Although born in nearby Tampico, Illinois, Ronald Reagan’s family moved to Dixon, Illinois when he was nine years old. In many of his speeches and writings, he always referred to his growing up in Dixon and the many life lessons he learned in those formative years. As far as the 40th President of the United States was concerned - Dixon, Illinois, was his hometown.
To celebrate the President’s 100th Birthday remembrance on February 6, 2010, the City of Dixon commissioned a work that would include Symphonic Band, Narrator, and SATB Chorus, as a gift of love from his hometown. Part I, for Band and narrator has been published previously under the title, REAGAN OF ILLINOIS. This is Part II of that endeavor, written for Band and SATB Chorus.
The text of this section is paraphrased and derived from any number of comments or excerpted lines from President Reagan’s many speeches. Of course, there are also lines of text contributed by the composer to emphasize what I feel are certain characteristics of this great American and to personalize the relationship of Dixon, Illinois, to the President.
A note about the music: As with Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Man” which appeared as a “borrowed” section in one of his later symphonies, I also borrowed from an earlier work for the opening fanfare section of Reagan, Part II. The initial music before the chorus entrance is a slightly altered version of the movement entitled “An Immeasurable Hero” from the suite ONE DAY IN A SMALL TOWN written in 2004. It just seemed to be the appropriate music to begin the final chapter in this composition.
The Dixon Ronald Reagan Centennial Committee Commission was chaired by Ann Lewis, who also served as the Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Reagan Centennial Commission, in cooperation with Mark Bressler, Director of Bands at Rock Falls High School and Director of the Dixon Municipal Band.