Kid Pan Al­ley en­lists Col. John Bour­geois for Rapp High School con­cert

Rappahannock News - - FROM PAGE ONE -

Can you imag­ine what it would be like to play songs you wrote with your high school band and have those songs ar­ranged and con­ducted by one of the fore­most band di­rec­tors in the world?

Well, that’s what’s hap­pen­ing for the band at Rap­pa­han­nock High School in a spe­cial res­i­dency with Kid Pan Al­ley song­writ­ers Paul Reisler and Cheryl Toth along with Col. John Bour­geois, the for­mer di­rec­tor of “The Pres­i­dent’s Own” U.S. Ma­rine Band.

Reisler and Toth will be writ­ing songs with the stu­dents at Rap­pa­han­nock High from Jan­uary 8-10. Then, Col. Bour­geois will ar­range the songs for the band and con­duct them in their spring con­cert. Bour­geois is also work­ing on a com­bined choral and band ar­range­ment of the Kid Pan Al­ley song, “I Do Love Vir­ginia” — orig­i­nally recorded by Sissy Spacek — for the con­cert.

While Kid Pan Al­ley has done a num­ber of projects with sym­phony or­ches­tras, this is the first one in­volv­ing a high school band writ­ing and per­form­ing their own songs.

Says Col. Bour­geois: “One of the true trea­sures that we have in Rap­pa­han­nock is Kid Pan Al­ley. The pro­gram, which was cre­ated by our lo­cal pied piper Paul Reisler, pro­motes com­mu­nity aware­ness of the arts while cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren to ex­plore their cre­ativ­ity through song­writ­ing in a school set­ting.”

Colonel Bour­geois was the 25th Di­rec­tor of “The Pres­i­dent’s Own” United States Ma­rine Band. His ac­claimed ca­reer spanned nine pres­i­den­tial ad­min­is­tra­tions, from Pres­i­dents Dwight D. Eisen­hower to Bill Clin­ton.

As di­rec­tor of “The Pres­i­dent’s Own,” Bour­geois was Mu­sic Ad­vi­sor to the White House. He se­lected the mu­si­cal pro­gram and di­rected the band on its tra­di­tional place of honor at the U.S. Capi­tol for four pres­i­den­tial in­au­gu­ra­tions, a Ma­rine Band tra­di­tion dat­ing to 1801. He reg­u­larly con­ducted the Ma­rine Band and the Ma­rine Cham­ber Orches­tra at the White House, ap­pear­ing there more fre­quently than any other mu­si­cian in the na­tion.

The Wash­ing­ton Post’s chief mu­sic critic wrote, “Bour­geois leaves his en­sem­ble in ter­rific shape; in­deed, it would be hard to imag­ine any band play­ing with greater vigor, pre­ci­sion, and tim­bral va­ri­ety . . . Wash­ing­ton is very gen­er­ous with its stand­ing ova­tions. But Bour­geois de­served each and ev­ery one he re­ceived last night.”

He’s also an es­teemed com­poser and ar­ranger of Amer­i­can mu­sic.

Kid Pan Al­ley’s Reisler will lead next week’s song­writ­ing work­shops. He’s writ­ten thou­sands of songs with over 50,000 chil­dren across the coun­try since he founded Kid Pan Al­ley right here in Rap­pa­han­nock County in 1999.

You can do­nate to this year’s unique project at www.KidPanAl­­nate or by mail to Kid Pan Al­ley, PO Box 38, Wash­ing­ton, Va., 22747. All do­na­tions are be­ing matched by KPA board mem­bers and a grant from the Lykes Fund of the North­ern Pied­mont Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

“The enor­mous suc­cess of this pro­gram de­serves the sup­port of all pub­lic minded cit­i­zens and pa­trons of the arts,” Bour­geois notes.


Col. John Bour­geois, one of the fore­most band di­rec­tors in the world, will ar­range and con­duct songs writ­ten by the Rap­pa­han­nock High School in a spe­cial res­i­dency with Kid Pan Al­ley.

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