News & Views Monday, October 20, 2014

New Star-Spangled Titles for Band Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finding unique patriotic selections can be a challenge, but there is a wealth of new pieces for both young band and high school this year.  Ranging from typical fare (America, the Beautiful & The Star-Spangled Banner), to salutes to history (The Gettysburg Address; A House Divided; Last Full Measure); honoring the fallen (A Celebration of Taps; Ask Not; Arlington), and salutes to everyday heroes (Call to the Heroes); patriotic flag-wavers (Banners on Parade), and wonderful originals (Always United, Forever Strong & Legacy of Honor), there is something new to fill every patriotic programming slot.  All of these selections come highly recommended by our band staff, are great choices for patriotic concerts and civic events, and will make great additions to your library.

New Patriotic Titles for Young Band

America, the Beautiful 
arr. Dragon/Wagner
Grade 2
Long-established as THE setting of America, the Beautiful, the majestic beauty and awesome grandeur of Carmen Dragon’s arrangement has been preserved in this gorgeous edition with accommodations made for younger, less experienced groups. This edition is a must-have addition to your library that your students and audience deserve to experience!

Call to the Heroes
Chris M. Bernotas
Grade 1.5
This piece was inspired by the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the heroic acts of the first responders. Heroes surround us in life; this piece pays tribute to our everyday heroes, such as our parents, teachers, and peers.

A Celebration of Taps 
arr. Jerry Brubaker
Grade 2
Intertwining a harmonic component and featuring contrapuntal textures, this moving and mysterious work was inspired by a performance of Taps witnessed by the arranger in Arlington National Cemetery celebration the 150th anniversary of the hallowed melody with 150 buglers positioned throughout the twelve acre grounds.

The Gettysburg Address
Michael Story
Grade 1
To be performed with or without a narrator, this work contains musical fragments from three civil war songs, including the Battle Cry of Freedom, Dixie, and Battle Hymn of the Republic. Scored for beginners, the use of the narration will certainly enhance this patriotic setting.

A House Divided        
Brian Balmages
Grade 2.5
Based on Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech in 1858 about slavery, this contemplative work weaves original material with America to depict the tension in the House of Representatives. Often, the melody to America is altered melodically and harmonically as moments of anger, rage and fear dissolve into quirky moments of patriotism. The end of the work is magical, as the words let freedom ring are sung by the ensemble to leave the audience speechless.

Last Full Measure
Michael Sweeney
Grade 2.5
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Michael Sweeney has created an imaginative medley of Civil War tunes well-suited for young bands. The Girl I Left Behind Me (with optional tin whistles), When Johnny Comes Marching Home, and Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier express longing and hope for loved ones away, while Battle Cry of Freedom and Battle Hymn of the Republic inspire feelings of patriotic resolve and courage.

Yankee Fanfare
Travis J. Weller
Grade 2.5
Imaginative, crisp scoring and a constant rhythmic drive energetically propel this fresh new take on Yankee Doodle from start to finish. Originally used by British Soldiers to mock the American Colonists during the Revolutionary War, the Colonists used Yankee Doodle as a rallying song when the tide of war turned in their direction. Your students should rally around this stirring, very fun setting featuring mixed meters and engaging parts for all instruments, which could be used as an attention-getting opener or bring down the house closer!

                                                                                                                                                

New Patriotic Titles for Concert Band

Always United, Forever Strong
Brian Balmages
Grade 4
This dynamic concert opener reflects on the power of a community coming together to be greater than the sum of its individual members. A single note fanfare progressively builds and blossoms into a massive declaration of power and might. Glorious and resolute, this is a perfect programming alternative to the standard patriotic fare.

America, the Beautiful 
arr. Erik Morales
Grade 3
This thoughtful, yet powerful arrangement brings a distinct patriotic element to your program with a focus on harmonic beauty and ensemble sound. Melodies linger at times, then push forward as the music reaches a stunning climax full of polychords and a breathtaking ending.

Arlington (Where Giants Lie Sleeping) 
Paul Murtha
Grade 4
Composed as a tribute to generations of American servicemen and women buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., this powerful and emotional work is a fitting addition to any memorial occasion or concert. Offstage trumpets announce the opening theme following by reverent strains and a solemn statement of My Country, ‘Tis of Thee. The piece develops and builds gradually, reaching a heroic climax with the familiar hymn God of Our Fathers before returning to a quiet and reflective mood as the offstage trumpets return.

Ask Not: A Musical Tribute to JFK
James Swearingen
Grade 3
A glimpse of American history is unveiled in this stunning work that musically reflects the life and times of our 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Through the use of a narrator, a wealth of information is provided that the audience will find fascinating and informative, bringing music and history together to create an educational and inspirational event.

Banners on Parade
arr. Stephen Bulla
Grade 3
Perfect for any patriotic event or showing pride in the national colors at any time, here is a rousing and creative arrangement of familiar flag-wavers! Stephen Bulla opens with You’re a Grand Old Flag, followed by the “hurrah for the flag of the free” trio section of Stars and Stripes Forever, and finishes with a toe-tapping rendition of Yankee Doodle Boy.

Legacy of Honor
Jay Bocook
Grade 4
This impressive work from Jay Bocook opens with a reverent and lush chorale segment interspersed with brief solos for oboe, flute, trumpet, and bassoon. The pace quickens with a grand heroic theme which evolves and intensifies into a majestic climax. The mood calms as this beautifully orchestrated and rewarding piece closes in a quiet and delicate manner.

The Star-Spangled Banner
arr. Damrosch/Sousa
Grade 4
This is the first concert-sized publication of the superb Sousa-Damrosch Star Spangled Banner. Their Ab version remains one of the most standard and sing-able arrangements of our National Anthem. It was richly harmonized in 1917 by Walter Damrosch and skillfully arranged by John Philip Sousa. This arrangement has been carefully editied by Keith Brion, and includes fascinating historical background.

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