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Castle House Rag for Concert Band
Castle House Rag for Concert Band by James Reese Europe. Arranged by Jari Villanueva
Full score and Parts downloaded upon payment
“Castle House Rag” - One Step by James Reese Europe, was originally recorded “under the personal supervision of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Castle” (Vernon and Irene Castle were popular dance figures of the time) on February 10, 1914. James Reese Europe was an important musical figure in the ragtime era and his band was the first African-American band to record commercially. In late 1916, Europe joined the newly formed 15th Infantry (Colored) of the New York National Guard. Commissioned a machine gun regiment lieutenant, he was soon asked to join the regimental band. He became bandleader, recruiting musicians and shaping their sound. The band became the 369th New York Regimental Band, the “Harlem Hellfighters.” According to The Parlor Songs Academy: “On New Year’s Day 1918, Europe stepped off a troop ship onto French soil at the port city of Brest, where, in the midst of cheering crowds, he led the band in the playing of the French national anthem, “The Marseilles”, although at first those gathered on the dock did not recognize the tune due to Europe’s unique arrangement.”
The band was received so enthusiastically that officials sent it on a tour of France, entertaining troops and citizens. After his return to the states he was tragically slain by a member of his band. At the time of his death, he was the best-known African-American bandleader in the United States. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
This band arrangement by Jari Villanueva is a delightful setting of the original arrangement that gives the woodwinds and brass a chance to shine in different sections. Pay careful attention to the rhythms and dynamics to make this march really shine!