Anita Brown


Anita's Blog


Announcing Stand:  A symphony for jazz orchestra

Stand is an original symphony for jazz orchestra in five movements, commemorating and depicting the American experience of the events of September 11, 2001 and its effect on our nation’s psyche.  The work has been conceived to feature The United States Marine Corps, Silent Drill Platoon. 


How Stand was conceived:

As a New Yorker who frequented Greenwich Village and The World Trade Center, the events of 9/11/01 were of course personally devastating.  My only solace was to write music.  I began to create sketches on 9/12/01 and continued through December of that year.  Soon I couldn’t tolerate the gut-wrenching effect of sitting with those sketches and allowed them to fall from my consciousness.

In March 2010, I began revisiting my sketches, which were still as raw as the day they were forged.  I wrestled with whether or not I could tolerate working with the material. Through a series of personal encounters I happened upon the work of The United States Marine Corps, Silent Drill Platoon.  Somehow the sublime statement of their silent performance seemed to define The Marines, their strength, precision and commitment; their role in The United States’ existence, survival and defense.  This military ceremonial display of performance art by a meticulously trained platoon of high-security clearance infantry Marines, selected also for uniformity in height and weight, connected with my deep-seated guiding principle that silence is indeed the most dramatic effect in music.  


My research for this piece took me to Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, where I attended morning drill practices for The Evening Parade on August 13, 2010.  The power of The Silent Drill Platoon’s performances comes from flawless, unison execution, each Marine handles his 10.5 lb. M1 Garand rifle with fixed bayonet, in masterly, spectacular display utilizing no verbal commands or cadence.  Through the graciousness of my hosts, The United States Marines, I learned, metronome in hand, that they march between 58-84 beats per minutes.

While it seems a rather odd to pair the work of a New York jazz composer with a USMC ceremonial performance ensemble, this juxtaposition feels both natural and powerful to me. After all, jazz, America’s music, was founded on the fusion of cultural, iconic elements, far and wide.

The intention of Stand:

The original sketches are being developed so as to evoke imagery of the American experience of September 11, 2001, through my personal filter as a New York jazz composer.  The work begins with my depiction of the relative complacency of American life before that date, then takes the audience through the emotionally wrenching effects the events of that day had on the national psyche.  It recalls that moment in time when, in silence and the stillness within, our personal and collective grief morphed into resolve and strength; when for a moment we all stood together, no matter our political or cultural differences.


Its structure:

A Symphony for Jazz Orchestra and
The United States Marine Corps, Silent Drill Platoon

Anita Brown, Composer/Arranger

Movement I:           The Homeland (Classic American jazz elements)
Movement II:          Tuesday Morning (Depicting a lovely morning and subsequent anguish)
Movement III:         Benumbed (Aftermath: grief, introspection, meditation/prayer)
Movement IV:         Valor (Action: The United States Marine Corps, Silent Drill Platoon)
Movement V:           Stand  (Strong and resolute)


The project:

I am composing Stand for 17-piece jazz orchestra.  In the interest of being ready for a premiere date on or about September 11, 2011, I am currently writing this piece without a commission (a.k.a., unpaid).  Here are some details about the logistics:


  • Costs for mounting such a work of “performance art” (a combination of musical and theatrical elements) include:
    • music preparation (preparing the parts for individual players to read from),
    • band rehearsal time,
    • band rehearsal space,
    • preparation of rehearsal recording for Silent Drill Platoon,
    • dress rehearsal time & space: band with SDP
    • transportation, accommodations and rider specs for band and SDP personnel (dictated by premiering ensemble’s home base and location(s) of premiere(s).)
    • on-site audio & video recording
    • audio & video post production
    • composer’s expenses: research, travel, accommodations, materials, miscellaneous.
  • While I intend to have at least one premiere with my band, Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra featuring The United States Marine Corps, Silent Drill Platoon, I am investigating options in metropolitan New York and Washington, DC. 
  • I have made application to a couple of “really cool things” that have the potential of pushing this along, but as of this date, have no news to report on that front. 


*If you wish to participate as a patron of this artistic endeavor, your tax-deductible contribution will be most appreciated and put to good use, as I will soon be affiliated with a non-profit organization supporting artists’ visions, (details forthcoming on anita’s blog and news pages of my website).  To assure I have your contact info, please sign the guestbook and enter your email address at


Thank you for supporting live music.



This work of “jazz art music” and any/all accompanying promotional text is intended as a personal statement; an account of my view of the effects of September 11, 2001 on greater New York, our nation and the means by which I have assimilated its effects into my life.  In no way is this piece of music intended to function as a political statement in favor of or against the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East since that date.

I am grateful for the personal assistance and support of United States Marine Corps personnel at Marine Barracks, Washington DC and to those who have answered my questions online.

Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra supports and thanks all USMC Personnel, particularly Marine Infantry Troops and all United States Armed Forces and their families for their service and profound sacrifices.

                                 ~ Anita Brown

This video was made with permission during my research following inspiration for "Stand," my Symphony for Jazz Orchestra, scheduled for completion in August 2011:   Marine Barracks, Washington, DC, Silent Drill Platoon, Morning Drill Practice, August 13, 2010.  The platoon executes its drill written by Corporal Robert Dominguez at 58 beats per minute on the metronome, without wavering.  The voice is mine and I am holding a metronome in my left hand, camera in my right as I attempt to view with my own eyes over the camera.


This video of The United States Marine Corps, Silent Drill Platoon, was recorded with permission at Marine Barracks, Washington, DC at the Evening Parade on Friday,  8/13/10.  Periodically the drill changes.  This drill was written by Corporal Robert Dominguez. 


This is AWESOME news Anita. I am so proud of you! Count on a contribution from me, and I will certainly promote this on my blog and radio station once you get the tax donation thing figured out. Way to go!!!

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