Copland won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1945 for this composition. It stays with me forever. The simplicity of the chord structure, long used as a warm up for marching bands everywhere, reminds me of hanging out in the band room during high school breaks, watching videos like this:
This is Blast!, a group formed from the Star of Indiana drum corps after they retired from the field in 1993. Blast! came to Broadway in 2000, winning the 2001 Tony for Best Theatrical Event and the Emmy for choreography. Their show, of which this video is a part of, is a homage to drum corps from the late 1980s. Every piece, including this one, was played by a drum corps, and in this particular video, the step over the color guard is a homage to the Santa Clara Drum Corps, who performed this move with their version of Appalachian Spring.
Here’s a quote from a commenter on this video:
“I sat in front of the TV with my mother and saw the live performance of the Cadets in finals competition win with the first Applacian Spring movement on the field. That’s mind boggling.
They are paying tribute to drum corps’ famous showstoppers. Cadets with ‘Simple Gifts,’ Madison Scouts with ‘Malaguena & Bolero,’ Blue devils ‘Officer Krumpke,’ the ‘Land of Make Believe’ has been around drum corps, Santa Clara is even included with the famous step over move by the corps over the color guard.”
I watched this whole show on DVD in high school, and I cannot tell you how much it reminds me now, of sitting there, wondering at the talent of these people. The trumpet soloist in particular, Ben Harloff, is the primary soloist throughout the show, and he’s amazing! Watch Malaguena and you’ll understand.