Locklair: Independence Day

On October 14, the Society of Musical Arts Orchestra (SOMA) performs Dan Locklair’sIndependence Day,” from his Symphony No. 2, “America.”  The composer’s Symphony No. 2 is a 22-minute work that features three movements that individually reflect a quintessential American holiday. “Independence Day” is based on the well known tune America the Beautiful. The work premiered in October 2016, as John Gordon Ross conducted the Western Piedmont Symphony. The SOMA performance will be led by Subito Music’s own founder and president Stephen Culbertson, as he conducts the concert at the ensemble’s new venue — the Maurice Levin Theater in West Orange, NJ.

Stephen Culbertson

“For many years,” Culbertson shares, “we have opened our season with a patriotic work such as The Star Spangled Banner or Dudley Buck’s Festival Overture on the American National Air. Dan Locklair’s work fits this role perfectly as a season opener. The motivic kernel of America the Beautiful is developed, leading to a moving statement of the hymn for solo brass and a rousing conclusion.”

Locklair describes his work. “My Symphony No.2, ‘America unabashedly celebrates ‘The Land of the Free.’ The opening movement, ‘Independence Day,’ is as full of energy and excitement as is the freedom-marking holiday it reflects. It opens [with a] fanfare-like idea based on the 1882 melody, MATERNA, by Samuel Augustus Ward…Since 1910, this stirring melody has been joined with Katherine Lee Bates’ beloved 1893 poem ‘America the Beautiful’ (a patriotic hymn felt by many to be the unofficial national anthem of the United States). [As the section develops,] the opening fanfare-like idea returns to end this celebratory first movement….”

Upcoming: In November, Locklair takes up the baton to conduct the St. John’s Choir and Orchestral Ensemble (Roanoke, VA) in a performance of his Gloria and Requiem.