News & Views Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Simply Beautiful 20 October, 2014

simply beautifulThis collection of nineteen hymn arrangements has a wonderful selection of various hymn tunes and gospel songs.  Several arrangers have contributed to this book of sacred sheet music.  The arrangements vary in difficulty from simple to moderately difficult, and include “I Am Bound for the Promised Land”, “Softly and Tenderly”, and “We’re Marching to Zion”.  Church pianists will return to this volume again and again for these general-use hymns.  For more information about this collection or similar collections, call us at 1-800-42-MUSIC, email us at keyboard@stantons.com, or visit our website, http://www.stantons.com.  Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


“The Stars Point the Way” 17 October, 2014

For a special feature for your treble ensembles in your upcoming holiday performances, Stanton’s suggests:

The Stars Point the Way by Mark Sirett
The Stars Point the Way was commissioned by the Cantilon Choirs of Edmonton, Alberta and was awarded “Outstanding Choral Composition for 2010” by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities. This Christmas carol is sub-titled “Cosmic Bethlehem” and is a beautiful mix of traditional metaphors and contemporary references that will engage your singers and audiences and make the miracle relevant and personal.

Cradle Hymn by Kim Andre Arnesen
The Norwegian composer has created a beautiful, expressive piece set to a poem by the famous English hymn writer Isaac Watts. Sing it at Christmas or any time of the year.

For more stunning holiday suggestions, contact us at 1.800.426.8742. Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


Organ Music for Thanksgiving 16 October, 2014

Stanton’s has a good selection of literature  for Thanksgiving organ music.  “Thankfulness and Praise ” is a collection of 0800675797 9781451424188bten organ settings by Lynn Petersen.  It includes “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”,  “For the Bread Which You Have Broken”, and eight more.  These are medium difficulty with some some pedal work.  Another good source of material is the Augsburg Organ Library’s “November” collection.  This volume of intermediate to advanced pieces  includes over thirty selections, including “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “For All the Saints”.  Either (or both) of these collections can be a wonderful source of material for the Fall season and the month of November.  More collections of this type can be found on our website under “organ”, then “Thanksgiving”.  Check our website at http://www.stantons.com, email us at keyboard@stantons.com, or call us at 1-800-42-MUSIC for more information.  Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


Don’t Miss These Christmas Arrangements! 15 October, 2014

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist -

While we are promoting 9 excellent new Christmas titles for young band this year, these 2 are unique stand-outs that you just shouldn’t miss! Both offer great opportunities to advance the musicianship of your groups, and are creative and interesting choices that will add variety to your holiday concert program. I’ve included our promotional write-ups as well as some additional commentary about each piece. I hope you find these recommendations helpful, and that you, your students, and your audience enjoy these pieces as much as I do.

Christmas at the Circus
Randall Standridge
Grade 2.5
Fun from start to finish!  Combining themes from Thunder and Blazes and The Man on the Flying Trapeze with snippets of a ton of holiday favorites, this humorous work is fun to listen to and a blast to play.  High-wire musicianship is a must – from layered themes and accidentals to key, style, and meter changes, and 8th note rhythm dished around the band like Christmas presents, no section receives a lump of coal in this piece!  Christmas at the Circus is a great choice for advanced middle school or young high school bands.

O.K., so this one seems blasphemous not just for religious (or circus music) reasons, but also because the setting utilizes plenty of familiar Christmas songs and carols. No worries – it is very creative, puts an original programming spin on the Instant Concert concept, and gives your audience plenty to hang on to. It will be fun to perform, and don’t be fooled by the grade 2.5 difficulty – it requires enough musicianship that it is perfect for young high school bands and will be a hit with community band programs, as well.

Season of Peace
Gene Milford
Grade 1.5
Inspired by Christmas 1914 when British and German troops in the midst of World War I held an unofficial truce that included singing carols and exchanging food and gifts, Season of Peace blends Dona Nobis Pacem with Silent Night for a moment of calm reflective peace.  Besides being a stirring concert selection, the 3/4 meter, dotted quarter-note rhythms, 8th note and triplet runs, and lyricism provide ample opportunity to advance ensemble musicianship.

Two young band arrangements have been inspired by the 100th anniversary of this event, and this stirring setting stands out. Combining the Dona Nobis Pacem (“Grant us peace”) from the Latin Mass with the stillness and beauty of Silent Night is just brilliant, and our write-up says it all, “…for a moment of calm reflective peace.” That is exactly what this work will provide – a poignant moment of calm reflection amidst the celebratory jubilance (and hustle and bustle) of the season. Again, don’t be put off by the “easy” grade level. Musical maturity is always a must on lyrical works, and can be performed to great effect by more advanced ensembles – the challenge here is not technique, but musicianship. Season of Peace is a wonderful choice educationally (musicianship, music history, AND world history), and is perfect for religious school band programs.

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He enjoys comic books, playing with his young son, and plays saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band. You should check out their album Walk On Out the Door available on iTunes and Amazon.


Composer Profile: Stephen Main 14 October, 2014

by Jen Sper, Choral Music Specialist

Steve_Smile_HandHere at Stanton’s Sheet Music, choral composer Stephen Main first captured our attention with his original setting of the In the Bleak Midwinter text in 2006. While not yet prolific by any means – we’ve seen just seven titles from him – we’ve come to trust his name, and know that we’re in for something special! His work is consistently beautiful, with creative melodies and lush harmonic structure that simply feels good to both the singer and the listener.

Especially notable are Main’s contributions to holiday concert repertoire. In the Bleak Midwinter was featured on our Excellence in Choral Literature reading session in 2010, followed by The Darkest Midnight in December in 2013, and Blessed Be That Maid Mary and The Holly and the Ivy in 2014.

Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Main has music in his blood: his mother taught piano and his father, Tom Main, was a professional jazz trombonist with Si Zentner’s band in the 60s. As a choirboy Steve sang at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue under Gerre Hancock. He went on to study violin, piano, organ, theory and composition at the Choate School and then at Oberlin Conservatory. At the same time, he earned his B.A., M.A., and eventually his Ph.D. in Religious Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is currently the Music Director at Piedmont Community Church, in the Bay Area, where he composes and conducts regular choral and orchestral performances. Stephen is active as an organist, harpist and conductor, with recent appearances in San Francisco, throughout Northern California, New York, Cincinnati and Los Angeles. He lives in San Francisco and LA.

As a composer, Steve’s work has included the recent publication of new choral and symphonic works, multiple commissions, and the completion of the scores for several films. He is a First Prize Winner of the John Ness Beck award for a new American choral work, and a 2007 winner of the American Composers Forum carol contest. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune hailed Stephen’s work as “evocative” music that “captures mystery.”

For more information about Stephen Main and his music, please visit his website.

Stanton’s Recommends: Blessed Be That Maid Mary, The Darkest Midnight in December, The Heavenly Table, In the Bleak Mid-Winter

About the Author:
Jen has been with Stanton’s since 2006. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys eating good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


What Can I Play On Sunday? Book 6, November and December 13 October, 2014

Church pianists sometimes have to really hunt hard for hymn arrangements to play for special Sundays in the Churchwhat can i play on sunday calendar.  The “What Can I Play on Sunday?” series addresses the need for appropriate pieces for seasonal use.  Book Six includes a hymn each for All Saints Day, Christ the King Sunday, Thanksgiving, and Advent, and six arrangements for Christmas.  The arrangements are at a late intermediate level.  If you play for church, this would be a useful collection of lovely arrangements for November and December!  For more information about this collection of sacred sheet music or other, similar collections, call us at 1-800-42-MUSIC, email us at keyboard@stantons.com, or visit our website at http://www.stantons.com.  Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs.


Combo Concerts: Women 10 October, 2014

The concert schedule for lots of schools is the same year-in and year-out.  Consider shaking things up this year with a “combo” concert!  Combine your groups across levels (imagine how big your band will be with students grades 5-12!) or across genres (your 6th grade choir would love to sing a piece or a medley with your high school jazz band!).

Combo Concerts: Women

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

While putting on a concert that combines your male singers of all ages can be a bit of a challenge, doing the same with all of your women couldn’t be easier!  The women from your high school, middle school, and even upper elementary groups will have the same range and be able to sing 2, 3, or 4 part treble music.  Focus on choosing pieces with a message that will resonate with girls in a wide age range and text/subject matter that is appropriate for all.

symphony of nightThe Symphony Of Night - by Mark Patterson  2 Part  BL799

For a simple two part arrangement, you can’t beat the beauty of The Symphony of Night.  Mark Patterson writes his own text to the  beautiful Swedish folk song “Bred Dina Vida Vingar” and the result is a subtle, enchanting melody set with a text appropriate for any age group.  While it is not seasonal, the references to the darkness of night make this especially appropriate in the winter.  The supportive piano accompaniment adds to the texture while staying out of the way of your singers.

 

one tin soldierOne Tin Soldierarr. Kirby Shaw  2 Part 08666128

This piece comes from the folk rock tradition of the 1960’s and 70’s and the anti-war sentiments that were such a part of the music of that era.   The strophic form allows you to feature one group at a time or even some soloists during the verses and then have everyone sing the chorus.  One Tin Soldier is in a great range to let those light, healthy middle school voices soar, and sends an important message to singers of all ages.

all the pretty little horsesAll the Pretty Little Horsesarr. Andy Beck SSA 39848

Lullabies seem to be standard fare for women’s chorus, but we promise that this one is truly unique.  Andy Beck has taken this classic American folksong and spun it into a jazz waltz that makes it feel fresh and modern.  The harmonies are easy enough that less experienced singers won’t be intimidated, but mature enough to hold everyone’s interest.  A jazz flute and vibe part, available as free downloads here, really add to the texture and feel of this unique arrangement.  Who says women’s chorus can’t be cool too?

 

Pure Imaginationarr. Jay Althouse  SSA  37984

pure imaginationSince you’ve already committed to a concert combining your women’s groups (or at least one piece on a concert), why not go the extra step and ask for some of the adults in the community to join in as well?  Contact your local community chorus, church choir(s), alumni or even the parents of your students.  There is something incredibly powerful about women, young adults and children singing together, and this easy-to-learn arrangement will be perfect if you only have a rehearsal or two to put it together.  Whether they remember Willy Wonka from the Ronald Dahl books (1964), the Gene Wilder movie (1971) or the Johnny Depp remake (2005), your women will love Pure Imagination.

 

Msilale Wmsilale wanawakeanawake Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory  SSA w/ Descant  00123692

Sometimes music education is about life lessons.  Msilale Wanawake (Women, Wake Up!) is an inspiring piece based on a Kenyan proverb.  Perfect for multi-grade level and multi-generational ensembles, this specifically addresses female students, encouraging women to stand up and “rid themselves of societal shackles, to walk away from servitude, gender bias and oppression.”  If you are nervous about younger groups singing a piece this complex, assign your middle school and/or elementary students the descant part (present for 3/4 of the piece), and leave your more advanced students to the other three parts.   A great kick-starter to discussion about women’s lives around the world.

It is possible to do a program for women’s chorus that doesn’t have a single piece about flowers, clouds, stars or boyfriends.    For more recommendations for women’s groups or combination concerts, give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com  Previous posts in this series : Men’s Combo Concerts

Rachel Steele has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT on Holiday Choral 09 October, 2014

Each year, the knowledgeable staff at Stanton’s chooses select titles to promote to you, our valued customers. We listen to thousands of new issues from scores of publishers and composers to present you with the very best in new music for your ensembles. In our new Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

The Little Drummer Boy

arr. Philip Kern

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Little Drummer Boy-page-001“The Little Drummer Boy” is a standard holiday carol, but this is NOT a standard arrangement! Philip Kern has set it here for a cappella SSATB voices (and short solos on a couple of verses), with an innovative world-music flavor. If you’ve been experimenting with contemporary a cappella repertoire (a la “The Sing-Off” or “Pitch Perfect”), this is a great selection for a December concert. You’ll need basses with a pretty solid low F, and all other ranges are moderate.

The percussion part as written is notated for a single hand drum, but in my opinion this sounds a little anemic. Raid the band room next door for all the world music percussion instruments you can find (and recruit some kids to play!). And you know what would be REALLY cool? If you have a talented vocal percussionist (or two), let them loose on the percussion part and go totally sans instruments!

I love a cappella arrangements for holiday performances, because they give you such freedom to travel with your ensemble – perform in the school cafeteria during lunch (recruit!), at the monthly school board meeting (advocate!), at the local mall or other holiday event (publicize!) or at the nursing home (give back to the community!).

This might be a great piece for your group because it…
•    incorporates a creative world-music style percussion groove, as well as some contemporary a cappella influence.
•    features moderate ranges and straight-forward divisi.
•    can “travel” for holiday performances.

For more great suggestions, please contact our Choral Department at 1.800.42.MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com.


“I Love the Winter Weather!” 08 October, 2014

Ready to program your upcoming holiday concert? Stanton’s suggests that you try one of these outstanding choices with your choir:

Carol of the Bells arr. Jay Rouse
A fabulous new find for the holidays! This favorite and familiar tune is crafted as a jazzy a cappella work that is creative and musically rich with diverse vocals, legato at times and crisp and bell-like at others. And let’s not forget the optional high soprano descant! Simply an outstanding arrangement for your singers.

In Dulci Jubilo arr. Audrey Snyder
Here is the joyous carol with Latin and English texts in a flexible and accessible setting that will create many performance options. The piano accompaniment is optional and the vocal parts are varied and colorful making this ideal for Christmas concerts and services.

The Little Drummer Boy arr. Philip Kern
No Christmas season would be complete without hearing this well-loved song. Kern’s fresh a cappella approach, featuring a world-rhythm drum part, really makes the classic shine. “Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum!”

Rise Up Shepherd and Follow arr. Robert L. Jefferson
Robert Jefferson shares his wonderfully rich arrangement of one of the most beautiful African-American Christmas spirituals. The lush harmonic texture announcing “good tidings of great joy” along with Jefferson’s benevolent choral summons to “follow” is sure to add depth to any holiday concert or festival performance.

Wolfgang’s Christmas Canon arr. Tom Fettke
This fabulous masterwork showstopper brings Mozart and the “Deck the Hall” lyrics together in a bright and accessible setting. This delightful novelty selection would make a terrific opener, closer, or encore!

Bethlehem Lullaby arr. Greg Gilpin
The haunting melody of the “Coventry Carol” is paired with original music set to the words of the traditional spiritual “What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby.” This artful and picturesque partner-style song setting, so special and unique with an elegant and supportive piano accompaniment, will be an unforgettable Christmas selection for your concerts.

Je Ne Fus Jamais Si Aise (Sound of Flute and Drum) arr. Jerry Estes
Pierre Certon’s dancing and lighthearted work is made more accessible for younger voices with this fine arrangement. The harmonic and textural elements remain true to the original, preserving the frivolity of the piece. You may choose to sing only the French and end at the optional fine, or extend the length and continue singing using an English text. Add the flute and percussion parts to create the perfect performance.

A Star Shines Bright by Mary Donnelly & George L.O. Strid
Angels sing “Gloria in excelsis” and a star shines over the stable in Bethlehem – the Nativity is celebrated in this lovely original work especially good for beginning SSA choirs. Well-crafted vocal writing with optional flute.

Little Saint Nick arr. Christopher Peterson
You will have fun, fun, fun with this 1963 holiday classic by the Beach Boys! A great concert showcase for men’s choirs and close harmony groups!

For more suggestions, check out our video below, click here to view our complete School Choral promotion for Holiday 2014, or contact us!


Take a “Holiday Road Trip!” 07 October, 2014

Are you looking for a new Christmas musical to perform with your students this year? Presenting musicals and programs is a great way to provide performance opportunities for young singers, and to teach valuable performance skills. Try one of these brand publications with your students!

Bring On the Snow! by Andy Beck & Brian Fisher
– Grades 4 and up, 30 minutes
This hilarious variety show is chock-full of one-liners, wintertime puns, and even a few knock-knock jokes! Plenty of parts allow you to show off oodles of young actors, or combine roles for just a select group of comedic kids. Silly skits include a pair of wisecracking reindeer, a snowflake ballet class, “Freeze-Whiz” (everyone’s favorite game show), and a directionally-challenged family of geese. It’s a breeze to put together – just stage the scenes around your regular choral formation. Featuring two-part music, appropriate for grades four and up. 30 minutes of bad jokes and belly laughs!

Holiday Road Trip by John Jacobson & Mac Huff
– Grades 4-8, 40 minutes
Celebrate local holiday traditions from coast-to-coast when “Uncle Nick” takes a busload of eager travelers for the ride of a lifetime! From singing the blues in Louisiana and dancing in the streets of Miami to a Texan line dance, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, a carriage ride in New York’s Central Park, and hitting the beach in Malibu, the fun never stops! Does Santa really show up in a boat pulled by eight alligators in New Orleans? Donner is going to Hollywood, Rudolph is posin’ at Muscle Beach, and Dasher is singing in a beach boy band! Discover that the universal themes of peace, joy and love are everywhere. Designed for performers in upper elementary and middle school, this 40-minute musical features seven original songs with connecting script and over 35 speaking parts. The Teacher Edition is filled with quality performance material including piano/vocal song arrangements and choreography, script, and helpful production guide. For added value, the ready-to-use student books include songs and script, and will enhance the musical experience for your young aspiring actors/singers!

For more elementary program suggestions, click here to visit our website or contact us at 1.800.42.MUSIC. Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


Holiday Choral Reading Session Recap 06 October, 2014

Pandora-Christmas-Music-StationsOn Saturday October 4, Stanton’s Sheet Music hosted our fourth annual FREE Holiday Choral Reading Session for area teachers and college music majors. Our attendees gathered in the James E. Strouse Workshop Hall with our clinicians Jen Sper and Rachel Steele, School Choral Music specialists at Stanton’s, for a wonderful morning of holiday music – and Christmas cookies! What a great way to welcome the season!

Did you miss out on the session? Never fear! Here are just a few of our favorite pieces that were featured:
For middle school choirs: Je Ne Fus Jamais Si Aise by Pierre Certon/arr. Jerry Estes
For high school choirs: In Dulci Jubilo arr. Audrey Snyder
For college choirs: The Little Drummer Boy arr. Philip Kern
For women’s choirs: The Stars Point the Way by Mark Sirett
For men’s choirs: Little Saint Nick arr. Christopher Peterson

For more titles featured on the clinic, check out Stanton’s Virtual Workshop! You’ll be able to preview full octavos with audio demonstrations, as well as LIVE video footage from the session. You can also find all of our Holiday Choral suggestions here, or contact us for more information.


Across the Field! 03 October, 2014

Across the Field” is Ohio State University’s football fight song.  It was composed by William Doughtery, a student at OSU, in 1915.  The words to “Carmen Ohio” were  written by Fred Cornell, a cheerleader at OSU, in 1902.  The tune is a hymn tune called “Madrid”. “Come Christians, Join to Sing” is the hymn most often sung to that tune.  Both tunes are in the condensed score for “College Songs for School Bands“, (catalog #03750096) from Hal Leonard.   The condensed score can be used for piano. Words are not included.  Songs from other colleges are included in this book of sheet music. too.   For more information about this collection of college fight songs, or other collections of sheet music, please call us at 1-800-42-MUSIC, email us at keyboard@stantons.com, or visit our website at http://www.stantons.com .  Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


Kid’s Korner for Fall and Christmas 2014 02 October, 2014

Involve your youngest singers in worship this fall and Christmas with one of these great anthems for children’s choirs!

Jesus Loves the Little Children by Charles McCartha
This delightful anthem combines new text with familiar words from “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” A new melody filled with joy and playful syncopation underscores the song’s message of inclusivity and love.

Living God’s Love by Mark Patterson
Bright and spirited, this anthem works in any service, any time of year, and will be especially useful in services of recognition. The composer has created part-singing opportunities through antiphonal singing, echoing, and homophonic harmonies. A beautiful anthem for worship with fantastic part-singing lessons built in! A must-have for your choral library which you’ll use again and again.

This Little Light of Mine arr. Anna Laura Page
Children of all ages will love singing this exuberant setting of the popular spiritual, “This Little Light of Mine,” which also incorporates another favorite of young singers, “Give Me Oil In My Lamp.” Options for dividing the choir into two groups make this a great piece to combine younger and older children’s choirs together for a joyful Sunday anthem.

A Christmas Canon arr. Donald Moore
Who doesn’t love teaching canons and the tune O Waly, Waly / The Water is Wide? This wonderful canon, set with original lyrics, is sure to be a favorite among young singers. Teaching opportunities abound for musical line, phrase development, range extension and part independence. Accessible vocal lines are complemented with an undulating piano part, both of which celebrate “the birth of a tiny child.” Suitable for any holiday concert performance.

How Far Is It to Bethlehem? arr. David W. Music
A wonderful addition to the Rote to Note series for your youngest singers. The composer has combined “How Far Is It to Bethlehem” with hints of “Away in a Manger” in the piano accompaniment, which your younger singers will no doubt recognize. This sweet melody is the perfect next step when your singers are ready to move beyond “Away in a Manger.”

Sing We Now of Christmas arr. Mark Patterson
This masterful setting of the traditional French carol is an ideal choice for older elementary choirs and middle school choirs alike. A creative, accessible piano part provides a superb accompaniment to the carol’s dance-like melody while optional finger cymbals add an additional layer of charm to the presentation. The song’s middle section introduces an easy countermelody that later serves as an optional descant for two-part choirs.

Want more suggestions from Stanton’s? Contact our Choral Department at 1.800.426.8742! Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT: The Witching Hour 01 October, 2014

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist

It’s already October, and I can’t think of a better way to start the month than by shining the Stanton’s Spotlight on The Witching Hour by Randall Standridge for concert band. It’s my favorite, and probably the best, new piece this year!

From the description, “This macabre work entices the listener into that bewitching time of night when dark forces gather to celebrate and do their mischief. Four interconnected themes are announced by haunting chime statements…”  The interconnected themes in different settings and styles combined with the ominous grandfather clock chimes tie the four sections of this work into one cohesive whole with each section representing a quarter hour.

Introduction
The piece opens with an ominous drone in the low winds and the first tolling of the chimes of both warning and mystery – for whom the bell tolls – to great effect.

The Gathering
The first quarter hour features well written and effective auxiliary percussion, chromatic lines and intervals, tremolo effects in some of the woodwinds, and the typical Eastern European sound/dance style a la Transylvania. The synthesized harpsichord adds a ghastly and slightly grating sound that puts this section over the top!

Spells and Incantations
Haunting mallet percussion sets the eerie feeling of the second quarter hour featuring dynamic swells, haunting long tones and disturbing rhythmic interjections in the trumpets (8th notes – 1 beat triplet – 16th notes). This even-odd-even pattern adds to the off-balance feeling of the section.

The Witches’ Dance
Now that the witches have gathered and cast ceremonial spells and incantations, it’s time to cut loose! Heralded by the familiar chime and an ominous timpani roll, this section is an odd meter (5/4 written as 3/4 + 2/4) dance. In the style of an off-beat waltz, we begin with a steady tempo full of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean sonic flavor highlighted by modal 16th note woodwind runs before a gradual accelerando pushes it to the brink of out-of-control ecstasy.

The Witches’ Flight
One last set of chimes leads into a fourth quarter hour of explosive full ensemble playing. This dance-like section is underpinned by driving 8th notes as the witches take to their brooms and our dark celebration drives to the ending!

As always with these heavily programmatic works, there is plenty to teach ranging from mixed meter, to tempo and style changes and transitions, to accidentals that create the proper harmonic effect, to auxiliary percussion instruments and fun, musical effects. These musically exaggerated settings create opportunities that can really enhance both individual and ensemble musicianship in a context that is a blast to play! It is great seasonal programming for this time of year, a fun musical goal for the spring, or a wonderful (and fresh) adjudication alternative. Ohio directors who want a break from the usual band overture, piece with contemporary “edge”, or wind band standards will be glad to know that The Witching Hour is on the Ohio Class B list for 2015!

The Witching Hour is an original compositional masterpiece. It is a study in perfect form and balance. There are sufficient themes to hold on to, yet it is full of great tonalities, effects, and rhythms that fit its theme and bring the piece to life. Every element serves the greater musical narrative. As a result, it has ongoing forward motion and never gets bogged down. It is challenging but not impossible to play, and most importantly, it is a FUN piece of music! All of these elements combine to allow it to hold the performers’ and audience’s attention. In short, it perfectly meets all the criteria mentioned in my recent What I Listen For post, and is why I’m excited to feature it in my first Stanton’s Spotlight post for this school year!

Other haunting new titles we recommend: Ghosts of the Lost Ship by Tyler S. Grant, Haunted Clocks by Brian Balmages, and Zombie Tango by James Meredith

About the Author:
Ken has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He always feels the urge to read Edgar Allan Poe, the original novels featuring traditional Hollywood monsters, and other macabre tales this time of year, yet never does.