Happy Independence Day, everyone! What better way to celebrate the 235th birthday of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave than with a little bit of FREE patriotic music, care of the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band (FKA the USAF Tactical Air Command Band) based in Langley AFB, Virginia. Their website offers free downloads from their two Ceremonial Music CDs HERE and HERE, which can come in handy if you:
- Are a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop leader and need “To the Colors” and “Retreat” for your flag raising & lowering ceremonies
- Are a pair of buglers who have never played “Echo Taps” and have been asked to participate in a Memorial Day ceremonies or some other solemn activity
- Happen to have, say, a major general over for dinner and need to play the right set of honors as you introduce him to the assembled throngs (BTW: the proper music to avoid a faux pas would be two Ruffles & Flourishes and the General’s March)
There are downloads available of popular marches by the likes of E. E. Bagley (“National Emblem“), C. E. Duble (“Bravura“), and Henry Fillmore (“Men of Ohio“), among many others. There are also all of the armed service’s songs (e.g. “The Air Force Song“) and even a version of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace” played on bagpipes.
Of course, no July 4th celebration would be appropriate without music by The March King himself, John Philip Sousa, most especially “The Stars & Stripes Forever.” The USAF Heritage of America Band offers many of his other marches, too, so check them out, download them, and crank them up on your favorite MP3 player as fireworks blaze tonight.
Speaking of “The Stars & Stripes Forever,” check out these links:
- Tim Mangan (music critic and band-music-afficionado extraordinaire) posts a vintage recording of “The Stars & Stripes Forever” played by The Sousa Band itself
- Sam Bergman (Minnesota Orchestra violist) posts his own Independence Day story, complete with link to the following somewhat sillier, but no less awesome, rendition of the piece