Composer writes march for Nevada Day parade |

Composer writes march for Nevada Day parade

by Linda Hiller

Carson Valley resident John O’Neill, co-founder of the Carson Valley Violin School, has written a new song, the Silver and Sage March, to be performed at this year’s Nevada Day parade.

The song was written specifically to be performed by a middle school-level band, O’Neill said.

“I was approached by the Nevada Day Committee, and they asked if I’d write a song for Larry Holloway’s band at Eagle Valley Middle School,” O’Neill said. “We wrote a jackpot grant through the Nevada Arts Council, but I’d have written the song regardless of the grant.”

O’Neill taught band and strings in San Jose, Calif., public schools for many years before coming to the Carson Valley. Though he actually started out writing band music, he has concentrated on mostly string pieces in the last several years.

“Since moving here, I have done a lot more composing,” O’Neill said. “In fact, I got a ‘serious music award’ from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers for writing music for the purpose of education during the last six years.”

Veteran Valley composer. O’Neill has written three songs which have been performed by the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra at their annual 4th of July concert in Genoa.

“I wrote the ‘4th of July Polka,’ which has been played every year there since 1993,” he said. “I also wrote the ‘Carson Valley Hoedown’ and ‘1776.’ Last year, I got to conduct the orchestra in ‘1776’ and the ‘4th of July Polka’ – it was quite a thrill.”

O’Neill started thinking about writing the “Silver and Sage March” last year, and he said the title came to him first.

“I thought it was perfect, because this is the Silver State and the state flower is the sage,” he said. “I really started writing it in September, and wrote two versions – including one less technical version for the 7th grade. I found that it’s hard writing easy music.”

O’Neill said he will be sitting near the review stand Saturday to watch the parade. The Eagle Valley Middle School marching band will play an abbreviated version of the march during the parade which starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 30. The Carson City school will be marching around 70th, he said.

The concert version of the “Silver and Sage March” will also be performed at 3 p.m. Saturday in front of the Supreme Court buildings for a dedication ceremony there, he said. Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt will be on hand for that event.

O’Neill said he is planning to give a copy of the music for the Silver and Sage March to band teachers in the Carson Valley so they can play it if they choose.

“It’s a very upbeat march,” he said. “Rah, rah, rah.”