Challenge Accepted's title refers to the challenging task of learning to play a band instrument. This authentic Grade 0.5 piece uses the first six notes learned in early instruction and basic rhythms. There is a very clear roadmap as far as articulations, accents, and dynamic changes. The bass group has the melody later in the piece.
Programming Suggestion: Performance piece for Elementary beginning band (Gr 6-7)
Christams Around the Bandroom incporates Jingle Bells, Up on the Housetop, and Jolly Old St. Nicholas in an accessible version for beginning Band. The piece uses a single tempo, no rhythm beyond eighth notes in 4/4 time, and the premise of the arrangement is to pass portions of the main carol melodies around the ensemble while focusing on beginning fundamentals.
Programming Suggestion: Holiday Concert for a Beginning Band in either elementary or secondary
Feel the Fury is a simulation of a horse race. All of the emotions and thrill of a race can be felt in this work. This piece for very young band and optional choir was commissioned by Northern Dancer P.S. which was named after the famous Canadian racehorse. The snare drum and toms part help to keep the horse moving forward while the winds perform the bold and stately theme. There is a moment of tension and suspense as the horse and rider can see they are not in the lead. But they triumph and the race is won! The piece is appropriate for the end of the first year, once students have encountered A flats, offbeat rhythms, and maintaining a steady pulse/metre.
Programming Suggestion: Classroom use and Concert for a 1st or 2nd elementary school band or beginner grade 9's
Forever Flying is a ballad-style lyrical work for beginning band who is at the level of learning 3/4 time in their first year. Ranges do not exceed the first six notes. Every dynamic level is taught here, as well as phrasing and tonguing versus slurring. The melody and overall contour of this piece will make it work in every setting
Programming Suggestion: In class use for lyrical and 3/4 introduction and Festvial entry for a B100 band
The Intrepid is a Canadian composition with a modal feel, and the composer has done alot inside of the first octave of study (A flats are included). This is a good example for students to understand accents, articulation, and an early (and fun) introduction to off beats and syncopation
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival for a B200/Grade 1.5 performing ensemble
Knights of Victory is a good way introduce your youngest students to march style. The piece uses beginning rhythms and the first six notes of the B Flat major scale. The dynamic and articulation markings are clear, making this piece a good supplementary first piece of repertoire which falls outside of the band method book.
Programming Suggestion: Winter Concert for an elementary school beginning band
To the Fore exemplifies TEACHABLE beginning band repertoire. The piece will work very well alongside your beginning band method book. It will reinforce tempo, beginning rhythms and note values, and the difference between melodic and background parts. Try taking this at a faster tempo than written - it becomes even more engaging.
Programming Suggestion: Opening selection for winter or spring festival for elementary beginners
Armor of the Mystic is typical of Rob Grice’s writing. It contains a rhythmic snare drum part as well as involved percussion parts, but with nothing exceeding a Grade 1 (2nd year band) ability. This is a gentle introduction to syncopation without having to teach dotted rhythms yet. This single tempo thematic piece does briefly switch to a flowing legato section, a great way to teach style/section transitions. Ranges and fingerings are all easy.
Programming Suggestion: Winter Festival opening selection for an elementary 7-8 Band
At the Water's Edge is a first year lyrical selection which introduces the dotted quarter note in it's main theme. As well, the composer has placed background/countermelodic patterns in the flutes at the top of their B flat scale, so this will be an excercise in balance and ensemble awareness. There are some fantastic dynamic "swells" and overall dynamic variation throughout the piece which also makes good use of ritardendo into fermata, and other transitions between phrases.
Programming Suggestion: Festival selection for a B100 band or Remebrance Day assembly
City at Dusk illustrates the hustle and bustle of the work day coming to an end. The hard work is finished. The many commitments, activities, and obligations are accomplished. Seated on a park bench on a cloudless, brisk, picturesque autumn evening in the big the city, a person patiently watches the sun gently set behind the skyscrapers as a distant clock tower chimes. Now at peace, it is time to rest. This piece attempts to capture the serenity, calm, and perhaps relief of this onlooker. City at Dusk correlates with Tradition of Excellence Book 1, page 20. This piece can serve as an easy introduction to the dotted quarter note by way of the melody. Otherwise notes (set in E flat major), ranges and rhythms are commensurate with Grade 1/B100.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival for an advanced first year group (Grade 9) or 2nd year/experienced elementary school band.
A Festive Finale is a compilation of Christmas carols arranged to match the setting of the composer's "A Festive Fanfare" released in 2017. The brass parts in this piece are somewhat stately. there are dotted rhythms and accidentals inserted, as well as section independence, as there are two different carols being played over top of one another at one point. This is very well written and arranged but should be considered by a slightly more experienced band.
Programming Suggestion: Holiday Concert for an experienced Grade 9 Band
The Haunted Mansion is a light and fun programmatic piece for a very young band, written by a Canadian composer and winnipeg based middle school band director. There are quirky characteristics within individual sectoins such introducing concert F sharps and E naturals in main melodies. Cabasa and temple blocks are needed, this is a great piece for beginning percussion sections.
Programming Suggestions: Light Concert or School Assembly for a 2nd year ensemble
The Oncoming Storm is a festival-appropriate piece for young band. A good introduction to 3/4 time, the piece employs modern harmonies and fast rhythmic figures. A wealth of percussion colours add to the overall effect and all wind parts are active while staying within comfortable ranges.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival opening selection for an accelerated beginning band (Grade 9), or extra curricular elementary band
A Whole New World for Grade 1.5 band, is scored with very modest ranges and easy rhythms. This classic song from Disney's Aladdin is skillfully arranged here for second year players. Sure to sound great with minimal rehearsal time.
Programming Suggestion: Spring Concert for elementary band
Blessed Legacy is based on folksong which employs a modulation during the piece. The trumpet range is high G, making this at least a Grade 2 piece. The melody is shared throughout the piece. Ensemble development via balance, blend, phrasing, and overall dynamic can be taught throughout this piece.
Programming Suggestion: Lyrical festival selection for a Secondary B200 band
Down to the River is considered to be an African-American spiritual, which is based on the folk tune Down to the River to Pray. There is an element of sadness in the music, but also a glimmer of hope as the slaves dream of freedom and being reunited with family and friends. Technically, the piece stays in the key of E flat major throughout. There are moving rhythms for snare drum through much of the piece. The main melody is distributed amongst the sections.
Programming Suggestion: Winter Concert, curricular classroom use
Finale from Brahms Symphony #1 is arranged here by Daviod Bobrowitz for educational purposes. This will be a great piece to teach music history and use composer/era specific lesson outlines. This is a short interlude and cross section and all notes and rhythms are actually closer to Grade 1.
Programming Suggestion: Curricular classroom use, Spring or themed Concert for 1st or 2nd year players
In Times of Turbulence pays hommage to the same composer's older and very classicworks for band such as "Into the Storm" and "Furioso". The piece is full of loud dynamics, clear articulations with accents, and it's a good opportunity to teach dissonance. The allegro section is a considerable "groove" piece, with an ostinato pulse-feel and rhythmic interplay between sections of the band.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival performance piece for a skilled elementary concert band, or an end of year piece for a beginning Grade 9 ensemble
Spirit of the Wolf comes from a song shared by Squamish First Nation and performer Bob Baker. The new work concert band shaped by Robert Buckley that will allow your students to experience the music of one of North America's First Peoples. Using aleatory elements, the piece flows from a powerful pentatonic melody and grows into a work that is at once atmospheric and exciting.
Programming Suggestion: Canadian content for a B200 Festival entry, use as Lyrical
Thunderbolt Fanfare is based on clusters of sound and an unrelenting rhythmic drive. This piece was imagined after the composer’s home was hit by lightning. This is a good way to practice mixed metre and students abilities to make quick changes on the fly. The work has an urgency about it that is juxtaposed with brief moments of release before tension builds once again. Percussion plays a big role throughout and a modular twist occurs toward the end.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival Opening selection for an experienced Grade 9 band or experienced elementary band
Zero to Ninety! is the latest festival piece released by Vince Gassi. This is an single quick-tempoed piece whose main melodic statement is built around active percussion parts with at least 3 players needed for the unpitched instruments. contest-style piece
All Star has now been arranged for Grade 2 concert band and it is FULL of teachable moments. the initial melody is stated by the low brass (which is rare), the arrangement is set in E flat major, modulating to F major at the close. The melody rhythms are not really simplified, which leads to alot of sixteenth notes and some emphasis on the off-beats, particularly in the bass line.
Programming Suggestion: Light or Spring Concert for your band
Chips and Salsa Too is written with upbeat Latin rhythms, colorful percussion sounds complementing a very teachable rhythmic motif in the winds. This is a good piece to teach alternative styles and music from other cultures. Though this is an American composition, it does make use of many elements of latin music in a fun, performable atmosphere.
Programming Suggestion: Spring Concert for a Grade 8/Concert Band
Compass Points West! is a Canadian programmatic composition by Carmen Gassi of Oakville, ON. The piece is themed after the great migration to the west and the challenges therein during the voyage. After a lyrical opening featuring the woodwinds and then the brass, the main theme is stated by the clarinets. this is a good piece to teach tied notes which create syncopation. There are fairly significant snare drum and timpani parts, with at least 4 percussion players needed. The harmonic structure and contour of the piece would push it to a higher grade than its publication grade.
Programming Suggestion: Canadian Content for a strong B200 or B300 entry in a festival
Fantasy on March Slav has been accessibly arranged for young band. In addition to the endless curricular options, this piece is fantastic for teaching chromatics and accidentals, triplet rhythms, key and tempo changes/transitions, accelerando and ritardando.
Programming Suggestion: curricular classroom use, Winter or Spring Concert for a Grade 8 or Grade 9 Band
Hawkeye Overture, personifies and epitomizes Robert Sheldon's style as one of the greatest composers of educational wind band literature. There are several memorable melodies shared by almost every section of the band. The opening fanfare leads to the allegro section highlighted with a variety of contrasting textures and harmonic colors. A contrasting lyrical section provides an opportunity to exhibit expressive musical playing skills before the main theme returns for an exuberant finale. Your students will need to have a firm understanding of syncopation and off-beat playing, This can be done with as few as 3 percussionists, however there are active mallet parts throughout.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival opening selection for a Grade 8 or 9 Band
Vespers of Light makes use of tremolo in both the melodic and background parts throughout the entire piece. This is a good lyrical piece with a slightly different sound created by effects like the tremolo and a different chordal structure/progression. Breathing, note attacks and releases are all over-stressed in this teachable piece.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival selection for a B200 or B300 Ensemble who is downgrading for their lyrical piece
Where Words End… is an expressive piece which makes creative use of the ranges and colors available for young bands, in or around the Grade 2 level. While being a good example for the fundamentals of lyrical playing such as intonation, balance, breathing and phrasing, and slurring - this is also a good piece to teach overall melodic contour and direction.
Programming Suggestion: Lyrical selection for a B200 festival entry
Based on the traditional carol Angels from the Realms of Glory, this setting is the perfect way to usher in the holidays. The sparkling theme is creatively enhanced by snippets of other festive, well-known carols, leading to a heartfelt setting of Still, Still, Still. The music then closes as it began, festive and strong, for a brilliant finish. Let the holiday season begin!
Programming Suggestion: Holiday Concert
Firescape is the third piece in a series of elements inspired works. Through music it demonstrates the various characteristics of fire described by the titles of each section: Hephaestus - God of Fire, By the Glow of a Candle, and Wildfire!. Hephaestus was the Greek god of fire and of forges and was blacksmith for the gods. The sound of his anvil can be clearly heard in this section. The smooth reflective middle section features solos for flute, trumpet, and trombone before the percussion section takes over in the fast, energetic and driving rhythms that bring this exciting work to a close.
Programming Suggestion: Mid year or Spring Concert with a high school band
Fuerza Furiosa is inspired by the powerful winds of cyclones. This programmatic work opens quietly with a depiction of "the calm before the storm", and builds throughtout toward the storm's centre and passing. The opening/mid-section oboe solo is cued in trumpet, but would also work well in either of the high woodwinds. A variety of percussion instruments and players are needed. Sections of the band occasionally work independently in terms of rhythm and countermelody.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival for a strong Grade 8 or experienced Grade 9 band
On the Cape is written in such a way that it be placed in a variety of concert and festival settings. This is an uplifting piece and would work easily against a modal/darker/programmatic piece within a programme. The percussion writing is active throughout the piece. Articulation and countermelody are the two biggest concepts which could be taught throughout the piece.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival Closing selection for a B300 entry with a high school ensemble
River Poem is a metaphorical work surrounding rivers and is depicted in a serene and contemplative work that uses a variety of colors and harmonies unique to young bands. Opulent mallet parts interact with optional piano to depict water gracefully cascading downwards. The harmonies and compositional tactics in this piece are mature and will require a band with a good handle on ear training. There is no discernible melody, just fragments throughout the sections, so counting and staying on top of entries will be KEY.
Programming Suggestion: Lyrical Selection for a B300 Festival entry, or Winter Concert for an advancing high school band
Uplifting and encouraging, this music has an attitude! From the opening multi-phonic saxophones to fluttered tongued winds and crashes of cymbals, it’s strong and defiant music with a purpose. Dedicated to the United Sound program, it’s a way of saying “thanks” for making so many students feel special and strong.
Programming Suggestion: Winter or Spring Concert
Sogno di Volare is the sweeping and grand scope of Sid Meier's Civilization VI video game. It is captured beautifully by Christopher Tin's anthem-like composition. This version for flexible instrumentation effectively retains the drama and emotional impact of the original.
Programming Suggestion: Graduation/Commencement, Themed or Spring Concert for a combined level ensemble
Aladdin is one of Disney’s most popular and enduring animated films, re-released in a live action version in 2019. This fast-paced melody of familiar songs includes Arabian Nights, Friend Like Me, Prince Ali and A Whole New World. Scored in 5 voice flexible instrumentation, it is a good option for groups with limited/smaller instrumentation.
Programming Suggestion: Themed or Spring Concert
Movies don’t get any bigger than this one, and the music of the soundtrack adds to its blockbuster appeal. Effectively blending the familiar Avengers main theme with impressive new material, this is a powerful medley that will highlight any concert.
Programming Suggestion: Lyrical Selection for a B300 Festival entry, or Winter Concert for an advancing high school band
Black Sails is written in a style where this composer excels. This dramatic programmatic work is Set in 6/8, and makes heavy use of hemiolas that continue to drive and build the energy of the piece. The clarinet parts are challenging but somewhat repetitive in the moving lines so these may be easier to learn.Overall, ranges and rhythms are manageable - the piece's challenge comes from many many moving parts and fitting/holding all of them together.
Programming Suggestion: Concert for a developing high school band - either Grade 10 or combined/split level
Boughs of Holly is a fresh take on the beloved traditional carol, this hit from The Christmas Attic created and performed by Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be a delightful opener or closer at the holidays! With optional electric guitar, bass, and keyboard parts and driving percussion, unleash your imagination when staging this one!
Programming Suggestion: Holiday concert for an experienced Grade 3 band, or Community Band
Celebration Fanfare is a cinematically driven fanfare piece which was originally written by Steven Reineke at the Grade 4 level. The arrangement has multiple sections and styles and many modulations throughout. There is a degree of rhythmic complexity, independently scored lines throughout the sections, and a degree of technical challenge. Ranges and rhythms are commensurate with Grade 3.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival Opening selection for a B300 Ensemble
Chasing Mercury is a musical "race to the finish line". This piece is in a fast 6/8 time and features your first clarinet [player on a number of occasions with a running melody. There are some interesting tricks including background and countermelodies based around the offbeats (ie runs starting on beat 2 of a 6/8). There is somewhat of a recurring theme which is light and whimsical in nature, which will lead to band engagement.
Programming Suggestion: Spring or themed Concert or with a combined/split level high school band
Dreams in the Dusk is a thematic lyrical selection which moves at a slightly faster tempo than most expressive works. The piece has multiple active percussion parts supporting a very emotionally driven melody line and flowing countermelodic line. The piece has irregular phrasing and it works very well with the melodic statements and overall contour. There are several builds and peaks throughout the work where the full band will have to excercise control in order to achieve full dynamic contrast/swells.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival Lyrical selection for a B300 entry, Remembrance Day service
Forge is a piece which makes use of metallic percussion sounds juxtaposed against fanfare-type statements from the woodwinds and brass. The arranging calls for a few independent bassoon lines which can easily be rescored if you have multiple saxophone players. Trombone Glissandi, cymbal sweeps, and constant chromaticism are just a few of the fun tools used by the composer of this piece.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival closing selection for a high school band
Where Morning Dawns, Where Evening Fades is an emotional lyrical piece depicting early periods of the earth, pre-dating clocks. Every section of the band participates by the composer's use of lyric lines, contemporary harmonies, enhanced chords, and aleatoric elements. This is a perfect way to emphasize ensemble tone, balance, blend, legato tongue, slurring, breathing, phrasing, note releases and intonation. The ingredients to achieve comprehensive musicianship through performance of a well written lyrical selection.
Programming Suggestion: Festival entry for a strong B300, or a B400 as lyricals can be downgraded.
Wolf Song comes from a song shared by Squamish First Nation artist and performer Bob Baker, comes a new work for concert band shaped by Robert Buckley that will allow your students to experience the music of one of North America’s First Peoples. Using aleatoric elements, Wolf Song flows from a powerful pentatonic melody and grows into a work that is at once atmospheric and exciting.
Programming Suggestion: Canadian Content Festival entry for a strong B300
Pieces of Glass (inspired by the minimalism of Philip Glass) is a work for young band that takes listeners on a journey through delicate staccato iterations, sweeping lyrical passages, and powerful chordal punches. This is a good piece to demonstrate the "Groove", often a good way to kick off the year with a more experienced ensemble.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival for a Grade 3/B300 ensemble, classroom use
In 1952, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regimental March became the official march of Canada's national police force. It is still used to this day to musically represent the RCMP at official functions and ceremonies. This is an important and significant historical piece of music which has been carefully arranged for modern wind band by the University of Saskatchewan's Director of Bands, D. Darrin Oehlerking.
The Wishing Well is another expressive, story-driven lyrical offering from Rossano Galante. For those of you who have played/performed "Redemption", this is a MUST HAVE! It paints a musical portrait of a young child approaching a well and making a wish. The music ebbs and flows, utilizing solo instruments (flute in an upper register, clarinet and oboe) as well as the full ensemble, describing the water at the bottom of the well. Reaching the climax of the piece, the main theme is stated as the child tosses a coin into the well, and we follow its path down to the water. Delicate melodies and warm harmonies capture the essence of the child's wish, and the hope that it will be granted. This is a senior band piece, dependent on proper instrumentation and it's full of opportunities for interpretation, expression, growth, and musical excellence.
Programming Suggestion: Festival Lyrical Selection for a B400 ensemble, Remembrance Day service
Breaking Point was written over a several month period when the composer’s father was dying, the composer states: “Throughout this entire experience, I have reached my own breaking point. Over and over again. So I fall apart, put myself together, and am then broken all over again.” One of the most emotional and powerful pieces Balmages has ever written, there are moments of untamed beauty, anger, rage, hope, despair, and frustration. The piece is technically and musically demanding and has a lot of room for an advanced ensemble to show their interpretations and emotions through the performance of the piece.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival for a B500 senior ensemble
Ellington! - Duke Ellington and his orchestra are responsible for a wealth of memorable classic melodies and standards. Featuring the music of this legendary band leader, composer, and jazz ambassador, here is a stunning symphonic medley that includes: ′Caravan, It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Just Squeeze Me, Ko Ko, Sophisticated Lady,′ and ′Take the “A” Train′.
Programming Suggestion: Pops or Themed concerts, Community Band A+
Perpetua is a Canadian composition from Winnipeg based composer Peter Meechan. The composers intent was to create a piece of perpetual motion, that is challenging, exciting, and fun – all brought together through a sense of joy amidst some of the difficult times/instances which exist in today’s world. This piece is a must have for anyone who has performed ISS Flyover by Dr. Meechan. An open minded ensemble with a tempo-attentive percussion section is needed to properly play the piece, which exemplifies the new directions/sounds of modern performance music for Concert Band.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival Canadian content opening selection for a B400 ensemble
Thrash is an aggressive work was inspired by the heavy metal bands of the 1980s. Capturing the driving rhythms, dissonant harmonies, and savage sense of musical motion, this “heavy metal overture” relies on percussion, orchestrated power chords and an abundance of chromaticism. Every player in the band has moving parts, and the piece has independently moving parts amidst the sections of the band. The middle section almost seems like it shouldn't be part of the piece but it provides a dramatic contrast from the A section of the ABA overture. This is basically a percussion section feature piece, at least 5 strong players are needed.
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival for a B400-B500 level band
Deadline evokes the extreme tension and stress inherent in working against the clock. Through the piece’s insistent, driving rhythms, the listener experiences the unyielding intensity and ever-increasing anxiety. The unrelieved pressure sustains through all else, whether it leaps to the forefront in a rush of adrenaline or recedes to the background where it can be temporarily ignored, but never forgotten. No matter what diversions or distractions appear, the unforgiving deadline is inescapable, relentlessly driving forward with no chance of resolution until ... time’s up! This is a Grade 5 piece, as opposed to the publisher's grading of 4. This is meant for a band with all of the spots filled with players who are ready for the woodshedding and sectionals, especially percussion!
Programming Suggestion: Concert or Festival Entry for a B500 ensemble. Works well as a closing selection.
Waves Toward the Pebbled Shore is a lyrical masterpiece by British-Canadian composer Dr. Peter Meechan. Written for advanced wind ensemble, the composition festures a solo oboe part throughout, at times in the upper octave and always very exposed. There is a melody which is stated by multipe sections after being established by the solo oboe and later the 1st alto saxophone. There are important piano, vibes and orchestra bell parts in addition to the unpitched percussion (which are especially featured during the ebbs, flows, and rapid dynamic builds). There are several moments of tension, release, and climax. This composer employs space and silence. Maticulous attention to ensemble breathing, note releasing, and comprehension of “playing the silence” are necessary.
Programming Suggestion: Tribute Concert, Remembrance Day, Canadian Content Lyrical selection for a festival B500 or B600 entry