THE DOWNEASTER March
by David P. Miller, in a setting for modern concert band
This march was written in 1981, when the composer was serving in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in northern Maine. It was written as an entry in a USO contest seeking new marches. The march was completed in time and submitted as an entry in the contest, but it was returned with the annotation that they required a recording of the march to be submitted along with it.
The year 1981 was in the days before the internet, and it was the very early days of the PC. There were no music engraving programs. The march was written out and all parts copied entirely by hand. Also, the composer was unable to locate a band capable of playing and recording this march, particularly as he was 2 miles from the Canadian border. So the march was never re-submitted, and never got to be considered in that contest.
Because Maine was considered “Down East” by the early continental settlers, Miller named this march “The Downeaster.”
The reason Maine was considered “Down East” is that when sailing from Boston, one of the main population centers in the 18th century, to get to Maine from Boston, you had to head mostly eastward, and because the only ships then were sailing ships, wind was a major concern. The prevailing winds blew from Boston towards Maine, so you had to go DOWNwind to get there. Hence the term, Down East.
This march received its premiere performance when the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band was formed under the baton of composer David Miller, and they played the tune for its first time ever on September 20, 2004, more than twenty years after it was written.
The march was a hit with the band and with the audience, and now we are offering it to you.
The difficulty of this march is a moderate Grade III.
Here is the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band performing this march on September 20, 2004.
You can see the PROGRAM notes for this tune in our Program Notes Repository.
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