With new official anthem, the Area Power hopes to land in your radar
I knew as quickly as I stated “Area Power” this might occur.
As a result of the Area Power is, for the foreseeable future, the New Man amongst navy branches. As a result of its sudden and ham-handed public rollout in 2019 was largely entrusted to the writers’ rooms of late-night reveals. And, sure, as a result of it’s known as the Area Power, so there stays a lingering temptation to not take it critically (and a tacit cultural authorization to proceed).
Living proof: My father known as this morning and requested what I used to be doing. I instructed him I used to be writing about how the Area Power is debuting its official tune. His reply: “Who wrote it? Buck Rogers and Hammerstein?” And we laughed and laughed.
Not a foul dad joke by any measure. However level being: the Area Power is just not identified for its gravity.
This positioned the “Semper Supra” inventive duo of Jamie Teachenor and Sean Nelson in a tough predicament. Each males are skilled officers and navy musicians: Teachenor, 42, is an Air Power veteran and former vocalist within the Air Power Academy band Wild Blue Nation. Nelson, 39, is a Chief Musician who serves as trombonist and workers arranger for the Coast Guard Band.
However neither had ever penned an official anthem for a whole department of the navy earlier than; nor thought-about write a brand new anthem that might sit on the identical shelf as these composed as a lot as a century earlier.
“The custom goes again over 100 years,” Nelson stated in a convention name on Monday. “Determining the place this tune will match into that custom was so necessary, however I additionally [wanted it] to have it have its personal id.”
“There’s quite a bit at stake,” added Teachenor. “It was very nerve-racking.”
Anthems have a tendency to hold inside their textures a wealthy whiff of the previous, the patina and effectivity of previous warfare footage, the hiss and crackle of the newsreel. As compact and moveable as these little ditties are, they pack some critical historic punch.
Take “The Marine’s Hymn.” One of many oldest songs in American navy historical past, its iconic melody was lifted from Jacques Offenbach’s 1859 opéra bouffe, “Geneviève de Brabant,” and its anonymously penned lyrics (charting a purview “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”) have been probably written a long time earlier than its official adoption in 1929.
Or “The U.S. Air Power Music” (a.ok.a. “The Wild Blue Yonder”), which was written by a rejected WWI Air Service pilot named Robert MacArthur Crawford and gained a contest held by “Liberty” journal writer (and fin de siecle health guru) Bernarr Macfadden. It was formally adopted in 1947.
As most of us have come to grasp the Area Power, it has no such historical past wherein to steep; no traditions to uphold; no warfare tales to inform. Its historical past is technically the long run.
However as Teachenor factors out, conversations concerning the creation of a navy department devoted to what has been known as “the final word excessive floor” have been happening in some kind or one other because the mid-Forties.
The formation of a “Area Process Group” of NASA engineers in 1957 was ramped up in 1961 after President John F. Kennedy’s name to place a person on the moon. Within the Eighties, President Ronald Reagan’s controversial “Star Wars” initiative sought to create “a protect that might shield us from nuclear missiles simply as a roof protects a household from rain.” Within the Nineties, Operation Desert Storm noticed the appearance of GPS and satellite tv for pc information that might result in a paradigm shift in Individuals’ reliance on space-bound applied sciences.
Speak of the creation of an official “Area Corps” was actively afoot in Congress by 2017. Following 2019 authorization by the Trump administration of Air Power Area Command (AFSPC) — and following a rocky begin — the us was launched that December.
“That’s a stupendous factor, when folks notice that house has a protracted and vibrant historical past,” says Teachenor. “That it’s not simply sending astronauts into house, it’s the parents on the bottom supporting all these satellites in orbit. The mission of the Area Power is among the most necessary — we will’t go a day with out house.”
And whereas the Area Power’s $15.5 billion finances is a fraction of the Pentagon’s annual spending, the 2 musicians are hoping that the easy presence of “Semper Supra” within the rotation of medleys at public ceremonies, sporting occasions and different boards will assist to launch the Area Power — and its “Guardians” — into wider public consciousness.
Okay. So what’s it sound like?
Nicely, it sounds quite a bit like a navy anthem. A lot. Like, virtually an excessive amount of. In response to my dad’s quip about Buck Rogers and Hammerstein, I instructed him that “Semper Supra” sounded to me like one thing you’d hear earlier than the large recreation at Area Power Excessive. Which, on reflection, was sort of imply.
These in search of readability when it comes to who the Area Power is, what they do and why they’re, won’t discover it in “Semper Supra,” which fits mild on element and lyrically has the smoothed-over feeling of a tune written by committee.
However these in search of just a little hook upon which to hold reminiscences of their very own service (on this case, as “Guardians”) will discover “Semper Supra” does the job.
I suppose for a tune that’s destined to orbit round this department of navy in perpetuity, I hoped for one thing … I don’t know, spacier?
Over the previous century, the cosmos has provided us with such a wealthy musical temper board: Gustav Holst gave us his standard-bearing mannequin of the photo voltaic system, “The Planets,” again in 1916. Stanley Kubrick’s use of Johann Strauss’s antigravity waltzes and the monolithic motif taken from the opposite Strauss’s “Additionally sprach Zarathustra” have knowledgeable our notion of deep house since “2001” arrived in 1968. John Williams has additionally memorably distilled his visions of the vastness of house into common themes — assume the “5 tones” of “Shut Encounters of the Third Sort.”
All of which is to say, regardless of the vacuum of house, as listeners we’re nicely skilled to know what it “sounds” like.
Maybe because of this the deja vu of “Semper Supra” felt like a letdown. After feeling my abdomen plunge when listening to the unholy sound of a black gap for the primary time, an earthbound brass band march can’t assist however sound prefer it’s stopping in need of the purpose. (I didn’t even assume marching in house was potential!)
However as a lot as I’d love our new nationwide name to cosmic responsibility to attempt to seize the boundless marvel of house — that almost all summary of jurisdictions — some deeper listening helped me settle for that anthems aren’t simply music for me to complain about. And so they’re not merely jingles designed to inject a fast shot of pomp into staid navy circumstances.
Anthems are little battle-tested vessels of reminiscence — robust sufficient to carry heavy tales of service and moveable sufficient to hold them throughout generations with the convenience of a tune. Will “Semper Supra” ever discover its manner into the ears and hearts of Individuals? That’s a query for the long run.