Get ready for Songs in Blue with the Bellbrook Marching Eagles

By Leanne Beane

Alex Van Scoy, the talented junior clarinet player, performs the opening solo from “Rhapsody in Blue” for the marching band show. Photo by Peter Bartlett

If you enjoy any of these musical selections, consider looking into the Bellbrook Marching Eagles 2021 show “Out of the Blue” which contains all four of these pieces, including a few of the famed solos.

Rhapsody In Blue by George Gershwin

“Rhapsody In Blue” by George Gershwin is an orchestral piece written in 1924 for Paul Whiteman’s “An Experiment in Modern Music” concert. It opens with a beautiful clarinet solo, followed by a similar trumpet solo, and finally a piano solo that leads into the main phrase. The piece lasts approximately sixteen minutes and is one of the most famous pieces from the Jazz Age (1920-1930).

Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli

“Blue Shades” by Frank Ticheli is a 10-minute fast-paced jazz piece containing several small ensemble (small group) and single-instrument solos, including a noteworthy clarinet solo within the opener. It was written in 1997 following Ticheli’s well-known “Playing With Fire” (1992), constructed to exemplify Ticheli’s love with jazz combined with the composer’s unique style.

Blue Rondo à la Turk by Dave Brubeck

“Blue Rondo à la Turk” by The Dave Brubeck Quartet is a second fast-paced jazz piece, shorter than Blue Shades at slightly under seven minutes. It is celebrated for it’s musical leaps, the notes springing from high to low with amazing clarity. It was written in 1959 for The Dave Brubeck Quartet, which consisted of a piano (played by Dave Brubeck), an alto saxophone (Paul Desmond), a bass guitar (Eugene Wright), and a drum set (Joe Morello).

Blue by Eiffel 65

“Blue” by Eiffel 65 is a classic blue-themed pop song that deviates from the jazz tone of the prior three compositions. It is renowned for its bouncy, bass-heavy music and nonsense lyrics, the main phrase being “I’m blue, da ba dee da ba di” and the weird alien in the music video. It was published in 1998, and despite the upbeat club-type rhythm, the song is surprisingly deep. The word “blue” represents depression, with the lead singer Jeffrey Jey stating everything around him, including himself, is colored blue.


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