“Under American Skies” Premiere Closes Out University’s 2013 American Music Month Celebration

The Sousa Archives’ final 2013 American Music Month concert took place at the historic Virginia Theatre on December 14 and included exciting performances by the community’s Central, Centennial, and Urbana high school wind ensembles.  This was the first time that the three bands had played together on the same concert, and the audience was incredibly supportive.  The final music selection played by members of all three bands was Benjamin Montalbano’s new composition, Under American Skies,  which was commissioned by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music in 2012 to celebrate John Philip Sousa’s contributions to the American-school band movement during the 1920s and 1930s.  This premiere was the direct result of this same national music education movement, and the bands’ performance affirmed the importance of music education in all of our schools, and music’s ability to bring a community together as one.  Under American Skies was conducted by Barry L. Houser, who currently serves as the University of Illinois’ Assistant Director of University Bands and the Director of the Marching Illini.

 Listen to the combined Central-Centennial-Urbana high school bands’ performance of Under American Skies.

For more information on Under American Skies and access to the score and parts, please contact Scott Schwartz at either 217-333-4577 or schwrtzs@illinois.edu.

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