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Rodney Miller, as John Philip Sousa, leads the University of Delaware Wind Ensemble in a patriotic performance of Sousa marches.
It was Star, Stripes, and Sousa! at the
University of Delaware on Saturday, May 9, when families, students and
other guests enjoyed a patriotic-themed afternoon outside at UDs first
Starting at 3 p.m. on the lawn between the Roselle Center for the
Arts and the Amy E. du Pont Music Building, UDs Wind Ensemble performed
a concert complete with acclaimed Sousa enthusiast Rodney Miller as the
The scene was picturesque with families and students spread out
across the grass in lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Volunteers handed
out miniature American flags to everyone.
The hot afternoon made the UDairy Creamery Moo Mobile a popular
attraction as guests enjoyed the concert with ice cream cones in one
hand, and the small flags in the other.
There was plenty of toe tapping and flag waving as the marching music concert took place.
Chad Nicholson, assistant professor of music
and director of the UD Wind Ensemble, opened the show by telling the
audience about the excitement of Sousa concerts, a tradition that honors
American composer John Philip Sousa.
Sousa is famous for composing the greatest number of marches that
stood the test of time, and hes commonly referred to as Americas
March King. He was also known for his devoted patriotism.
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Members of the military attending the concert were saluted during the performance.
UDs concert stayed true to the style of traditional Sousa concerts,
using placards to announce each song instead of program guides. Guest
artists included Bruce Tychinski, UD associate professor of music and an
acclaimed trombonist, who was featured as a soloist.
Guests of all ages expressed enthusiasm for the show. Reasons for
attending varied, but many in the audience made the concert a family
I thought itd be fun to bring my grandson, said Joan Crossman. The weathers perfect and the musics great.
Others said they learned about the event from the concerts co-sponsor, the UD Community Music School.
Its especially good to see the spirit of America here because you
dont always get to see that a lot, said a father who brought his two
In keeping with the patriotic nature, the concert began with the
national anthem. There was also a tribute to any attending veterans, and
toward the end of the performance each military branch was acknowledged
Miller entertained the crowd from start to finish, wearing a red
uniform and resembling the real John Philip Sousa, complete with the
composers memorable beard and mustache.
Miller is the director of Port Clinton City Schools bands in Ohio
and has taught music for 27 years. He is also a frequent guest
clinician, conductor and speaker throughout the United States. He hosts
leadership workshops for various high schools, colleges, organizations
and Fortune 500 companies.