Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”
Because of the Independence Day holiday, our weekly Friday night music feature moves up one day as we celebrate our nation’s birthday. And this week, naturally ,great American music.
A child of Jewish immigrants, Aaron Copland was born in 1900. He would become one of the most respected American classical composers of the twentieth century. Copland creatively fused jazz and folk into his compositions. His vision was to produce a musical style considered to be “American.” The resulting scores he crafted spread his fame all around the globe.
Copland's desired distinctive “American” sound is quite evident in our first selection. He wrote it after Eugene Goosens asked him to come up with a musical tribute honoring those engaged in World War II. Goosens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, originally had in mind a fanfare "... for Soldiers, or for Airmen or Sailors" and wanted to open his 1942 concert season with it.
"The challenge was to compose a traditional fanfare, direct and powerful, yet with a contemporary sound,” said Copland.
The piece wasn’t delivered in time for that season opener. Instead, it premiered on March 12, 1943, three days before income taxes were due that particular year. Goosens and Copland concurred that it was the perfect time to pay homage to…the common man.
We stay with the trailblazing Copland and a composition dancer Agnes de Mille called “Taming of the Shrew with cowboys.” De Mille would choreograph the work, one that she had to convince Copland to write the music for.
Copland’s cowboy ballet “Rodeo” tells the story of a cowgirl raised at Burnt Ranch. She can’t seem to get the attention of the Head Wrangler, who is, like the rest of the cowboys, crazy about the Rancher’s Daughter. The cowgirl eventually catches the eye of the Champion Roper who has just lost the Rancher’s Daughter to the Head Wrangler. The cowgirl puts on a beautiful dress for the Hoe-Down and now gets noticed by the Head Wrangler. The ballet culminates with the two locked in a Hollywood kiss in the middle of the dance.
“Rodeo” consists of four dance episodes. One of them is “Hoe-Down.”
We go all the way back to 1927 for this song, written by George and Ira Gershwin for a musical that bombed. It was later made into a movie. But the song caught on and remains a great opener for shows.
Speaking of striking up the band, watch this entrance by Andre Rieu and his ensemble to the signature song from the great musical, “The Music Man,” and imagine yourself at a parade with everyone waving American flags.
“It (Independence Day) ought to be commemorated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”
“With all shows and displays let us forever celebrate this day. Music and flowers and dances; the harmony of ringing bells, the roar of cannon, the glitter of uniforms, the shouts of men, the laughter of children, the soft glad voices of women — let us forever unite to make one joyous festival.”
Daniel Webster, oration delivered in Boston, July 4, 1846
“The United States of America, even with the warts it has collected during its history, remains the longest-lasting and most successful democracy in world history.”
The Kalamazoo Gazette Editorial Board
“My conclusion is that America is the greatest, freest, and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world. By making sacrifices for America and by our willingness to die for her, we bind ourselves by invisible cords to those great patriots who fought at Yorktown, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima, and we prove ourselves worthy of the blessings of freedom. By defeating the terrorist threat posed by Islamic radicalism, we can protect the American way of life while once again redeeming humanity from a global menace. History will view America as a great gift to the world, a gift that Americans today must preserve and cherish.”
Have a terrific Independence Day weekend!
We close with Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.