March Hare, March There, March Madness Everywhere!


March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb.
Beware the Ides of March.
March madness.
March upstairs to your room and think about what you did.
So many Marches—so little time.


The word March lives in so many expressions, as does the musical form of the march itself. The Central Kentucky Concert Band (CKCB) will be exploring the many faces of the march at 3 PM on March 6 at Transylvania University’s Haggin Auditorium. Among the many selections the band will present will be Ives’ “’Country Band’ March” which imagines a pastiche of many turn-of-the-century marches in a kaleidoscope of whirling chords and melodies—many playing at the same time. Contrasting with that selection would be Gould’s “American Salute” which features the melody “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” Mozart’s “Masonic Funeral Music” provides a quiet, introspective march where the beat flows quietly along. Sure to be an audience favorite will be John Williams’ themes from “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Star Wars,” and the “Olympic Fanfare and Theme.”

Offering some explanation of the forms, CKCB band conductor Dr. Ben Hawkins of Transylvania University says, “Most people, Americans, anyway, immediately link the notion of a “march” to Sousa. But marches come from everywhere and every time. They are used for many purposes, from mourning to civic celebration, and even to war. Even the three marches in the Williams’ medley display that variety.”

Also providing contrast not only to the form of the march, but to the presentation of the band form itself will be the very special guest of the band—the March Madness Marching Band (MMMB). Based in Lexington, the MMMB is an explosion and celebration of color and musical sounds. Several members of the MMMB are in the Central Kentucky Concert Band. Among them are long-time members of each band Fernie Williams and Beth Kraemer.

“For me,” Says Williams, “the Central Kentucky Concert Band and MMMB fill two distinct roles in my musical life. Each is unique and special in its own way. CKCB offers standard literature that I can learn, be challenged by and grow as a musician. This can range from Wagner to Grainger to Holst. MMMB has a dynamic and ever-changing list of music we perform—from Zappa to the Talking Heads to a Haitian anthem.”

Says Kraemer, “As an amateur, I appreciate the variety of musical opportunities we have in Lexington. CKCB and MMMB are on opposite sides of the spectrum in some ways, but for me they complement each other perfectly. The different music and performance styles, learning new musical pieces, and connecting with the wonderful musicians in each group are experiences that have really changed me.”

Kraemer notes, “Even the horizons of my wardrobe have been expanded and now cover the full range from concert black to sequins and tutus!”

Admission to the concert is free.