“Any great art work… revives and re-adapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you and inhabitant of that world - the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.” - Leonard Bernstein

Becoming (v. any process of change)

Bridge (n. A structure spanning and providing passage over a gap or barrier)

Robert Buckley, Rotolo Middle School

William Rank, Oak Prairie Junior High School

The Oak Prairie Junior High School Symphonic Band

2017 Illinois Music Education Conference

Friday, January 27, 2017 - 2:30-3:30pm

Peoria Civic Center Room 401

Mr. Rob Buckley has taught band at Rotolo Middle School since 1998. As one of three band teachers at RMS, Rob team teaches seven concert bands each day. Rob directs the RMS sixth grade band while teaching sectionals and group lessons to seventh and eighth grade students. In addition to the concert bands, Rob directs the RMS Jazz Band (open enrollment jazz ensemble), and helps teach lessons at Hoover-Wood Elementary School. Rob also serves on the Rotolo MS School Leadership Team, the Batavia Music Buffs Executive Board as middle school rep, and has recently joined the Illinois Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Team.

Rob earned both his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education degrees from the University of Illinois. While at U of I, Rob was a member of Golden Key Honor Society and Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society. Mentor teachers have included Dr. Deborah Confredo, Dr. Peter Griffin, Dr. John Grashel, and Mr. Gary Smith.

Still an active percussionist, Rob performs with the Naperville Municipal Band and the Holy Cross Church Contemporary Ensemble. A resident of Batavia, Rob enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and black lab-mix Savannah, going on long walks, golfing, grilling, reading, building model airplanes, and learning more about educational technology and CMP.
Image result for rob buckley rotolo middle school

Mr. William Rank is starting his 12th year as Band Director at Oak Prairie JHS, which services parts of Lockport, Lemont, and Homer Glen.  Mr. Rank conducts the Oak Prairie Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Intermediate Band and two jazz ensembles.  He also teaches semester general music classes in Music Technology.  Prior to teaching at Oak Prairie, Mr. Rank taught four years at Scullen Middle School in Naperville, and two years as an assistant at Champaign Central High School in Champaign. Mr. Rank’s ensembles have consistently received excellent ratings at local and state festivals.  In 2011 the Oak Prairie Jazz Band 1 performed at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference.  The following December, the Oak Prairie Jazz Band 1 assisted Jose Diaz, J. Richard Dunscomb and Tony Garcia as a rehearsal lab band at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago.

Mr. Rank received the Bachelors and Masters degrees in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He was awarded the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award and is currently on the leadership committee for the
Illinois Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Project.

As a freelance saxophonist, Mr. Rank has performed at the World Saxophone Congress and received an Outstanding Soloist Award at the North Texas Jazz Festival.  Mr. Rank is an active member in the Illinois Music Educators Association, Illinois Grade School Music Association, Jazz Education Network, National Band Association, North American Saxophone Alliance, Technology Institute for Music Educators, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association.  He currently performs with the Brass Tracks Jazz Orchestra.  Mr. Rank lives in Oak Forest with his wife Christy and daughter Samantha.

The Oak Prairie Junior High School Symphonic Band

The Oak Prairie Junior High School Symphonic Band is the culminating symphonic ensemble of the Will County School District 92 Band Program. Symphonic Band performs four to six times each year in various environments.

They have received ten consecutive Division I ratings at IGSMA District VI Organizational Contest and once received a perfect score from all three judges. In the past, they have attended the State of Illinois Concert Band Contest, VanderCook College Band Day, and the IGSMA State Festival.

Symphonic Band is a curricular ensemble that meets every day for 42 minutes. The focus of the ensemble is to develop musical excellence, a deeper understanding of the music using Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance, and create a more emotionally convincing musical outcome. Membership in Symphonic Band is based on a qualifying audition and is comprised of approximately two­-thirds eighth grade students and one-­third seventh grade students.

What Makes It Great?

What Makes it Cliche?

Goes down easy”
Stays in the comfort zone
Amuses us
Makes a simple point
Is more one-dimensional
Is obvious
Satisfies the “sweet tooth”
Puts value on external
Created to sell

Expects you to “chew”
Provokes and challenges
Changes us
Operates on multiple layers
Is open to a variety of interpretations
Is nuanced and subtle
Puts value on inner depth
Created for meaning

What Makes It Great?

Adapted from “Merit & Meaning: The Search for Quality Music” by Randal Swiggum

Musical Examples from Rob Kapilow’s “What Makes it Great?”

Something Different: A good composition has something ingenious that holds our attention, makes us remember it vividly and want to ‘relive’ that special moment in the piece that makes it memorable.  There may be something novel in the piece that is innovative or strange and sets it apart, or it may be that the composer is doing the same old thing, but doing it in an especially beautiful or meaningful way. A question I often ask student composers (and applies to any piece of music) is: “What does this piece say better (or at least very differently) than any other piece similar to it?” Does it stand alone as a unique artistic expression? What is inventive or new about the piece? Does it avoid cliche and triviality?

        “Transcendental” Etude in A Minor by Franz Liszt

Form (Balance): Good form usually means the proper balance between two key principles: repetition and contrast.  Too much repetition of the same ideas creates monotony whereas too much contrast gives the ear nothing to latch on to, recall and identify.  Both are needed, but either in extreme create a kind of formlessness.

        Spring from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi

Strategic Design (Related to Form): On a larger level than musical details, good compositions reflect the conscious design of their composer.  All good pieces are a series of musical “events”. Has the composer paced these events in an effective way? Do the climaxes happen at the most strategic points? Is the transitional material logical and does it help the flow between “events”?

Unpredictability: Does the piece have “designed uncertainties”? Enough surprises? Does it contain enough harmonic twists, melodic variation or rhythmic development to keep the listener sufficiently off-guard enough to stay interested? If a musical idea is repeated twice, the third time should delight the ear with the unexpected.  A good composition reveals a striving toward a musical goal - the best pieces have unusual musical goals that are reached in often indirect, unpredictable ways. A very predictable musical goal reached by the quickest, most obvious or most direct route will be less effective. If there are too many or too elaborate diversions along the way, this also weaken its musical effect.

        String Quartet, Op 76, No. 1, Movement 3 by Franz Josef Haydn

Sufficient Depth: Does the piece bear repeated hearings? In fact, if the ear can grasp most everything on first hearing, or if every phrase of its music or text can be predicted accurately on first hearing, the value of the piece is probably minimized.  If it is sufficiently unpredictable to preclude an immediate grasp of its meaning, it will sustain its intrigue through repeated hearings.  Truly great music usually demands repeated hearings to probe its layers of meaning. This is one of the differences between art music and entertainment music.  One is meant to make a quick, immediate impression; the other offers new riches even after the hundredth listening.  This does not necessarily mean the music need be more difficult or complex.  A solo Bach melody like “Bist du bei mir” continually reveals the genius of its construction and the force of its expressive power, though it can be sung by children. It is both simple and sophisticated.

        “Invention No. 1” from The Two-Part Inventions by J.S. Bach

Consistent Quality & Style: Are all the sections of the piece consistent in quality? Profound moments should not be followed by trivial ones. Does the piece sound like everything belongs together? Anything that seems “out of place” in the piece should have a good reason for being there. A combination of styles in a single piece should only exist if this is part of the composer’s artistic vision, not because of carelessness, incompetence, accident or poor taste.

Effective Orchestration/Voicing: Does the piece use various colors and textures effectively? Does the composer show knowledge of voices or instruments? Is there good craftsmanship in the way the parts are handled? Again, strange choices of voicing or texture should be be based on an artistic vision, not incompetence or accident.

“Trepak” from the Nutcracker Suite by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Distinctive Text: Does the piece use a worthy text? Is this a text that will provoke discussion or insight on its own, apart from its musical setting?

“Die Erlkönig” by Franz Schubert (poem by Goethe)

Excellent Union of Text & Music: Does the composer show an understanding of the text? Is it a “happy marriage” of text and music? Is the composer sensitive to the structure and poetic devices of the text? Does the music “add” anything to the text or further amplify its expressive power?

        “Hallelujah” from The Messiah by George Frederick Handel

For more reflection:

Stephen Budiansky, “The Kids Play Great, But That Music... ”
Washington Post, January 30, 2005

Stephen Budiansky & Tim Foley, “The quality of repertoire in school music programs: literature review, analysis, and discussion”, WASBE Vol 12 (2005)

Band Masterworks

Air for Band (Grade 2)                                        Frank Erickson

This is a superior work for teaching sostenuto style and technique.

America, The Beautiful (Grade 3)                                Samuel A. Ward/
                                                                arr. Carmen Dragon

The lyrics to America, the Beautiful were written in 1893 by Katharine Lee Bates, an English teacher at Wellesley College.  She had taken a trip to Colorado Springs to teach a short summer session at Colorado College and several sights found there way into her poem, including the Chicago World’s Fair, the wheat fields of Kansas, and the majestic view of the Great Plains from Pike’s Peak. The lyric was set to a previous hymn Materna composed by Samuel A. Ward in 1882.

Cenotaph (Grade 3)                                                Jack Stamp

A cenotaph is a “statue or monument to a person not buried there.”  The Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monuments are familiar examples of cenotaphs.  This fanfare connotes a breathtaking structure such as one of these cenotaphs.  After the explosive percussion introduction, the work begins with a five-part fugue.  An accelerando leads to a layering of ostinatos including a 7/8 hemiola in the woodwinds.  The fugue subject returns in augmentation and is harmonized in a chorale style.  

Chant Rituals (Grade 2.5)                                        Elliot Del Borgo

Cast in three main sections, Chant Rituals makes use of two contrasting thematic statements to exploit the timbral and rhythmic resources of the symphonic band.  A highly chromatic middle section leads to a dramatic restatement of the original material.

Chorale and Shaker Dance II (Grade 3)                        John Zdechlik

Zdechlik’s Chorale and Shaker Dance is based on an original 4 part chorale composed and the melody Simple Gifts.  This outstanding work demonstrates a level of counterpoint and compositional techniques not generally found at this grade level. There are many soloistic passages throughout, especially in the percussion, alto saxophone and flute.

Creed (Grade 2)                                                William Himes

A Creed is a statement of belief.  This piece, while not literally programmatic, seeks to convey a sense of affirmation and trust – those ideals considered to be the basis of humanity.  The result is music which is descriptive and atmospheric, conjuring a variety of moods ranging from reflection to exultation.

Down a Country Lane (Grade 2)                                Aaron Copland/arr. Patterson

Aaron Copland was an American composer of concert and film music.  Instrumental in forging a uniquely American style of composition, he is widely regarded as the “dean of American composers”.  Copland’s music achieved a difficult balance between the modern and American folk styles, and the open, slowly changing harmonies of his works are said to evoke the vast American landscape in  Down a Country Lane.

Early English Suite (Grade 2.5)                                Duncombe & Hook/arr. Finlayson

A set of four movements containing English melodies by two different composers, William Duncombe (1737-1819) and James Hook (1746-1827).  The first movement, Trumpet Menuet, features the trumpet section on a fanfare that repeats several times.  The rest of the band joins the trumpets after a few measures of fanfare.  The “Minuet,” as it is more commonly spelled, is known for showing the typical snobbery and arrogance of 18th century England.

The second movement, Sonatina, is a simple melody set over accompanying chords.

Movement three is another Menuet, but sounds quite different.  Much like the Sonatina, it has a legato clarinet melody with an accompaniment.  However, this movement differs because many parts are more rhythmically active and independent.

The final movement, Hunting Jig, has taught the students how to play in 6/8 time.  The “jig” originated as a dance, but then was used as the closing movement to a formal suite, or piece with several movements.  The Hunting Jig is very lively and features the trumpets in another short fanfare.  The woodwinds also have the opportunity to play some challenging technical parts, which require fast movement of their fingers.

Fantasy on “Yankee Doodle” (Grade 2.5)                        Mark Williams

A free treatment of one of America’s most famous early songs, it was commissioned by, and premiered at, the Bethlehem Central School District Band Festival in Delmar, NY, on March 16, 1995 with the composer conducting.  Traditions place its origin in a pre-Revolutionary War song originally by British military officers to mock the disheveled, disorganized colonial “Yankees” with whom they served in the French and Indian War.  It is believed that the tune comes from the nursery rhyme “Lucy Locket”.

First Suite for Military Band (Grade 4)                        Gustav Holst

THE standard on which every other band work is measured!  There is also an edition of the First Suite by Robert Longfield (Grade 3) that is a little more accessible, eliminating some of the extreme ranges and outdated instrumentation, without losing too much of the genius of the original.

Georgian Suite (Grade 3)                                        Samuel Hazo

Ascend was commissioned by Erin Cole for her students at Tapp Middle School in Powder Springs, Georgia.  This particular commission was made in conjunction with Tapp’s prestigious invitation to perform at the 2004 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.  Erin had previously heard a composition of mine titled Ride, and had asked if Tapp’s piece could be of that energy level, only written for middle level students.  I incorporated the use of parallel major and minor keys, as well as themes in the mixolydian mode, to give the composition its sense of adventure.  Combining the triumphant qualities of a major key with the instant drama of a minor key can give a piece intensity through its harmonic contrast.  Mixed meters and syncopation gives the themes a unique edge, while still keeping them simple enough to the ear to be sung.  A brief three-part fugue introduced as the “C” section returns in the end, woven with a trumpet, sax and horn syncopated ostinato.

Rivers was composed for Mrs. Mary Land, Conductor of the exceptional Pickens County Middle School Band Program.  In the spring of 2003, Mrs. Land approached me about writing a composition for Pickens County Middle School.  The more we spoke, the more she shared with me the pain she felt when her school was split a year earlier because a second middle school was built in her district.  Losing half of the children in her band meant saying “goodbye” to students she loved; half of the 500-student band program that she worked tirelessly to build.  The premise of Rivers is completely analogous to her situation.  I remember thinking that rivers can divide without losing of themselves, and that this is one of nature’s most impressive illusions.  As with rivers in nature, when as school or music ensemble divides into two separate parts, there is no option of being half of a school or half of a band.  Each half is now forced to be an entity unto itself.  In the composition of Rivers there are three individual themes that are introduced and then played together in the end.

Great Locomotive Chase (Grade 3)                        Robert W. Smith

Based on the story of Andrews' Raid that occurred April 12, 1862, in northern Georgia during the American Civil War. Volunteers from the Union Army stole a train in an effort to disrupt the vital Western & Atlantic Railroad (W&A), which ran from Atlanta, Georgia, to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  They were pursued by other locomotives, and the raiders were eventually captured, with some being executed as spies. Some of Andrews' Raiders became the very first recipients of the Medal of Honor.  Robert W. Smith’s creative interpretation of these events showcases many of the extended techniques not commonly used on band instruments.

Greenwillow Portrait (Grade 2)                                Mark Williams

Written in the British folk-song style of the great composers Percy Grainger, Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughn Williams, Greenwillow Portrait displays the ability of the wind band to play very lyrically with long flowing phrases.

“Mark Williams has written a beautiful arrangement here. I don't think there is a better work for teaching lyrical playing at this grade level. Greenwillow strikes one as an Irish Tune from County Derry within the capabilities of the young band student. This one would sound just as convincing being played by professionals as by younger students. You may want to do some editing by way of adding a number of slurs to enhance the musical line.” - Doug Akey

Hymn for Band (Grade 2)                                        Hugh Stuart

Hugh Stuart wrote A Hymn for Band in 1985 because he "felt for some time that there was a need for a piece which, in addition to any aesthetic value it might have, could be used as a tool to help develop a better band sound through the performance of a legato style."  Since its composition, A Hymn for Band has become a standard in band literature because it achieves his goal so well.  Composers rarely succeed in writing a piece that is this pleasing for an audience to listen to, while being so effective teaching musical concepts to young students.  The horns and alto saxophones are featured throughout the piece on a soaring melody which is complemented by a beautiful countermelody.

Linden Lea (Grade 3)                                        Ralph Vaughan Williams/arr. Stout        

Linden Lea is a straightforward adaptation of the famous song by Vaughan Williams.  The song is especially familiar in Britain, where the melody is known in virtually every household.  Varied instrumental color and slight tempo changes are utilized to heighten the emotional appeal of this attractive melody.

On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss (Grade 2)                        David Holsinger

On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss is a beautiful arrangement of the popular hymn “It is Well With My Soul.”  Holsinger begins the piece with a flowing woodwind line before the horns begin the main melody.  The melody then passes to other instruments of the band, one phrase at a time, before its completion.  A developmental section precedes a beautiful brass choir setting of the tune.  The intensity grows and reaches an exhilarating climax before an emotional, yet calming completion of the piece.

Overture for Winds (Grade 3)                                Charles Carter

Overture for Winds is an outstanding example of an ABA’ form piece with two opening themes, rhythmic and energetic, being contrasted by slower more lyrical themes of the middle section.  Before the final A section, both the primary and secondary themes are presented using many compositional devices, including augmentation, fragmentation, stretto and fugue.

Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo (Grade 4)                        Malcolm Arnold/John Paynter

This is the one piece that allows the advanced young band to experience the unique writing of this contemporary English composer. There are numerous solo passages, and yet the technical writing is all very well considered. It is almost as though Arnold/Paynter were trying to make this one more accessible than the other suites.

Rhythm Machine (Grade 2)                                        Timothy Broege

Rhythm Machine was composed in 1974 and revised in 1985.  The piece is cast in the form of an old French rondeau (rondo) in which repetitions of a refrain are separated by a number of contrasting verses.  Verse 1 has an urgent, exciting feel in contrast with Verse 2 which is much more gentle and lyrical.  Verse 3 is very pompous and march-like, in homage to Gustav Holsts’ Mars.

Second Suite for Military Band (Grade 4)                        Gustav Holst

First Suite’s younger sister! As mesmerizing and rich as Holst’s First Suite!

Shepherd’s Hey (Grade 1)                                        Percy A. Grainger/
                                                                arr. Chip DeStefano

An accessible arrangement for young band that only uses six notes, it still retains the character of Grainger’s setting.  This is a great introduction to the wind band traditions of Great Britain.

Song for Friends (Grade 1)                                        Larry Daehn

Concepts that are reflected in this piece include melody, counter melody, phrasing, dynamics, and musical form.  A Song for Friends is in ABA form, which begins with the original statement of a melody, the introduction of a secondary melody, and then a restatement of the melody.  The restatement of the melody builds into a dramatic climax, emphasized by a key change and the introduction of a counter melody in the clarinets, saxophones and horns.

Song Without Words (Grade 2)                                Gustav Holst/arr. Michael Story

The second movement of Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F for Military Band, this gorgeous arrangement allows younger ensembles to experience one of the standard works of the wind band repertoire, but still maintaining the integrity of the original work.

Toccata for Band (Grade 3)                                        Frank Erickson

A toccata is a musical form with a main section that keeps repeating, but is separated by different sections each time.  Frank Erickson uses this form in a slightly different way in this piece.  The opening of the piece is a very straightforward statement of the main theme that returns several times throughout the piece.  The difference is that rather than supplement with completely new material between statements, Erickson alters the original theme by changing the rhythms.  The contrasting middle section is a slow, lyrical section consisting of new material.  However, it is quickly followed by an altered statement of the original theme, which is further developed for the rest of the piece.

Ye Banks and Braes O’Bonnie Doon (Grade 3)                Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger was an Australian-born pianist, saxophonist and composer during the early part of the 20th century.  An ethnomusicologist of the British Isles, Grainger traveled the countryside collecting wax recordings of folk melodies.  Ye Banks and Braes O’Bonnie Doon first appeared in the Scots Musical Museum in a 1792 volume.

Whirlwind (Grade 1)                                                Jodie Blackshaw

A number of unusual musical devices are used in Whirlwind, which distinguish it from other young band repertoire.  The use of soundscape sections at the beginning and end of the piece introduce students to cueing from a conductor, free time, and an increased aural awareness of other players contributions to the work.  Through its simple structural concepts such as using only four notes and a repeated melody in unison or loosely canonically, the work encourages the young player to focus not on pitch and harmony, but rather, on sound, tone color, form and expression.  The theatrical nature created by the soundscapes and the unusual percussion - handmade waterglass and rattle instruments, whirling tubes - allow each student to listen, watch and contribute in order to understand what’s happening.  Whirlwind is the First Prize Winner of the Frank Tichelli Composition Contest (Category 1 - Beginning Bands).

With Each Sunset (Grade 3)                                Richard Saucedo

Written in memory of Jack Hensley from Cobb County, Georgia, With Each Sunset (Comes the Promise of a New Day) reflects on this man who lost his life while working in Iraq in 2004.  The piece features different textures and a variety of wind “choirs” throughout.

With Quiet Courage (Grade 3)                                Larry Daehn

Larry Daehn wrote With Quiet Courage in memory of his mother, Lois Daehn.  It was premiered by the U.S. Navy Band on September 16, 1995.  The piece contains a beautiful melody accompanied by a majestic countermelody.  The students have been challenged to develop their musical maturity and ability to blend beautiful sounds at any dynamic level.  The composer included this poem in the score:

Her life was heroic, but without fanfare.  She worked and hoped and inspired.

She loved and was loved.  Her life was a noble song of quiet courage.


Academic Festival Overture (Grade 3)                        Johannes Brahms/

arr. James Swearingen

In 1879, Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was given a degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Breslau.  Brahms composed Academic Festival Overture as an expression of gratitude to the university.  Brahms conducted the premiere performance of the work at the University of Breslau in January of 1881.  Brahms may have hand written a thank you note to the university.  The conductor of the university orchestra and friend mentioned that this may have been in poor taste, and suggested that he write a work for the school.  Brahms might have shown his sarcastic side in the use of traditional German student songs for the honorary piece dedicated to the university.  “A pouporri of student songs a la Suppe” - humorous reference to Franz von Suppe’s operetta Flotte Bursche which was a simple medley and included Glaudiamus.

Adagio Canabile from Sonata Pathetique (Grade 2)        Ludwig van Beethoven/

arr. Larry Daehn

Ludwig von Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 13, commonly known as Sonata Pathetique, was written in 1798 when the composer was 28 years old.  The Sonata Pathetique, one of Beethoven’s most well-known works, is perhaps the earliest of his compositions to achieve widespread popularity. Adagio Cantabile, the beautiful second movement, has remained the most popular through the years.

Dance of the Tumblers from the Snow Maiden (Gr. 2)        Rimsky-Korsakov/

arr. James Curnow

This up-tempo arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov is very accessible to young bands.  Curnow is very careful in his arrangement to divide the clarinets and trumpets, so the musical line sounds continuous, but allowing the young musician to focus on smaller rhythmic patterns.    

From The New World (Themes)                                Antonin Dvorak/arr. Mike Story

A unique setting of three brief movements taken from the famous Symphony No. 9. Each of the three movements are in different styles and best represent the most well known themes of this masterpiece. An epic and important contribution to young band repertoire.

Hymn from Vespers Opus 37 (Grade 2)                        Sergei Rachmaninov/
                                                                arr. Mark Grauer

During the period from 1880 to 1917 a renaissance occurred in Russian choral music, resulting in the "New Russian Choral School" of composers. Whileninov wrote o Sergei Rachmanly a few choral works, they are among the crowning achievements of Russian choral music. His All-Night Vigil (Vespers) represents the culmination of the work of the New Russian Choral School of composers. The All-Night Vigil is comprised of texts for the services of Vespers, Matins and Prime. Composed in 1915, it was probably intended for concert performance rather than for liturgical use, although Rachmaninov did not specify. However, from the time of its premiere up to the present day, it has been heard almost exclusively in concert settings. Rachmaninov was not particularly religious and not intimately familiar with the liturgy and traditional musical settings of the church; thus, his compositional approach to the All-Night Vigil was fresh, innovative and unique.

Nutcracker, The

The Nutcracker is a very popular ballet that was written in 1892 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, making it his final work. The ballet's scenario is based on a story in which the young Clara gets a nutcracker as a gift from her uncle Drosselmeyer. The nutcracker comes to life, defeats an army of rats, and whisks Clara away to the land of sweets for what amounts to an act-long divertissement. Tchaikovsky conjures up the candy kingdom in all of its eye-popping wonder, introducing various characters (the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy) and nationalities (the Arabian dance, the Chinese dance, and the Trépak, a Russian dance) as well as providing the necessary sweeping tunes for displaying the full corps de ballet (the Waltz of the Flowers).

Overture 1812 (Grade 3)                                        Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky/

arr. Robert Longfield

The 1812 Overture is an orchestral overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, commemorating the unsuccessful French invasion into Russia, and the subsequent withdrawal that devastated Napoleon’s Grande Armee, an even that marked 1812 as the major turning point of the Napoleonic Wars. A great way to study his use of thematic material and the nationalistic rise in the late 19th century.

Planets, The (Many Arrangements & Grade Levels)

The Planets, Opus 32 is a seven movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916.  The concept of the work is astrological rather than astronomical, which is why Earth is not included in the seven movements.  Mars, The Bringer of War features a driving rhythmic ostinato pattern in the 5/4 time signature that draws upon the imagery of a warring army.  Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity begins with a flurry of sound, and a forceful brass fanfare.  Jupiter’s mood swings back and forth between a lighter jovial spirit and a heavier swagger.

Jupiter is the fourth movement of Gustav Holst’s suite entitled The Planets, originally written for orchestra in 1915.  The original music contains many different moods, which help an audience member envision outer space.  The arrangement performed this evening features only a brief introduction to Jupiter’s lively character and then focuses on its beautiful chorale.  Many different sections in the ensemble take turns playing the melody in a connected, legato style.  As the melody changes voices, the accompaniment will also move between sections.  Eventually, all sections join together for an exciting climax!

Prelude and Fugue in Bb Major (Grade 3)                        J.S. Bach/Moehlmann

Prelude and Fugue in Bb Major was originally written for organ by J.S. Bach.  As the title indicates, it is in two sections, a prelude and a fugue.  The prelude features short statements of eighth notes which are passed between sections of the band.  A fugue is characterized by a group of instruments stating a theme, and then various other groups of instruments imitating their original entrance.  A fugue generally sounds very busy and has many different layers being performed at once.  Try to imagine all of the parts you are hearing being played by a single performer seated at an organ in a large cathedral, as it was originally intended.

Romance, Op 40 (Grade 2)                                        Ludwig van Beethoven/
                                                                arr. Todd Stalter

The Romance for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 in G major, Op. 40 is a composition for violin and orchestra by Ludwig van Beethoven, one of two such compositions, the other being Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50. It was written in 1802, four years after the second romance, and was published 1803, two years before the publication of the second. Thus, this romance was designated as Beethoven's first.  We tend to think of Romance as being a feeling between people, but in the early 1800’s there was a shift in thought from the logic of the classical period (based on Greek studies) to a more emotional and expressive period (based on the arts of Roman culture).  This Romantic shift in art, literature, dance, theatre, and music.

Salvation is Created (Grade 2)                                Pavel Chesnokov/
                                                                arr. Michael Brown

Pavel Chesnokov (1877- 1944) was Russian Empire and Soviet composer, choral conductor and teacher.  He composed over 500 choral works, the first 400 were sacred works and the final 100 were secular.  Educated at the Moscow Conservatory, extensively trained in instrumental and vocal.  By 1917, during the Bolshevik Revolution and under subsequent communist rule, no one was permitted to produce any form of sacred music, thus hindering Chesnokov’s compositional output.  When the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was destroyed (Chesnokov was the last choir master), he was so disturbed that he completely stopped writing music.   Salvation Is Created is a choral work, composed in 1912, probably one of Chesnokov’s very last sacred works before he was forced to turn to secular composition by the Soviet government.  Based on it’s popularity, was published in both Russian and English.  Scored for either six (SATTBB) voices (unaccompanied), the work is a communion hymn based on a Kievan synodal chant melody and Psalm 74.

Sarabande and Gavotte (Grade 3)                                Archangelo Corelli/
                                                                arr. Philip Gordon

Archangelo Corelli (1655-1713), the most famous Italian violinist of his time, is remembered today principally for his beautiful concerti grossi for string orchestra.  Corelli’s music is notable for melodic warmth and graceful delicacy of rhythm.  Sarabande and Gavotte is from Corelli’s Opus 6, No. 8, the so-called “Christmas Concerto”.  Philip Gordon has selected two movements and arranged them for modern bands.

Scenes from Russia (Grade 1.5)                                arr. Elliot Del Borgo

Based on the famous Russian folk song, “Meadowlands.”  This Del Borgo setting is written as a theme and variations in two parts.  The first third of the song is a slow ballad characteristic of Meadowlands is written in a cantabile style.  The variations are stated in the faster “Con Spirito” section.  Included in the variations, a march variation and a dance variation.  

Finale from Symphony No. 15 (Grade 2)                        Wolfgang A. Mozart/
                                                                arr. Larry Daehn

Considered one of Mozart’s early Salzburg-era Symphonies, it was completed on February 21, 1772.  The Finale shows the influence of the Italian opera buffa probably the result of a recent trip to Milan.  The Finale is in Rondo form: ABACA.

Three Hungarian Songs (Grade 2)                                Bela Bartok/
                                                                arr. Philip Gordon

Three Hungarian Songs is based on the folksongs and dances collected by Bela Bartok from peasants and Gypsies during his pioneering ethno-musicological field trips through Hungary in 1910-1914.  These short works emphasize style and variations in articulation against a very simple harmonic accompaniments.

Historical Pieces

The Battle Pavane (Grade 2)                                Tielman Susato/arr. Bob Margolis

Tielman Susato was a composer, arranger and publisher of music. He may have been from Soest in Netherlands, or a town in Westphalia. He later moved to North Holland and eventually Sweden.  At various times he was also a calligrapher, and trumpeter, at Antwerp Cathedral in Belgium. He was the major music publisher in the Low Countries from 1543 to 1561, publishing music of composers such as Crecquillon, Josquin des Prez, Handl, Clement Jannequin, Clemens non Papa, and Lassus. His editions include 19 books of motets, 3 books of masses, 25 books of chansons, and 11 Musyck boexken, from the third of which, “alderhande Danserye” (1551), a collection of popular dance tunes arranged by Susato, is taken the present work, the Battle Pavane.  This arrangement for concert band by Bob Margolis closely follows Susato’s original four part arrangement.

Belle Qui Tiens Ma Vie (Grade 2)                                Thinoit Arbeau/arr. Bob Margolis

This is a beautifully scored pavane. The notes and rhythms are very simple, but the music has so much to offer those who want their bands to learn to play lyrically and with sensitivity to intonation. The creative use of instrumental colors and the extreme attention given to dynamic markings make this a valuable work for all levels – including professional.

Courtly Airs and Dances (Grade 4)                                arr. Ron Nelson

Courtly Airs and Dances is a suite of Renaissance dances which were characteristic to five European countries during the 1500s.  Three of the dances (Basse Danse, Pavane and Allemande) are meant to emulate the music of Claude Gervaise by drawing on the style of his music as well as the characteristics of other compositions from that period.  The festival opens with a fanfare-like Intrada followed by Basse Danse (France), Pavane (England), Saltarello (Italy), Sarabande (Spain) and Allemande (Germany).  Ron Nelson, a native of Joliet, Illinois, received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1952, Masters of Music degree in 1953 and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1956 from Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.  Dr. Nelson joined taught at Brown University from 1956 through 1993.

Court Festival (Grade 1)                                        William Byrd/arr. Bruce Pearson

A very accessible arrangement of The Earle of Oxford’s Marche that would provide a great introduction to Renaissance Music for a young band.

Fanfare, Ode and Festival (Grade 2)                        arr. Bob Margolis

A multi-movement work, based on popular dances of 16th century Paris.  Early dance music such as this is particularly appropriate for band: It was originally written for winds (a small Renaissance band).  This suite of popular dances is based upon music published by Pierre Attaignant in a six volume collection, Danceries.  Pierre Attaignant employed Claude Gervaise as his editor. Fanfare begins with the brass and percussion stating the main theme.  It is answered mostly by woodwinds with a secondary theme.  The main theme quickly returns for the conclusion of this short movement.  Ode is slower and much more connected than Fanfare.  It features the woodwind and brass sections in a choral setting, taking turns with their music.  Festival is a fun and exciting conclusion to the piece.

Music for the Royal Fireworks (Grade 2.5)                George Frederick Handel/
                                                                arr. Bruce Pearson

Three (or four movements - the two Minuets are combined into one movement) of one of the first compositions specifically written for Wind Band, although having Handel’s instrumentation is probably not ideal for the concert hall (24 oboes, 12 bassoons, 9 trumpets, 9 horns and percussion).  This work gives students an awesome opportunity to explore the development of their instruments and the opportunity to explore Handel’s original score.

Renaissance Suite                                                arr. James Curnow

Originally published in 1551 by Tielman Sustato in the book Dansseryr, Het derde Musyck boexhen (Dances, the third little book of music), these three short dances were arranged for the modern concert band by James Curnow and published as a Renaissance Suite.  The arranger has attempted to remain as true to the original setting as possible, especially in the use of percussion instruments.  

Soldiers Procession and Sword Dance (Grade 2)        Tylman Sustato/arr. Bob Margolis

Source of the two movements comes from the suite of dances/rondos titled Danserye (1551).  Margolis does an excellent job keeping the source material (original melodies) in tact.  He also creates authentic timbres with his instrument groupings. The two movements contrast with the first movement being darker in timbre, slightly slower, and more dignified.  The second movement is lighter and quicker.  

A Tallis Prelude (Grade 3)                                        Thomas Tallis/ arr. Doug Akey

A Tallis Prelude is based on the same theme as the Vaughn William’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Whenever the Tallis theme is being stated, the piece is actually written in the phrygian mode – when derivative material is being presented, it reverts to the relative major key. Simple meter changes are used, as well as rhythmic hemiola. The bass line is very important (having the melody in two places), though the parts are thoroughly doubled.


Brighton Beach Concert March (Grade 3)                        William Latham

Composer William P. Latham served on the faculty of the University of North Texas College of Music from 1965 until his retirement in 1984.  Throughout his extensive career, he taught both music theory and composition. Brighton Beach was Latham’s first published work for band and was an immediate success. It was repeatedly listed among the “100 most popular marches” in the Instrumentalist Magazine.  The style is a British March, in the tradition of Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.  The title refers to the famous resort on the southern coast of England.

E Plurbis Unum                                                Fred Jewell

This American march follows a traditional form, with an introduction, first and second strain, Trio, break strain, and reprise of the Trio melody.  The first two strains are very conventional with melody in the upper voices, and other voices combining to provide accompaniment and countermelody.  After a short percussion break, the band enters with the Trio melody, sounding like a “soft-shoe” kind of dance.  As the band repeats the Trio, the upper woodwinds add a similar sounding part that is more active and slightly humorous.  Following  the Trio, the band completely changes character  with a very raucous break strain.  Finally, the Trio melody returns with a fuller, more characteristic treatment.

La Companera (Grade 3)                                        Charles Wiley

The most characteristic Spanish march form is the Pasodoble.  Spanish marches often have fanfares at the beginning or end of strains that are reminiscent of traditional bullfight or flamenco music.  These marches often move back and forth between major and relative minor keys, and can show a great variation in tempo during the course of the work.  La Companera is a traditional Pasodoble by Charles Wiley.

King Cotton (Grade 3)                                        John Philip Sousa

Composed for the Cotton States and International Exposition of 1895 at a time in America’s history when cotton was “king”.  King Cotton was one of Sousa’s personal favorites and it has become one of his most popular marches.   This march is in standard march form utilizing break strains in the trio section, much like the form of Stars and Stripes Forever.

Midway March (Grade 2)                                        John Williams/arr. John Moss

“Midway” is a 1976 war film that chronicles the Battle of Midway, a turning point of World War II in the Pacific Theater.  The Imperial Japanese Navy had been undefeated until that time and out-numbered the American naval forces by four to one.  The score for the film was written by John Williams.  Midway March is not a typical march, as it is written in the 12/8 time signature.  The use of the flute tutti is typical of other World War II era musical numbers and the various melodies capture the flavor of music from the period.

Sinfonians (Grade 4)                                                Clifton Williams

The Sinfonians is a symphonic march, which is a piece using march style, but not traditional march form.  It begins with a long introduction featuring short fanfares from the trumpets that are answered by the rest of the band.  The woodwinds then state a beautiful, regal melody.  That material is used throughout the rest of the piece until a grandioso section at the end brings the piece to a majestic end.  Clifton Williams wrote The Sinfonians as a tribute to Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a professional men’s music fraternity.

Stars and Stripes Forever (Grade 3)                        John Philip Sousa

Possibly the most famous march in the world, Stars and Stripes Forever is the magnum opus of composer and band leader John Philip Sousa.  In his autobiography, Marching Along, Sousa told how he composed it on Christmas Day in 1896.  He had just learned of the recent death of David Blakely, then manager of the Sousa Band.  Sousa was on a ferry in Europe at the time, and he composed the march in his head.  He committed the notes to paper on arrival in America.

Streets of Madrid (Grade 2)                                        John Moss

The Streets of Madrid is a Spanish march with a much different feel than a standard American march.  It begins as if the band is introducing a matador at a bullfight!  However, the trumpets then play the main theme which is less rhythmic and much more legato.  Also unlike an American march, The Streets of Madrid is written in only two sections.  The second section changes keys as a standard march would, and features the woodwinds on another legato melody.  The rest of the band joins for the second half of that section to bring the march to a close.

Washington Post March (Grade 3)                                John Philip Sousa/
                                                                arr. James Swearingen

In 1889, owners of the Washington Post newspaper requested the then-current leader of the Marine Band to compose a march for the newspaper’s essay contest awards ceremony.  Sousa obliged and it was first performed on June 15, 1889 at the ceremony and became an instant hit.  The Washington Post March is written in 6/8 meter and utilizes a typical march form with a “dog fight” between the restatements of the trio melody.

Valdres (Grade 4)                                                Johannes Hanssen/
                                                                arr. Loras Schissel

The first thing the audience might notice about the Norwegian march Valdres is that it is slightly slower than most American marches.  This is characteristic of most European Marches.  The form is also different.  There is a short introduction followed by a solo trumpet stating the first theme.  This theme is repeated by the lower voices in the band, while the upper voices play a challenging accompaniment line.  There is a very aggressive section, known as the break strain, before the final statement of the first melody.  This leads to the trio section, which changes mood and dynamic.  Again, solo trumpet states the new theme and it is answered by lower voices in the band.  The trio takes the listener back to the beginning of the piece where the band repeats the entire first section.

Arrangements of Folk Songs

African Folk Trilogy (Grade 1.5)                                arr. Anne McGinty

A medley of three authentic folk songs from different African regions with contrasting timbres and tempos.  Piece begins with “Banuwa” known by some as an African Noel.  The texture builds from simple monophony to polyphony as more instruments are added.  McGinty uses canon very effectively in the second folk song “Ditho tsa mmele.”  The third piece, “Sansa Kroma” uses call and response between the brass and woodwinds.  

All the Pretty Little Horses        (Grade 2)                        Traditional/arr. Anne McGinty

An American folk lullaby in a minor mode.  This arrangement, introduced by a plaintive original melody in the first clarinet part, presents the song in 4/4, then in 3/4 at a slightly faster tempo, and returns to 4/4 for the conclusion.  The addition of linear, moving lines and impressionistic harmonic progressions adds color and style to this arrangement.  The words of the folk song are gentle and optimistic:

        Hushabye, don’t you cry, go to sleepy little baby,

        When you wake, you shall have all the pretty little horses,

        Blacks and bays, dapples and grays, coach and six a little horses,

        Hushabye, don’t you cry, go to sleepy little baby.

All Ye Young Sailors (Grade 1.5)                                arr. Pierre La Plante

The piece is based on the famous sea chantey “Blow the Man Down.”  The piece does a great job of introducing compound meter (6/8 time) to young students.  La Plante creates unique statements of the melody by using a “call and response” throughout.  The piece uses several examples of contrast.   LaPlante uses contrasting timbres during each statement of the melody.  LaPlante also contrasts legato fragments and staccato fragments during the third melodic statement.  LaPlante uses subito dynamics to bring out the contrasts.

American Riversongs (Grade 3)                                arr. Pierre La Plante

Pierre La Plante composed American Riversongs as a reminder of an earlier time when rivers and waterways were the lifelines of our growing nation.  The piece begins with a setting of a tune called "Down the River," which is very upbeat and exciting.  The middle section of American Riversongs slows down and features a beautiful rendition of the popular folksong "Shenandoah."  The final section of the piece begins with a brass band playing Stephen Foster's tune "The Glendy Burk."  La Plante incorporates a second theme with Foster's original and the two tunes bring the piece to an exciting and energetic conclusion.

Country Wildflowers (Grade 2)                                Larry Daehn

Dona Nobis Pacem                                                James Sudduth

James Sudduth’s arrangement of Dona Nobis Pacem is a very exciting work based on a traditional Latin hymn.  The words for this hymn translate simply to “Give Us Peace” and can be sung in unison or canon.  In this arrangement, the melody is stated as a soli (section solo), then in four variations.

The Emerald Isle                                                Dave Black

The Emerald Isle is an original two-movement work in the Irish folk-song style.  The first movement, with its lush contemporary setting, is a beautiful lyric work that should be played with a flowing graceful style.  The second movement is a dance-like march in 6/8 time.  Featuring a driving percussion section, this movement is full of rhythmic surprises, a lively melody, clever syncopations and a subtle counterpoint.

Folk Song Suite (Grade 4)                                        Ralph Vaughan Williams

Greensleeves (Grade 3)                                        Traditional/arr. Alfred Reed

King Across the Water (Grade 3)                                Bruce Fraser

This exciting work is based on an event in the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie.  He had returned to Scotland and was gathering about him an army heading south towards England, which had sent Sir John Cope to fight with him.  The traditional folk-song "Johnnie Cope" is the basis of all of the themes in the work.

Charlie attacked the English at Presonpans outside Edinburgh - this is represented by "Battle" - where the theme appears as fanfares and battle shrieks.  There followed a period of mourning as the English had been massacred - "Lament" - in which the theme is fragmented into long sustained phrases.  The Scots rejoiced and celebrated in Edinburgh - "Dancing" - where the theme is the original used as a reel" (a traditional dance).

Kentucky 1800 (Grade 3)                                        Clare Grundman

One of Clare Grundman's original band works, Kentucky 1800 is a setting of three American folk songs: The Promised Land, I'm Sad and I'm Lonely, and Cindy.  The tunes are set in a symphonic poem.  Grundman employs the natural beauty and lyric nature of the folk melodies without extreme variation.  The thematic material of the folk songs are used throughout the piece in transitions as well. Kentucky 1800 was first published in 1955 and has become a staple among the concert band repertoire.

Korean FolkSong Medley (Grade 1.5)                        James Ployhar

Korean Folk Song Medley showcases three traditional songs based on the pentatonic scale including  Beteul Norae, Odoldogi, and Arirang.

Little English Suite

Written in four movements, Little English Suite takes listeners on a tour of English Folk Songs.  The first movement is a lively 6/8 piece called “The Leather Bottel.”  The second movement is a beautiful melody entitled “Roving” which refers to a man who vows to never stray from his “fair maid.”  The third movement, entitled “We Met,” is a song about how a young couple began their relationship.  The final movement is a humorous tune called “The Vicar of Bray.”  It is about a church official who swear allegiance to the monarchy, but is happy to change allegiance when it suits his needs.

Moscow 1941 (Grade 2)                                        Brian Balmages

Patapan (Grade 3)                                                Traditional/arr. Elliot Del Borgo

A French/Burgundian carol that dates back to 1842.  The carol is told from the perspective of shepherds playing simple instruments, such as flutes and drums.  The title is derived from the onomatopoetic sound, which mimics the sound of the drums.

Sakura (Grade 1)                                                arr. Michael Story

While Sakura is not an ancient Japanese folksong, the reverence and traditional ceremonies associated with the sakura (cherry blossom) flower date back as early as the 8th or 9th centuries.  It is impossible to state the importance and prevalence of this flower in Japanese culture.  The tree intentionally decorates schools and public buildings. It is rich with over a millennium of symbolism. The song Sakura was probably written in the early 19th century and has been popular since about 1868, when it was included in a book for beginning koto players.  It is included in multiple collections of most beloved Japapese folksongs, is sung at many international gatherings as the song to represent Japan (Olympics) and is even used as ‘guiding music’ in many electronic traffic crossing lights!

Sea Songs (Grade 4)                                                Ralph Vaughan Williams

Shenandoah (Grade 3)                                        Frank Ticheli

Three Ayres from Gloucester (Grade 3)                        Hugh Stuart

Programmatic Music

Anasazi (Grade 1)                                                John Edmondson

The Anasazi were a tribe of Indians who lived in the Four Corners area of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.  The name Anasazi is an anglicized form of a Navajo word meaning “the ancient ones.”  They lived from about 1 CE  to about 1300, and there is no apparent reason for their decline and disappearance.

Ancient Voices (Grade 1.5)                                        Michael Sweeney

Ancient Voices does a wonderful job of creating a mood that allows the audience to imagine they are hearing music from an early civilization.  Michael Sweeney uses an array of percussion instruments, pencils tapping on stands, and recorders to create this primitive sound.  Ancient Voices also exposes students to extended techniques.  This means that they get to create new sounds.  For instance, many students blow air through their instruments without actually creating a tone, while the trumpet section uses mutes to alter the sound of their instruments.  Some students will also be singing while others are playing.  The piece begins very slowly, with loud percussion setting the mood.  The flutes play a modal melody, which is a different version of a scale that is more familiar to us.  After the recorder melody, the tempo picks up dramatically and the band members join the percussion section by tapping pencils on their stands.  The low brass begins a new melody, which is then imitated by many other sections.  The original slower tempo returns briefly just before the piece comes to an exciting conclusion!

Clouds (Grade 1.5)                                                Anne McGinty

Fire Dance (Grade 2)                                                Douglas Akey

In the spirit of 20th century neo-classical music, Fire Dance captivates the audience with a frenzy of rhythm and an intense melody.  This piece is a great educational tool for young musicians.  It begins with a fairly simple, repetitive melody that every instrument plays at one point or another.  Within a certain phrase, the time signature may change as many as five times.

Peregrin: A Traveler’s Tale         (Grade 2.5)                        Douglas Akey

Peregrin: A Traveler’s Tale is a programmatic work describing the feelings of travelers searching for a new land and new lives.  There are moments of discovery, trepidation and joy throughout the piece. Douglas Akey is formerly Music Department Chairman at Hendrix Junior High School in Chandler, Arizona.  He was the 1985 recipient of the American School Band Directors Association’s Stanbury Award as the outstanding young elementary/junior high school band director in the United States.

Pevensey Castle (Grade 1)                                        Robert Sheldon

Although Pevensey Castle is not a programmatic work that tells a story, it does share characteristics of cinematic music.  The opening section has a slow and almost haunting melody that paints a picture of a well fortified castle.  After taking time to envision Pevensey Castle, the music accelerates and possibly depicts the castle under siege.  Heavily accented lines begin and are layered with additional parts from different sections in the band.  What seems very busy and confusing gives way to large chords that seem to be the calm after the storm.  Finally, the opening section is revisited, but with a bit more optimism this time, before the exciting conclusion of the piece.

Pirates of the Barbary Coast (Grade 1)                        Timothy Loest

America’s first foreign war took place on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa known as the Barbary Coast.  After the Revolutionary War, the United States could no longer depend on Britain to protect her merchant ships.  Exploiting this vulnerability, the Barbary States of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli demanded tributes or payments to guarantee safe passage of American ships.  When tributes were not paid, Barbary pirates would raid American ships then demand ransom for the imprisoned sailors.

In America, the Continental Congress authorized John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to negotiate with the pirating states. While treaties could avert war, the continual payments of bribes would eventually bankrupt the United States.  This quandary moved Congress to authorize the construction of six naval ships.  In a few short year, America would go to war.  The first verse of the Marines Hymn recalls the battle, which lives in Marine tradition “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”  Pirates of the Barbary Coast depicts the historic battle of Tripoli.

Prairie Dances (Grade 3)                                        David Holsinger

Settled in 1876, Wichita Falls, Texas became a cattle and grain shipping center after the arrival of the railroad in 1882.  One can imagine the hustle and bustle of this cowboy town in those railroad days where the ‘rambunctiousness’ of the cowhand came face to face with the businesslike demeanor of the mercantile owners and the frontier gentility of the Ladies Society.

A Prehistoric Suite (Grade 1)                                Paul Jennings

A four movement programmatic work that draws on graphic images of the best known prehistoric animals: Dinosaurs.

  1. Stegosaurus (The Gladiator) - A modal processional march with most harmonies built around open fourths and fifths.
  2. Brontosaurus (Gentle Giant) - A gentle melody that it introduced in the trumpets, saxophones and horns, contrasted with glissando in the trombone section.
  3. Pterodactyls (Graceful Giants of the Sky) - A soaring melody in 3/4 time that lilts through every section of the ensemble.
  4. The Battle (Tyrannosaurus and Tricerotops) - An aleotoric introduction in which students are instructed to make random sounds, that leads way to a rhythmic battle between the higher pitched instrument and the low brass.

Snakes (Grade 2.5)                                                Thomas Duffy

Train Heading West (Grade 1)                                Timothy Broege

Begun in the mid-1970’s as a set of three sketches for band, Train Heading West and Other Outdoor Scenes was expanded, rescored, and revised in early 1997.  Although the difficulty level is somewhat higher in the revised score, the work still represents an opportunity for young bands to become engaged in the concept of programmatic-descriptive music.  The evocation of the great outdoors has been a tradition in twentieth-century American music, with perhaps the best examples found in the music of Aaron Copland, particularly his great ballet score, Billy the Kid. The use of open intervals, spare scoring, and powerful elemental tunes has become familiar, not only in symphonic music and band music, but also in film scoring.

Tricycle (Grade 4)                                                Andrew Boysen

Tricycle is an exciting piece that received its name because it is written in three distinct sections.  It begins with very lively percussion and just a few instruments before growing to include the entire band.  After finishing the opening section, the mood calms, most of the band begins singing, and a trumpet soloist plays.  The trumpet soloist gives way to the low voices in the band, which gradually increase the excitement until the opening material returns in the third section.  Tricycle uses a compositional style comparable to minimalism.  This artistic movement, which is not limited to music, is characterized by simplicity and repetition of material.  Much of the material in Tricycle is repeated or slightly altered to maintain interest.

Additional Resources:

Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Volumes 1-4, GIA

Teaching Music Through Performance in Beginning Band, GIA

Arizona Band Repertoire List, Doug Akey

The Wind Band Masterworks of Holst, Vaughan Williams and Grainger, Willis M. Rapp, Meredith Music

The Illinois Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Project


Metea Valley High School - HS/MS Choir



Rotolo Middle School - MS Band



Highland Park High School - HS Band



Northern Illinois University - College/University



Carpentersville Middle School - MS Band



Armstrong School - Elementary/General Music



Glenbard West High School - HS Choir



Vernon Hills High School - HS Choir



York High School - HS Orchestra



Oak Prairie Junior High School - MS Band



Dundee Middle School - MS Choir



Washington Junior High School - MS Orchestra



New Trier High School - HS Band



Carpentersville Middle School - MS Orchestra