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The Pennsylvania March, A Musical Ode To The Commonwealth, Premiers This Month

Brandon Giesbrecht

From Billy Joel’s Allentown to Zeke Manner’s The Pennsylvania Polka, the commonwealth has its fair share of musical odes. But until composer Ron DeGrandis put together his latest piece, The Pennsylvania March, the state has never had a tune in the traditional American march genre.

DeGrandis said he was inspired by the state’s diverse cities and landscapes.

“I was thinking of the great scenery that we have and all the great opportunities that we have in the state,” he said, "and just kept all those images in my head as I wrote this.”

The song follows the standard march music form, beginning with a fanfare. Throughout the piece, the brass repeats the rhythmic motif of the word “Pennsylvania.”

“It’s almost like a call and response,” DeGrandis said. “The brass [the melody] and then the woodwinds answer them with a counter melody.”

DeGrandis said he hopes the state will consider adopting the song as its official march. Its debut performance will be in Allentown, Pa. by The Marine Band of Allentown on Sept. 16.


(Photo credit: Brandon Giesbrecht/Flickr)