This creative work is one more addition to a series of band pieces that musically describe the fictional saga of an alien invasion. In this installment, the mysterious and persistent visitors from outer space are continuing their quest for world domination with a new and formidable weapon, a giant robotic android. Massive and ominous, it clanks along seemingly unstoppable as the alien troops march forward, bent on total conquest. Effective as a standalone piece, you can also combine it with the other works Aliens Landing (In Your Backyard!), Alien Invasion, and Aliens Among Us for a complete musical sci-fi mini series.
Assemble the Minions was originally composed for and dedicated to the members of the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Class of 2013 orchestra program. This group had a special bond with their teacher, composer Jeffrey S. Bishop, and the term "minions" became attached to this talented group of hard-working and often mischievous musicians. From the hard-driving rhythms to the almost comical middle section, the piece has a buoyancy and playful character reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons.
The composer's father, Jack Prescott, was born in 1922, and at the age of 17 became the youngest pilot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was somewhat of a daredevil, flying under drawbridges and doing snap rolls down deserted beaches at an altitude of 50 feet. During World War II he joined the Army Air Corps and flew C-47 transport planes from India to China over the Himalayan mountains. He flew 83 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by President Harry Truman. The heroism of these flights in the face of severe adversity is depicted by the dignified thematic material of the opening. Somewhat dissonant fanfares appear at times, reminding us of the constant dangers that were ever present, before the work concludes in ultimate triumph.
This work also honors the career of friend and teacher James Barnes, who has always been a barnstormer in his own fashion.
Centrifuge was written for the 2015 Southeastern Louisiana Middle School Band Camp and its director, Paul Frechou. This piece portrays a centrifuge vigorously spinning with no sign of slowing down or stopping. An allegro tempo is used to fuel the drive and impetus throughout this energetic musical depiction of a whirling perpetual motion dynamo. The opening theme is first presented by clarinets playing in their lowest register as the machine starts up and begins to build up speed. Underlying the entire work is a pulsating percussion section which provides the thrust and forward motion along with various syncopated rhythms contributed by the winds.
Chanukah Medley for Band contains true Jewish folk music associated with this joyous holiday. The tuneful and contrasting songs included are: Maoz Tzur; Oseh Shalom; S'vivon; Mi Yamaiel; Chanukah and My Dreidel. The combination of these meaningful as well as colorful selections provides a distinct international flavor for the perfect addition to any winter or holiday concert. The reasonable ranges and accessible technical passages make it playable by many middle schools bands and can be performed by high school bands with minimal rehearsal time.
Christmas on the Thames is a fantasy of English Christmas carols circling around the beloved melody I Saw Three Ships. It reflects the buzz of activity both on the streets of London and on board a schooner bound for port loaded with cargo and gifts. Decorations are put in the shop windows; the aroma of warm chestnuts and puddings fill the air; carolers sing and wassail is drunk. The piece culminates with the ship pulling up to the dock to the sounds of celebratory cheers and ringing church bells. Merry Christmas, guv'nor!
Bring back memories of a bygone era with this light and breezy musical journey through a scenic country landscape. Brisk and lighthearted, you can almost feel the gentle breeze and sun on your face as the pleasantly rhythmic sound of horses' hooves whisks you along in a horse-dawn carriage. Appropriate for year-round performances, you can add the optional sleigh bell part for delightful winter treks over snow-covered trails on your winter or holiday programs.
The jet stream is a fast-moving current of air found high in the atmosphere that directly affects the weather all around the globe. This composition portrays the various speeds and motions of these powerful air currents that have a major influence throughout the world. An opening series of festive fanfares introduces the arrival of this majestic force of nature, followed by the flowing melody that soars throughout - much like the fast-moving rivers of air that make up this irrepressible force of nature.
Keystone Regatta was commissioned by the bands of Cleveland, Glenpool, and Skiatook, Oklahoma in recognition of Steve and Mary Snider and their outstanding commitment and contribution to the music students of eastern Oklahoma. The regal opening and spirited themes treat the listener to an impressive musical presentation that also serves as a fitting tribute to these two dedicated and respected music supporters. Suitable for both concert and festival presentations, it gives developing bands the opportunity to explore new challenges and experience well-crafted musical material at their next performance.
Letters from the Battlefield was commissioned by the Land of Grant Honor Band to commemorate the end of the American Civil War. The collected letters of U.S. Grant reveal much information about the thoughts and emotions he was experiencing around the events of the Civil War. Some of the letters are tenderhearted, written in moments of sentimental passion; others are very clear and emphatic statements that he will do whatever it takes to bring the war to a close. The many moods and emotions expressed in his correspondence are reflected in the various sections of this powerful and moving work. An outstanding concert work, it is also appropriate for Civil War or patriotic commemorative ceremonies.
On a Catalonian Carol is a setting of the traditional Catalan carol El Noi de la Mare (The Child of the Mother). This lyric carol originates from the Catalan region of Spain, and the stylish influences of that country are evident in the flowing lines of the touching melody. This setting is not a direct transcription of the song but rather a carefully scored rendition that supports and enhances the elements of the original, allowing the simple beauty of the melody to be placed on full display.
Power Play was commissioned by band director Robert Ball and the Mill Creek Middle School Band, Shawnee, Kansas. This exciting addition to young band repertoire was written to deliver an energetic element to concert programs. Pushing the tempo will help players develop their technique and, along with exaggerating the accents, will contribute to the driving force of the piece. While the overall effect sounds difficult, it is very playable by middle or high school bands and will be a reliable power source for your next performance.
Relentless is an aggressive and hard-charging piece for concert band that was inspired by the belief that we all, in our own way, have the ability to be unstoppable if we choose to be. Inside everyone there is a pool of positive energy, determination, and drive that, when utilized, can overcome any obstacle or hardship. We must all call on this inner strength and resolve to be relentless in the pursuit of our dreams and convictions.
This tone poem evokes an imaginary saga of the rise to power of a medieval realm led by a valiant young knight against tyrannical forces. A dramatic and bold opening sets the stage as these warriors set out to deliver the peasants from despair and oppression. The action intensifies until the warriors bring the battle to a victorious conclusion with the land and people they fought for emerging to become The Rising Kingdom.
Spirit of Olympus was commissioned by director Elaine Wersky and the Olympus Music Program on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Olympus Junior High School. Wersky asked that the celebratory work also provide a middle section that could serve as an alma mater for the school. The true spirit of the student body is reflected in the great opening fanfare in the high brass with strong support from the percussion section. The alma mater is first presented by the full woodwind choir supported with glistening metallic percussion as accompaniment. A lush full-band treatment follows, emphasizing the majestic import of the meaningful melody. An energetic finale brings the work to a fittingly proud and regal close.
American pop culture is full of examples of the merging and melding of different artistic styles that end up with surprising and entertaining results. This work for young band is no exception as the timeless music of Tchaikovsky often heard at the holidays trades in ballet shoes for guiros and timbales. Many of the original rhythms of the ballet music have been altered to convey an authentic-sounding samba dance style. Holding true to the form of the original work, this setting of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy presents a decidedly different twist on a holiday classic, allowing students to learn to play a wonderful Latin dance style.