100 years later, 'Belleville' march is heard again

News-DemocratMarch 29, 2014 

Listen to Christina Witkowski play Frank E. Macke's Belleville Homecoming March that he composed for the Belleville Centennial Assn. in 1914. This year is Belleville's 200th anniversary and the city has a variety of events scheduled to celebrate this milestone. Thanks to the descendants of Frank Macke for sharing photos and the music. Also, thanks to Christina Witkowski for taking the time to learn and perform the music, for more information about the recent SIUE keyboard performance graduate visit. http://chrstnwitkowski.wix.com/thepinkpiano Also thanks to Piano Distributors 455 Salem Place Fairview Heights, Il 62208 (618) 589-1900 for letting us use a Yamaha piano and record in the store.


For 100 years the "Belleville Home Coming March" was virtually silent, a nearly forgotten fragment written for the city's centennial celebration.

So when a copy of the sheet music surfaced for the Belleville Bicentennial exhibit planned for this summer, it seemed only proper that the march not be confined to some paper under glass. It needed to be heard.

Pianist Christina Witkowski, of Swansea, took on the task. She practiced the march and performed it for us. You can see it on bnd.com.

The march was written by Frank E. Macke, who wrote it for the Belleville Centennial Association. He led "Frank Macke's Old-time Orchestra," played trumpet and was a music teacher said his granddaughter, Kathy Liddy.

Liddy kept her grandfather's march framed in her home but had never heard it before this past week.

"I am surprised. I didn't know it would be that sophisticated," she said. "It had a lot of lively movements."

Macke was born in April 1889 in Belleville and died at age 60. The march was played at his funeral.

Liddy said she hopes the march is played during the bicentennial celebrations, and would love to hear a full band play it. The hurdle is that she doesn't know of a full score anywhere.

Anyone interested in taking on that task can get a start from the piano arrangement. A PDF of the sheet music is online with the video at bnd.com.

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