Posted By : TimoPalm
Piece Title : Capture of the U-505
No. of times Viewed (January 2019) :26
Total No. of times Viewed :3738
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Dificulty Rating :
Level : Senior / Graduate
Composer / Arranger : Willmarth, John
Composer / Arranger Details:

John Willmarth is an active performer, composer, author, and educator in the north Texas area. A versatile percussionist, John is experienced in many areas of percussion including jazz, concert, marching, and world percussion.

As a percussion director in the McKinney Independent School District, John coordinates the percussion programs for Evans Middle School and McKinney High School. He has previously served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Kentucky, percussion instructor at Centre College, and as Director of Percussion at Lafayette High School in Lexington, KY. As a marching percussion consultant and clinician, he has worked with high schools across the Midwest as well as for Bands of America, The Yamaha Corporation of America, and the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts.

As a freelance percussionist, John maintains a busy performance schedule. While in Kentucky, he held the drumset chair in the Dimartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra, Osland/Dailey Jazztet, and the Ross Whitaker Trio. In addition, he was a regular percussionist for the Paragon Music Theatre Company, and performed with the Lexington Brass Band and the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. John is a former member of the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps where, in 1995, he helped to lead the corps to its second DCI title as section leader of the drumline.

An active composer, John received 2nd place honors in the 2006 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest for his piece for solo timpani, Bushido: The Way of the Warrior. An experienced arranger, he has written marching percussion books for high schools across Kentucky as well as The University of Kentucky and the University of Iowa. His percussion compositions and arrangements are published by Innovative Percussion, Drop6 Media, Inc, and Tapspace Publications. As an author, John has contributed articles to Percussive Notes and Bluegrass Music News.

John earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky under the tutelage of James Campbell and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa where he studied with Dan Moore, James Dreier and John Rapson. John is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and an artist with Innovative Percussion, Evans Drumheads and the Yamaha Corporation of America.
For more information on John and his activities please visit

Total Number of Percussionists Required :1 Percussionist(s)
Categories : Timpani
Instrument / Discipline : Timpani Solos
Instrumentation : Timpani (x4)
Range of Instruments / Number of Drums : 23, 26, 29, 32
Written for / Commissioned by : Dedicated to the father of John Willmarth
Permission given for Youtube video by Copyright holder
and Youtube Channel Owner. Recorded / Provided by:
 Innovative Percussion
Accompanied :N/A
Publisher :Innovative Percussion, Inc.
Publishers Website
Publisher Details :

Innovative Percussion is a mallet and stick manufacturer based in Nashville Tennessee. They also distribute publications of a high quality. For more information logon to

Year Composed / Copyright Date :2010 /  2011
Duration :9Minutes
No. of Mallets/Sticks Required :Various
Special Needs :One handed rolls as well as various implements (soft, medium, ultra-staccato, and wood mallets, large multi-rod). 4 cloth bags (or black socks) filled with various coins are placed on the drumheads producing an explosion effect when head is struck.
Sheet Music Available From      Check to see if in stock
Programme Notes / Performance Details :


Composer Notes:

“Capture of the U-505” is a programmatic piece influenced by Wagner’s use of Leitmotif: a musical device in which a character, place, or idea is depicted through a musical theme. Throughout the work the top two drums represent the American Naval forces and the bottom drums the German U-boat, the U-505.  The piece is comprised of four sections: The U-boat, The Chase, The Battle, and The Capture. The opening reveals the U-boat theme including the characteristic sound of the sonar ping. The one-handed roll technique depicts the rumble of the U-boat engines. The Chase is written in a canonic style in which one hand ‘chases’ the other. The left hand plays the bottom drums in the key of Bb while the right hand plays the top drums in the key of F. Eventually an ostinato is unveiled which rhythmically spells out the distress signal ‘S.O.S.’ in Morse code. In The Battle, small cloth bags filled with coins are placed in the center of the drumhead producing an explosion sound when the head is struck. At ‘agitato’ the performer should improvise for 10-20 seconds using, but not limited to, the given motives in a fragmented rhythmic style (devoid of an easily discernable pulse center). The texture of the improvisation should become increasingly dense throughout. The drums can be tuned to any pitch throughout this section (based on where the performer chooses to end the glissando effects) but should end with the drums in mid-range. A 4-line staff is also used to represent the four drums rather that delineate a specific pitch set. This section should depict the chaos, aggression, and ferocity of battle. An elongated glissando up the drums is used to portray the U-boat surfacing thus ending the battle (this phrase should be performed on the 32” and 29” drums). The Capture brings some of the beginning themes full circle. This time, however, the rumble of the engines is on the high drums representing the American convoy. The drums are tuned to a major tonality depicting a resolution of the conflict throughout. The sonar ping is no longer present but the motive carries on as the sub is towed away.

Programme Notes:

In 1941, the United States entered World War II in response to Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. At this point in the war, the Germans had already unleashed their Blitzkrieg attack on London and, along with Japan and Italy, formed the Axis powers. Because shipping was the primary means of delivering supplies to Great Britain and Africa, the German submarine or U-boat became a major factor in what has come to be known as the Battle of the Atlantic. German U-boats were sinking merchant ships at an alarming rate. In fact the U-boats effect on the war was so profound that in a speech British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stated, “The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril.” In response to this threat, the United States formed hunter-killer task groups designed to seek out and destroy enemy subs. Captain Daniel Gallery led the group known as the 22.3 which was comprised of five destroyer escorts: USS Chatelain, USS Jenks, USS Flaherty, USS Pillsbury, USS Pope, and the aircraft carrier the USS Guadalcanal. Through intercepted radio transmissions the 22.3 was able to ascertain the general location of a U-boat off the coast of West Africa. After 2 weeks of searching unsuccessfully, the 22.3 broke off the hunt. On June 4th, 1944, as they headed towards Casablanca to refuel, the USS Chatelain suddenly made sonar contact with the U-505 less than 800 yards away. The American destroyer fired on the sub as it took evasive action. Wildcat fighters from the Guadalcanal marked the position of the U-505 by firing their machine guns into the water. The Chatelain was able to severely damage the U-505 using depth charges, forcing her to surface. It was a short but fierce battle in which the U-505 was only able to launch one torpedo. Once the sub surfaced, the U.S. convoy surrounded the sub and covered her in artillery fire. The crew abandoned ship and 58 German sailors were captured with only one casualty. Although the Germans took measures to scuttle the ship, an American salvage crew managed to board the boat, remove classified materials, and save the U-505 from sinking. The boat was secretly towed over 2,500 miles to a U.S. base at Bermuda in order to study German U-boat technology. Because of the bravery, courage, and daring of Commander Gallery and his team, the U.S. Navy was able to capture an enemy vessel at sea for the first time since the War of 1812. Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, released the following statement: “The Task Group`s brilliant achievement in disabling, capturing, and towing to a United States base a modern enemy man-ofwar taken in combat on the high seas is a feat unprecedented in individual and group bravery, execution, and accomplishment in the Naval History of the United States."

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