Band

Band titles below are linked to recordings.

 

and a time

  • C. Alan Publications
  • Grade 3

and a time begins in an evocative mood, portraying those emotions one encounters when contemplating potentially life-changing decisions. Daily routines, with the issues and conflicts that often generate a “grass is greener” mentality, are musically developed in the agitated middle section. The tranquil closing recalls earlier material in an affirmation of those values which retain true importance in one’s life. and a time is profiled in Volume Six of Teaching Music through Performance in Band.

Empowered

  • Available from the composer
  • Grade 4

Empowered was composed in 2007 for the High Plains Band Camp Honor Band in celebration of the camp’s sixtieth anniversary. The most difficult aspect of completing the piece turn out to be choosing the correct title. It was originally called Whoosh! as a description of the frantic pace typically experienced by students and staff during the week of camp itself. This name never seemed to fit the heroic and often complex nature of the piece and T struggled for several years to find an adequate replacement, even withholding it from publication. In the summer of 2011, I programmed the work again with the camp Honor Band and held a contest with the students to come up with a new name.The creativity of one student in particular secured the new title and Whoosh! became Empowered.

Flourish for Olana

  • Daehn Publications
  • Grade 3

Flourish for Olana takes its name from Olana, the New York Home of artist Frederick Church. It is an Arabic word meaning “our place on high.”

The composer is deeply grateful to Dr. Jack Stamp for his generous guidance in the composition of this work as well as the wonderful recording.

In Spirit

  • available from the composer
  • Grade 4+

This composition is dedicated to the memory of Jay Steinberg, clarinetist, educator and friend, who spent twenty-seven summers at the High Plains Music Camp in Hays, Kansas doing what he loved best–teaching and making music. His gifts inspired multitudes of campers as well as the hundreds of young players with whom he shared them during his forty-year tenure in the public schools of Lindsborg, Kansas.

The premiere was given on July 17, 2014 by the High Plains Music Camp Faculty Band–many of whom taught alongside Jay–for an audience of campers, many of whom had been Jay’s students during their earlier years.

Radix

  • C. Alan Publications
  • Grade 4

Radix was composed for the Honor Band of the 2008 High Plains Band Camp held on the campus of Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. The premiere performance was given on July 26, 2008 with the composer conducting. At the suggestion of the composer’s friend David Holsinger, minor revisions were subsequently made and the newly edited version was given its first performance by the Fort Hays State University Wind Ensemble in October of 2008.

Sunstorm

  • C. Alan Publications
  • Grade 5

Sunstorm is a virtuoso fanfare intended as a concert opener. It demands accomplished technical skill, particularly from the horns, low brass and percussion. The work was originally scored for brass choir and percussion and later transcribed for full band. Both versions are in the C. Alan Publications Catalog.

The band transcription was premiered by the Fort Hays State University Wind Ensemble in December of 2004 and subsequently performed at the Kansas Music Educators Association All-State Convention in 2005.

Synergy

  • Grade 3+
  • Neil A. Kjos Music Company

When I am asked what inspires me to compose, my answer is almost always the same: a deadline. This answer was probably never more apropos than in reference to my first published piece, Synergy.

In the spring of 1994, Nelson Thornton, a good friend, supporter and former band parent, suddenly passed away. With just a few days before my high school band’s end-of-year concert, there was little we could do to suitably honor his memory. We were fortunate enough to have the first movement of Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem already on the program and while we did dedicate the performance to his memory, I wanted to do more. This man had served as President of our Band Parent Organization at a crucial time for our students and I felt that a more significant memorial was due him.

John Lennon once said that “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” Life in this case included teaching, marching band, contests and all those other things that make the year go by too fast for a band director who was also trying to compose. It was now the spring of 1995 and I suddenly realized that the senior class I was about to graduate would be the last group of students who had personally worked with Nelson. I set to work immediately on a piece for band–my first one composed with computer software—and after several weeks of late nights was able to place parts (albeit ones lacking dynamic markings as I was still learning how to do that) in front of the band. They read it, rehearsed it and performed it beautifully on our spring concert with Nelson’s wife and children present.

During the summer, I took Synergy to a reading session held at the summer convention of the Florida Bandmasters Association. The keynote speaker for the convention was Eugene Corporon, Director of Wind Studies at the University of North Texas, who had also agreed to serve as the bass drummer for the reading band. After its performance, he was kind enough to suggest several publishers to whom I might submit the work. I started at the top of the list with Kjos Music, a large and established company from whom I was sure I would receive a hasty rejection letter. To my complete surprise, they accepted Synergy and started me on my career as a published composer. I will always be grateful to Professor Corporon for his help, but even more grateful that my first work in print is a tribute to a good friend who served as a great role model for young people.

Tharsos

  • Grade 4
  • Neil A. Kjos Music Company

Tharsos, named after the Greek word for courage, is dedicated to Dr. John Pozdro, the composer’s teacher, who taught for more than four decades in the University of Kansas Theory-Composition Department. The initial idea behind the work was to create a piece in which the mallet instruments of the band were featured in a musically substantial format that was also technically accessible to less experienced players. As the composition progressed, the increased difficulty level determined a piece more appropriated to high school players and Tharsos was premiered in December, 1995 by the Seminole High School Symphonic Band.

The Adventures of Wynde Ding Wham

  • C. Alan Publications
  • Grade 4

As inferred by the title, The Adventures of Wynde Ding Wham is a whimsical fantasia on an original theme. It is intended to introduce young players to the contemporary compositional practices of graphic notation, tone clusters, free time, improvisation, and odd meters. Extended techniques, such as the brasses reversing the mouthpiece and blowing air through their instruments and vocalizations by the band members add to the colorful atmosphere. The tongue-in-cheek finale (along with the title) is a musical salute hat to the composer’s longtime friend and mentor, David R. Holsinger.

The Green Blade

  • Neil A. Kjos Music Company
  • Grade 3

The Green Blade is based on the French carol, “Now the Green Blade Riseth,” and is cast in the form of a theme and four variations. Following a brief introduction, the original Dorian melody is stated in the flutes over a light percussion background. The first variation is march-like, the second takes on the character of a waltz and the third is a lyrical song utilizing the tune in inversion. The finale is a “variation on variations,” employing earlier melodic alterations in counterpoint with each other.

The work is dedicated to Kelly Konrad and the Lakeview Middle School Band, Sanford, Florida.

The Healing Sword

  • C. Alan Publications
  • Grade 2

While the Civil Rights movement may seem like a weighty topic to address in the span of a four minute work for young band, I felt that it was an important one, particularly in the anniversary year of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth date (1929). Students presently in their middle school years and younger are certainly aware of Dr. King’s legacy, but may not have any knowledge of the turbulent years which encompassed it nor of the other brave individuals who helped drive this defining movement of the 1960’s. To that end, I have attempted to provide a musical snapshot of history that I hope will inspire curious students to learn more. The title is taken from a quote of Dr. King’s:

Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history,
which cuts without wounding and enobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.

The two additional quotes spoken within the piece are fragments which are also taken from Dr. King’s speeches:

There comes a time when people get tired. We are here this evening to say to those who have mistreated us so long that we are tired; tired of being segregated and humiliated; tired of being kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character

Five additional names are spoken in addition to that of Dr. King’s and may be voiced by members of the band or other individuals if desired. The name are those of five major figures in the advancement of the civil rights movement, some of whom did not survive to see its conclusion.

Rosa Parks: Considered to be the woman who sparked the movement’s beginning in 1955, she did so by her refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man.

Ruby Bridges: The first African-American child to attend an all-white school in the South, she spent a year as the only student in her classroom.

Medgar Evers: Instrumental in desegregating the University of Mississippi and prosecuting injustices against African-Americans, he was murdered in his driveway in 1963.

James Meredith: the first African-American student to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962. His enrollment resulted in campus riots and necessitated the sending of U.S. Marshals and Federal troops by President Kennedy.

Viola Liuzzo: A white woman actively involved in the civil rights movement, she was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan while driving protestors home from a march.

Too Soon for Thunder

  • Grade 4
  • available form the composer

Too Soon for Thunder was composed in the summer of 2015 and takes its title from a painting of the same name by American artist Kay Sage (1898-1963). Sage’s surrealist work, completed in 1943, was a result of her concern over the second world coming so soon on the heels of the first. The musical version, while not attempting to literally depict extra-musical ideas through standard notation, seeks to create a work built around the idea of conflict. Whether this conflict is personal/familial, nation or global, the listener will need to decide for themselves.