The Federal City Brass Band presented a lecture recital to the participants in our Banner Moments K-12 teacher institute on July 9, 2014, presenting a program built around the music of the U.S. Civil War and the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
Of course, early in the program director Jari Villanueva led a performance of a Civil War arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by one of the era’s most famous bandsmen—Claudio Garafulla. This arrangement confirmed two aspects of our research: 1) that in the key of E-flat, no one would have sung along and 2) that the chorus repeat was honored even in non-vocal instrumental arrangements.
The program included historical information on the development of the band and its instruments such as the baritone saxhorn and the keyed bugle.
The band demonstrated that Civil War ensembles did more than play patriotic tunes. They performed sentimental songs (usually set at a quickstep tempo), hymns, and arrangements of operas such as Verdi’s Il Trovatore.
It was a great program by some fine musicians who make period instruments sound (basically) in tune and musically expressive. All of us learned a lot.