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

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)


Katie Blackley is a digital editor/producer for 90.5 WESA, where she writes, edits and generates both web and on-air content for features and daily broadcast. She's the producer and host of our Good Question! series and podcast. She also covers history and the LGBTQ community. kblackley@wesa.fm