Tag Archives: James Buchanan

Blood + Money

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Lotas, age 2

As you thank Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Joseph Hale for bringing you the national holiday you are about to enjoy, save an empty space on your plate for Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan, two U.S. Presidents who (along with Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce) ignored Hale’s entreaties and passed on the chance to institutionalize Thanksgiving.

And as you remember Fillmore and Buchanan, take a gander — if you haven’t already taken the goose — at some recently digitized pieces by 8 great contemporary American artists that we are featuring in the new archival section of the viper.org site.

For an August 9, 2009 afternoon show that was to be billed as kid-friendly — and for a Wisconsin native like the Viper, kid-friendly means held in the outdoor beer garden of Mike ‘N Molly’s in Champaign, Illinois — The Viper and His Famous Orchestra sponsored a coloring contest. To accompany our performance of the “Fillmore & Buchanan March” we asked members of our audience to do what they would with two public domain portraits (courtesy of whitehouse.gov) of the eponymous Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan: two of our least remembered, least loved, and best forgotten U.S. Presidents.

Contestants who submitted entries ranged in age from 2 to 46. The entries were judged by Irene Jerving, Sophie Rainey, and Anna E. Staley. Below we present a sampling of the best of the best. Click on the thumbnail for a full-size version of the image.

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Lotas, age 2

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Sage, age 4

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Caroline, age 4

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Charlotte, age 5

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Maeve, age 5

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Ciara, age 15

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Kristin, age 39

Fillmore & Buchanan
by Tom, age 46

If you missed out on the contest, it’s not too late: you can still download and print out the PDF of the coloring sheet, complete it (as you complete me) and mail it to Ryan Jerving / 2171 N. Hi-Mount Blvd. / Milwaukee, WI 53208. When I get a chance, I’ll upload any entries I receive to this space and to our Facebook fan page.

For information on the “Fillmore and Buchanan March” itself (and some recordings and ring tones of various versions), see this site’s blog entries for November 14, 2008 and February 28, 2008.

Fillmore and Buchanan part deux

A while ago, after I’d written my Presidents day salute to two of our least remembered, least loved presidents, “The Fillmore & Buchanan March,” Riley Broach took the lead sheet I’d uploaded and scored the piece in Sibelius. (For the background on the piece and the primary documents in question, see my February 20, 2008 entry)

When I asked him if he meant in the style of the Finnish composer, he laughed uncomfortably and wrote:

While an arrangement in the style of our favorite Finn, Sibelius would be hilarious, I was only referring to the program which is entitled, in fact, Sibelius. But you probably know that and are being hilarious as always, though one never can be so sure with you.

Well, he can be sure, because here I sit right now, whistling Sibelius’s Fifth like I’m Morton Feldman or something.

Anyway, here is the arrangement of The Fillmore & Buchanan March in some style arranged using Sibelius.

It sounded great, and really funny. But I was stuck. Because the file exists in a format that this blog doesn’t seem to recognize, it wasn’t until I was living in this backyard cottage I call Ainola (though if I knew the difference, I’d probably call it Shainola) and figured out that I could record streaming sound using Audacity that I also realized I’d finally be able to share Riley’s gift to the world.

So here it is, in all its scored glory, “The  Fillmore and Buchanan March.”

For download: