr. Brion’s library and offices are located at Erector Square in New Haven, CT. To contact via e-mail write to WillowBlos@aol.com. The web address for the New Sousa Band is newsousaband.com
Soprano Maribeth Crawford
Maribeth Crawford received her Bachelors in Vocal Performance at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. While at Mississippi College, Mrs. Crawford sang the roles of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, and Alice Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Mrs. Crawford holds a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. At the conservatory, she sang the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel and Virginia Poe in the collegiate premiere of Argento’s The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. She is currently working on her DMA in Vocal Performance at the College Conservatory of Music
As a young artist, Maribeth has worked with Opera in the Ozarks at Inspiration Point where she sang the roles of Musetta in La Boheme, Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos, and the Princess and the Nightingale in L’Enfant et les Sortileges. She has performed with the Lebanon Symphony Orchestra as the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah and with the Bowling Green Symphony Orchestra as Rosalia in Westside Story. She was also a young artist with the Natchez Festival of Music. Most recently, Mrs. Crawford sang the role of Peaches in Jerry Spring the Opera and Mrs. Nordstrom in A Little Night Music with Cincinnati’s New Stage Collective. In addition to being an active performer, Mrs. Crawford is a music educator. She is currently a faculty member of Central State University and Cincinnati State Community College. She has worked with Cincinnati Opera’s Educational outreach and is an active member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Mrs. Crawford resides in downtown Cincinnati with her husband.