News & Views Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Community Band Spotlight: New Favorites Tuesday, September 19, 2017

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

This post is the first in a series highlighting music for community bands.

While our emphasis is primarily on school band programs and music education, the band staff at Stanton’s places a focus on community bands, as well.  Some of this is thanks to the numerous groups we’re so fortunate to have in Central Ohio and around the state, but it is also the outgrowth of some tailored community band promotions we were doing several years ago.

At the time we were focusing on featuring music specifically useful to community bands, summer outdoor concerts, etc.  This led us to realizing how many new arrangements there are each year that are perfect for these groups, and in some instances, pieces that will almost exclusively appeal to community bands.  Over the past 8 years or so this has resulted in a special Community Band category of over 300 titles (all recent releases) within Stanton’s Signature Selections on our website, and each year as we preview the 500+ new releases for concert band, titles that are uniquely suitable for community groups are highlighted and added.  Of course, we keep an ear out for new marches, patriotic pieces, movie and pop arrangements, and novelty numbers, but we also feature some of the best new concert works for groups that meet all year and have formal concerts in the fall through spring.

We are excited to kick off this series with our favorite new arrangements from this year’s releases!  They are some absolute gems which is why they’re being highlighted first.  Among them are wonderful Alfred Reed arrangements of 2 classics, Victor Young’s original theme to the 1956 motion picture Around the World in 80 Days, and a lush arrangement of jazz standard Autumn Leaves; a fun, original stylistic programming alternative from the pen of Michael Sweeney, Blue Mambo; and an original patriotic work with narration from Robert W. Smith that pays tribute to the men and women who served in so many ways during World War II appropriately titled The Greatest Generation.  This work is available in two difficulty levels.  I really hope you and your audience enjoy these titles as much as we do!

Around the World in 80 Days
Arranged Alfred Reed; edited by R. Mark Rogers
Grade 3                                                    $75.00
Jules Verne’s popular 1873 adventure novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, has inspired countless readers, as well as two motion pictures. The first of these, produced by Michael Todd and released in 1956 featured a score by Victor Young that would earn him his sole Oscar Award (awarded posthumously in 1957) for best motion picture score. This arrangement for concert band by Alfred Reed captures the magical essence of Young’s original score. Reed’s singular talent for band writing would lead to engagements as staff composer for NBC and ABC television from 1948-1953.

Autumn Leaves
Arranged Alfred Reed; edited by R. Mark Rogers
Grade 3                                                    $75.00
The iconic tune Autumn Leaves “Les feuilles mortes” by Hungarian-born composer Joseph Kosma hardly requires an introduction to jazz aficionados. The music was originally set to French lyrics by Jacques Prévert, and later English lyrics by Johnny Mercer. This classic band arrangement by Alfred Reed showcases the rich harmonic language that underlines the melody with thick, sonorous orchestration. This piece can be the perfect change of pace when placed among works with quicker tempi or more rigorous demands on the players.

Blue Mambo
Michael Sweeney
Grade 3                               $65.00
Opening with a lyric section featuring a solo for flugelhorn (or trumpet), this appealing work includes sensuous melodies surrounded by lush and “bluesy” harmonies. The up-tempo “mambo” kicks in with an infectious percussion groove which accompanies the melodies and riffs from the full ensemble. A marvelous and entertaining change of pace.

The Greatest Generation
Robert W. Smith
Symphony Band Edition          Grade 4                        $95.00
Concert Band Edition              Grade 3                        $75.00
Written for the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and gathering of heroes from around the world in December of 2016, this stirring composition pays tribute to America’s “Greatest Generation.” Beginning with a heroic fanfare, the piece transforms into lush and melodic underscore to beautiful and historic text. Originally narrated by World War II and Normandy veteran Col. Arnald D. Gabriel, this is the perfect selection to honor those that have served in the armed forces past and present.

Keep following our blog for future Community Band Spotlight posts highlighting other select new arrangements.  For backlist titles, standard repertoire, and other great programming ideas check out these categories on our concert band page, and choose the difficulty most suitable for your ensemble: Essential RepertoireChristmas & Winter HolidayMarchesPop, Patriotic, & NoveltySolo, Section, & Ensemble Features, and bookmark Stanton’s for your Community Band music needs!

About the Author:
A former band director, Ken taught grade 5-12 band and music appreciation in both public and parochial schools in central Ohio, and joined the Stanton’s team in 2004. His iPod ranges from jazz and funk to classic and alternative rock, and symphonies.  Besides music, he geeks out on amusement parks, hockey (especially the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Penguins), the Steelers, and all things Pittsburgh.


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