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Ken’s 10: New Pieces for HS Concert Band

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

The first Ken’s 10 post featured my 10 favorite new titles from our 2017 Signature Selections for Young Band.  It only makes sense to follow it up with my 10 favorites from our Signature Selections for High School Band.  Like the first post, these are unranked.  While most of them are programmatic, there is also a previously unpublished Claude T. Smith march and 3 of them draw from varied influences and sources.  They are pieces that will be fun to play, enjoyable for your audience, and provide some nice choices for select adjudication numbers.  I hope you like them, too.

Across the Great Plains
William Owens – Grade 3.5-4
The awe-inspiring legacy of the Pony Express gallops to life in this thrilling musical tale of one of America’s greatest institutions! Conceived from a single rhythmic motif, this adrenaline-fueled, rhythmically packed work yields heroic melodic statements, brilliant runs and a beautifully contrasting 3/4 section.

The Blue Ridge
arr. Robert Sheldon – Grade 4
The Blue Ridge Mountains have a rich history of folk music handed down by the families of the settlers in this region. Who better than Robert Sheldon to weave a tapestry of four of these wonderful songs into a setting for concert band?  Includes the spirited (and syncopated) Jack-a-Roe; the haunting Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies in a subtle call-and-response; the very popular Tom Dooley (watch those meters!); and a lush setting of the beautiful Barbara Allen.

Der Lehrmeister
Robert Sheldon – Grade 3.5
Don’t shy away from this title.  Translated from German as “The Master Teacher” and written in a style reminiscent of Richard Strauss, Der Lehrmeister was commissioned by the Florida Bandmasters Association in memory of Jack Crew, one of the all-time great teachers and musicians in the world band music.  Robert Sheldon has crafted a wonderfully authentic, sophisticated homage to German symphonic and operatic repertoire.

Dos Danzas Latinas
Andre Waignein – Grade 3.5
Want something different?  This dramatic, Latin dance style work is a guaranteed sonic palette cleanser!  Based on a habanera rhythm, the opening features oboe (cued in clarinet) and flute in a reminiscent dialogue. As the music builds, it accelerates into a wild and exciting rumba that drives to a fiery finish.

Erik Morales – Grade 3
Fable was inspired by ancient collections of children’s stories such as Aesop’s Fables and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  Broad, memorable themes jump off the page along with an energetic rhythmic pulse that propels the narrative forward. The music maintains a veil of darkness and intrigue that will capture the imagination of the listener from start to finish, and your students will love its awesome, epic soundtrack quality!

Honor Guard March
Claude T. Smith – Grade 3.5
Traditional in all the best ways!  Previously unpublished, Honor Guard March was composed by Claude T. Smith in 1959 while he was teaching in Cozad, NE. Premiered in 1961and written in traditional form, this march contains a contemporary flair and sound that is unique to Smith’s distinctive style, and features an unusual meter shift from 6/8 to cut-time at the trio.  A wonderful addition to your school band library!

The Lost Temple
Jared Barnes – Grade 3
The Lost Temple captures the intrigue of ancient legends, lost treasures, and adventures into the unknown. A quiet, mysterious theme opens the piece (with just a hint of Indiana Jones!), eventually giving way to a rhythmic adventure theme. A sense of calm and wonder emerges as dangers reveal themselves amid flowing musical lines. A triumphant flourish ends the musical journey.  This title is on the 2018 Ohio High School Class A list.

Rise of the Silver City
Rossano Galante – Grade 4.5
There’s a reason why Rossano Galante is among my favorite band composers, and Rise of the Silver City is a great example.  Brass flourishes, lyrical woodwinds, and stately themes lead to a heroic climax in this work full of the orchestral soundtrack qualities that are his hallmarks – if you close your eyes you can see the closing credits.  Sure to be a piece your students are most excited about!

Naoya Wada – Grade 3.5
Open your concert program by lifting off with this lofty work that lives up to its title!  Memorable, soaring melodies, upper woodwind obbligati (fingers are flyin’), and traditional A-B-A form set the stage for this exhilarating opener. The flowing middle section unfolds in an uplifting way through two key changes, before ascending back to full flight and soaring through the exuberant ending.

Chris M. Bernotas – Grade 3.5
Vanguard is an exciting and energetic piece that shifts between dynamic brass fanfare gestures, flourishes, and sweeping melodic lines.  All sections have a chance to shine on this attention-getting concert opener that starts big and bold and somehow manages to build to an ecstatic finish.

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004.  His iPod ranges from jazz and funk to classic and alternative rock, and symphonies.  He is excited to add Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings’ It’s a Holiday Soul Party to his Christmas rotation this year (on vinyl, of course!).  8 Days (of Hanukkah) and Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects fills your stocking with funky goodness, Silent Night is super soulful, and White Christmas is flat out smokin’!

This post first appeared on Stanton's Sheet Music – For All Your Sheet Music Needs. 1-800-42-MUSIC, please read the originial post: here

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Ken’s 10: New Pieces for HS Concert Band


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