Fun for the Full Orchestra!
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recommended by Megan W., Orchestra Specialist
Alpha and Omega by Soon Hee Newbold, Grade 5
This dramatic work for Symphony Orchestra is a perfect opener or closer. From mysterious and dark melodies to driving rhythmic lines and a relentless pulse, the music provides an opportunity to showcase the power of your ensemble, the beauty of the various soloists featured throughout, and the talent of your percussionists who will be extremely busy! Many cues are provided for groups without full instrumentation, making this accessible to many. Riveting!
Arabian Dances by Brian Balmages, Grade 4
Explore Middle Eastern sounds with this work that combines traditional folk songs with original music. After a haunting opening, authentic Middle Eastern percussion instruments create the groove that accompanies the folk song “Ala Dal’ona.” As the orchestration builds, original themes are juxtaposed with existing material before an extended percussion ensemble takes center stage. The final folk song, “Tafta Hindi,” ultimately morphs into an ostinato over a magnificent presentation of the original theme found throughout the work. A dynamic work for symphony orchestra!
Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson/arr. Chris M. Bernotas, Grade 3.5
Brilliantly scored and in a friendly key, “Blue Tango” by Leroy Anderson, arranged by Chris M. Bernotas, will highlight your symphony orchestra in any concert or festival. This classic reached the top of the Billboard charts in the early 1950s and will be a favorite for both your students and audience. Closely arranged to the original, the beautiful melodies, full range of dynamics, and clearly marked articulations will provide excellent teaching moments and exciting performances.
Danger Zone arr. Michael Story, Grade 2
Your orchestra will rock the audience with Michael Story’s arrangement of Kenny Loggins’ hit “Danger Zone” from the movie “Top Gun.” This flexible arrangement will work for string orchestra alone, or with as many added winds and percussionists as possible, up to full orchestra. A perfect choice for a departmental collaboration or any pops concert.
Danza Ritual del Fuego by Manuel de Falla/arr. Douglas E. Wagner, Grade 3.5
“Danza Ritual del Fuego” arranged by Douglas E. Wagner is from Manuel de Falla’s ballet, “El amor brujo.” This stunning showpiece is a fully realized, unabridged string orchestra with piano arrangement that reflects all of the tonal color and Spanish flair of the composer’s original. Characteristic rhythms and harmonic progressions combine with a variety of string techniques, providing players with the makings of a sure-fire concert or contest success.
Themes from March Slav by Tchaikovsky/arr. Chris M. Bernotas, Grade 3
Your symphony orchestra will love “March Slav” by Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, arranged by Chris M. Bernotas. Scored for full orchestra or strings only, this arrangement features great themes and a big full symphonic sound. Featuring a reduced number of wind parts to allow for maximum accessibility for a younger full orchestra, this iconic march is a great way to introduce your students to the music of Tchaikovsky. Truly a wonderful choice for a departmental collaboration or any festival or contest.
The Never Ending Story arr. Patrick Roszell, Grade 3
Arranged for full orchestra, this retro blast from the past made its debut in the 1984 fantasy movie, went on to hit the top of the pop charts in the U.S. and was recently featured in the season 3 finale of “Stranger Things.”
Super (Em)Powers by Brian Balmages, Grade 3.5-4
Written to honor United Sound, this piece recognizes that special needs students do not have to be identified by their deficits – rather, they can be identified by their “superpowers.” It may be a student with Downs Syndrome who is always able to make everyone smile, or a non-verbal student who teaches someone to listen in a different way. Celebrate these students with this full-on cinema-style superhero theme! The ultimate in performance flexibility, this piece can be performed in three different ensemble settings: concert band, traditional full orchestra or band and strings combined!
Wonderful Worlds arr. Victor Lopez, Grade 3
A true musical showcase from jazz legend Louis Armstrong and pop artist Sam Cooke. Fresh harmonies and a new rendition of two classic hits from the sixties that will certainly be memorable and a real joy for your students and audience. Includes an optional part for a male or female vocalist.
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About the Author:
Megan W., originally from Pittsburgh PA, is happy to call Columbus and Stanton’s Sheet Music “Home.” As a musician, Megan has played in marching and concert bands, youth orchestras, full orchestras, small ensembles, and a few choirs. Her interests include fiddling, reading, writing, martial arts and yoga.
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