The Farnham Colossi
March for Concert Band

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About 5 miles from my family home in rural West Virginia lies the house of George and Pam Farnham. In their yard, next to the bright purple barn, is an impressive collection of Americana. A small but once workable Simpsons roller coaster stands by statues of Yogi and Boo Boo Bear, a life size pterodactyl, and an elephantine apple the size of a wrecking ball, among other assorted sculptures. Presiding over the lot stand four molded fiberglass colossi, each twenty feet tall: a beer-drinking beach bum, a tattooed bikini babe, a friendly grocer, and the undisputed leader, a crowned King Midas wielding an automobile muffler large enough to crush a small car. Thousands of statues like these (collectively known as ‘muffler men’) popped up all across the US in the 60’s and 70’s, but very few remain, mostly in the hands of collectors like the Farnhams. This march is dedicated to the Farnham Colossi, and to all muffler men, past and present.

This circus march draws inspiration from classic ‘Screamers’, and I owe a great debt to J. P. Sousa, whose ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’ was a model for form and instrumentation. I intend no disrespect to the Farnhams, the Midas Muffler Co., Sousa, or to anyone, and I hope the audience and performers have as much fun with this piece as I’ve had writing it.

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