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All works listed are for concert band unless otherwise indicated.

Select Grade Level: Grade 1-1.5, Grade 2-2.5, Grade 3-6

Grade 1 - 1.5

Appalachian Folk Carol

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear sound clip
This hauntingly beautiful arrangement of the tune "Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head" explores the Nativity with peaceful reverence and mysterious wonder. The setting includes expressive tempo changes, lush scoring for full band, transparent episodes for woodwinds, and delicate percussion writing, offering bands ample opportunity for performing with musical beauty and eloquence. Alfred Challenger series.


At the Feast of Stephen

(Grade 1-1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
The Christmas carol, "Good King Wenceslas," dates back to the 13th century and tells the story of a kind king who goes out in the severe cold to give charity to poor folks on December 26, the day after Christmas. Dec. 26 is also known as St. Stephens Day, and the familiar Christmas carol was based on the real life Duke of Bohemia, Saint Wenceslas. In this setting, the tune "Good King Wenceslas" appears in a rustic, lively 13th century style. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," and available in SmartMusic.

Awake the Iron

(Grade 1.5-2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
"Desperta ferro!," or "Awake the Iron!" was the battle cry of Medieval Spanish soldiers called the Almogavars. In the dim light of dawn, as they prepared for battle, these fierce soldiers would beat their swords on rocks shouting this phrase. The sparks that flew from the rocks in the eerie light of dawn, together with the soldier's call to arms, would give any enemy pause. Awake the Iron, with its insistent unisons, energetic rhythms, modal themes, and powerful percussive writing, mirrors the ferocious intensity of the medieval battlefield. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," available in SmartMusic, performed at the 2010 Midwest Clinic, included on the 2016-17 Ohio Bandmasters Required Music List, and was selected for the 2010 Bandworld Top 100 list!

Call to Valor

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear sound clip
The dictionary defines valor as "boldness or determination in facing great danger; heroic courage." Call to Valor musically invokes both the resolute strength and quiet courage required to face difficulties and the unknown. The piece begins with a brief, animated introduction followed by a bold fanfare theme. A quieter, contrasting section alternates bugle calls with field drum solos, but then builds to the return of the opening material. A perfect fanfare opener or exciting closer for your next concert. According to Charles R. Groeling's review in the Nov. 2012 The Instrumentalist magazine, "This piece would make an excellent program opener or closer." This Alfred Challenger series piece is a 2012 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," and available in SmartMusic.

Capturing the Blue Riband

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
During the golden age of ocean travel, when increasingly faster and more luxurious steamships such as the Queen Mary, Lusitania, and United States sailed the seas, the Blue Riband was the coveted trophy bestowed on the vessel that clocked the fastest transatlantic time. Capturing the Blue Riband was both a demonstration of industrial strength and a source of national pride. Capturing the Blue Riband musically celebrates the excitement and sense of occasion experienced when traveling aboard these grand, early 20th century transatlantic liners. It's energetic opening and closing sections evoke the exhilaration of taking to the sea in this historic race of prestige, while a contrasting section conveys the sense of grandeur and honor central to the era and the award. Alfred Challenger Series and a 2016 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Celebratory Fanfare

(Grade 1)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
This bright, festive fanfare is the perfect concert opener for winter or spring and can lend its jubilant air to any celebration or observance in which your band plays a part. Hopeful and triumphant, this brief fanfare is written well within the ability level of developing players. You'll be able to program this useful gem again and again in a variety of different performance situations. This Alfred Debut series piece is a 2017 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Come, Rejoice!

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
From it's bright, spirited opening to it's majestic conclusion, Come, Rejoice!, invites listeners to celebrate the joy of the season. This festive fanfare based on the traditional carol, "Adeste Fideles," is the perfect opener or closer for your young band's winter concert. Alfred Debut Series.



Country Dance

(Grade 1-1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This starts simply but develops into a rousing, rustic romp (think of the folk tune settings of Orff or Bartok). It's rhythmically basic and not hard to put together as an ensemble, but includes a few chromatic notes for most players to learn and a brief "Presto" closing statement (Debut series). Commissioned by the Far Hills (NJ) Country Day School Philharmonic, Amy Burns, Director.


Freedom Brigade

(Grade 1.5)
Jon Ross Music
Visit Jon Ross Music to preview.
Click to hear 30-second clip
This march features two contrasting themes. Although written to be played by 2nd year players, its themes give the impression of a more mature piece. Freedom Brigade is dedicated to everyone who serves the cause of freedom around the world.




Ghosts in the Graveyard

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
The spooky sounds of haunted houses and Halloween come to life in this fun piece for young band. Whether you program it in the fall, winter, or spring it's sure to be a favorite of students and audience alike. The piece gives your low brass and woodwinds some prominent melodic material, makes clever use of novel percussion, and even includes a flute section "scream". The title is the name of a well-loved regional children's game played in schools around Halloween. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, available in SmartMusic, and is one of my most-performed pieces for young band.

Hanukah Is Here

(Grade 1-1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
Alfred's catalog says, "This new work musically conveys both reflection and joy with colorful scoring and expressive writing." I'm very proud of the orchestration's symphonic effect for this age player. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, available in SmartMusic.


Heavy Metal

(Grade 1-1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
Heavy Metal has the right elements to get young players excited about band! With it's driving rock beat, catchy "hook," and infectious power chord rhythm, your students will beg you to rehearse it and be excited about performing it in concert. And what's more, this little gem features your band's own "heavy metal" section, the low brass, with prominent yet playable parts (doubled for confidence). This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, available in SmartMusic.

Huckleberry Hedgehog

(Grade 1)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear sound clip
Huckleberry Hedgehog portrays the happy, but somewhat quirky, exploits of a spiny little mammal and was written for the first year band students at Kratzer and Cetronia Elementary Schools in the Parkland School District (Allentown, PA). Kratzer School is on Huckleberry Road and the Cetronia School mascot is the hedgehog. The piece offers beginning band students the chance to play fun, expressive music by combining a limited number of pitches typically presented in the first year of instruction with a variety of interesting articulation and dynamic markings. Everyone, including low brass and low woodwinds (always well-doubled) gets the opportunity to play important thematic material in special moments throughout the piece. This Alfred Debut series piece is a 2012 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."

In the Cool Department

(Grade 1.5, with Grade 3 soloists)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear 30-second clip
[String or Full orchestra with Soloists.]The "cool department" is (of course) the MUSIC department, and in this fun piece for optional full or string orchestra with soloists you and your musicians will show the audience why! Accompanied by playable ensemble parts written in a breezy, swing jazz style, the more challenging solo parts include players from each instrument family: clarinet (woodwind), trumpet (brass), violin (string), and percussion (snare drum with brushes). The infectious, tuneful melody is guaranteed to make this piece a toe-tapping hit with players and audience alike.


Jamaica Me Crazy

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This piece demonstrates Jamaican mento and reggae influences and provides a fun opportunity to work with students on a recurring syncopated rhythm and characteristic articulations. These, together with some simple yet important folk percussion writing, capture the spirit of Jamaican music. Thanks to my wife, Kim, for suggesting this title! This Alfred Challenger series piece is a 2011 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.


Jolly Old Saint Nick

(Grade 1)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This is a light and airy arrangement of the favorite children's Christmas song with short, one-measure features for each section of the band (Debut series). J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."



Joyful Rock

(Grade 1-1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This pop-beat arrangement of the Beethoven "Ode to Joy" theme alternates bright, happy tutti passages with features for various sections. Upbeat and joyful from start to finish, this Alfred Debut Series piece was named a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice and is available in SmartMusic.



March of the Tin Soldiers

(Grade 1)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear!
This arrangement, by Mark Syslo and Scott Watson, employs themes from Leon Jessel's popular "Parade of the Tin/Wooden Soldiers" in an approachable setting for young band. Named a 2014 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Old-Fashioned Sleigh Ride

(Grade 1)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear sound clip
Old-Fashioned Sleigh Ride paints a warm, nostalgic musical portrait of a one horse, open sleigh ride like those depicted in a "picture print by Currier & Ives." Woven into an easy-going theme are the clip-clop of horse's hooves (temple blocks), the regular ringing of bells on bobtails (sleigh bells), and the occasional whip (slap stick) and horse's whiny (trumpet). This piece is sure to become an instant holiday classic for young bands! Alfred Debut series.


Quick'n Easy Carols for Band

(Grades 1-1.5)
Wingert-Jones
Visit jwpepper.com
Nine of your favorite Christmas carols arranged in four parts to work for almost any instrument combination, with ample doublings for smaller bands. These are written to be rehearsed and ready to play in about one or two meetings with your young instrumentalists (elementary/middle school). Comes with piano reduction, vocal parts (with words for caroling), and percussion if desired. Includes "Jolly Old St. Nicholas," "Up On the Housetop," "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night," "Deck the Halls," "Angels We Have Heard On High," "Joy to the World," "Good King Wenceslas," and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" all in easy arrangements for elementary/middle school band students. Suitable for small ensemble, full band, duets, trios, concert selections, neighborhood caroling, family recital, or cheering up the folks at the old-age home :) You get the idea.

Regal Fanfare and March

(Grade 1)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
Powder your wig, polish your shoes, and get ready to enter the court of an 18th-century monarch with this bright, majestic concert work! After a brief fanfare introduction, the regal theme featuring brass is offset by several lighter episodes featuring the woodwinds. Despite its pomp and grandeur, the rhythms, ranges, and scoring of this work in rondo form are right on target for younger players. Commissioned jointly by the Derry Township School District 6th Grade Band, John Gabrielle, director and the Hollidaysburg Area School District 6th Grade Band, Melissa Ott, director and published in Alfred's Debut Series. A 2013 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."

I've created optional descant trumpet parts for high school or older players to play antiphonally along with the published version of Regal Fanfare and March. You can hear a recording by clicking here. Download PDF descant parts: Trumpet 1, Trumpet 2, Trumpet 3.

Silent Night, Holy Night

(Grade 1.5)
TRN Music Publisher
Click to hear
Silent Night, Holy Night is a dramatic and beautiful arrangement that will help performers and listeners rediscover the "sacred" in this all-too-familiar Christmas carol. Nonetheless, it is technically accessible and is very performable by 2nd (and certainly 3rd) year bands. Coming soon from TRN Music Publisher.



Slam Jam!

(Grade 1-1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This is a really funky novelty for basketball dribblers and band. It's lots of fun if you use other faculty (gym teachers, music department, etc) as your basketball squad. I've directed this with my own band and when guest-conducting a district festival for young players; it hit a home run with the audience each time. To make it work for a combined finale with strings, I've written special string parts (not published with the band arrangement). If you get the piece and want to use these, email me and I'll send you the string parts for free.

Snow Day Adventure

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click for sound clip
The alarm clock sounds on a cold winter morning. Youngsters begrudgingly wake and peer outside to find the ground covered with deep snow. Even better, it's going to be a "snow day" off from school! The fun-filled adventure which ensues, replete with sledding, snowmen, forts, and snowball battles is musically portrayed in this delightful, colorfully scored seasonal work for young band. Alfred Challenger Series, coming 2014.

Sound Off!

(Grade 1)
Hal Leonard
Sound clip (at HL site)
Sound Off! is based on a familiar military cadence call (sometimes called the "Duckworth Chant") used by drill instructors and their soldiers as they march in formation. A fun, but optional, opening gives band members a chance to call out vocally. The call-and-response nature of the chant is then exploited with the trumpets versus the rest of the band, and later with brief solos for each instrument in which soloists and sections stand up and sit down as they "sound off"! All this is set against a jaunty, military drum beat that runs throughout the piece. A quote from the bugle call, "Reveille," is passed around the band to close the piece with a flourish. Lots of fun for your band! Hal Leonard Discovery Series.

Super Hero

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
The golden age of comic books comes to life in this action-packed piece, taking its inspiration from those iconic, super-powered champions of justice, the super heroes! Mirroring the shape of a classic superhero story, the piece begins with a powerful main theme and is followed by a brief contrasting section expressing resolve. A determined return to the hero theme includes some harmonic surprises! Commissioned by MusicAlliance (Cleveland, OH) for their summer honor band program, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Alfred Debut Series and a 2015 JW Pepper Editors Choice.

Tu Ungane

(Grade 1.5-2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
Tu Ungane (Swahili, pronounced TOO une-GAH-nay) means "Let's join together" and refers both to musicians coming together to play, as well as African and Western styles merging musically. Western musical styles such as Gospel, Blues, and Jazz owe much to African influence. African music has been influenced by the West as well, fusing British military and brass band music, along with the hymns and songs of missionaries from Europe and the United States, with tribal folk elements. Tu Ungane explores this musical cross-pollination incorporating the Tanzanian folk song "Asali Ya Nyuki" ("Honey of Bees") and original musical material in the style of the British-African fusion. A J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," available in SmartMusic. To read "the story" behind this piece, and hear my "field recording" of the source tune, click here!

Up on the Haunted Housetop

(Grade 1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
Once on a spooky Christmas eve, as Santa was making deliveries, a fog rolled in and howls rang out, and Santa landed on a "haunted house"! This creative premise leads to a spooky-cool treatment of the Christmas favorite, "Up On the Housetop." The piece includes an optional narrator part (which reveals a surprise ending), and uses "toy" percussion instruments to great effect. This Alfred Challenger series title is a 2011 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.



Walkin' Cool

(Grade 1-1.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This is a cool shuffle groove, with lots of repeated (but fun) rhythms. Of all the pieces I've ever written for young band, this is the one my own students have liked most. A J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," Director's Pick, Alfred top seller, and one of my most-performed pieces for young band (Debut series).


When Men and Mountains Meet

(Grade 1.5)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear 60-second clip
The title, and the inspiration, for the piece When Men and Mountains Meet comes from the short poem, "Great Things Are Done," by William Blake. I ran across these words while I was working on a commission for the East Stroudsburg Area School District, situated in the Pocono Mountains (PA). Blake's poem impressed upon me the effort and determination it must have taken to establish a community in the mountains. Wall upon wall of rock had to be blasted, great masses of earth had to be moved and graded, and all sorts of materials had to be brought up and down the slopes. The piece opens with a broad, somewhat dissonant, statement that represents man's first intimidating encounter with the mountain. Straight away, however, a fast, insistent theme takes over to convey the industry and tenacity of the effort to settle the area, building roads and bridges, laying rails, erecting homes and establishing businesses. A contrasting section with a descending theme portrays the grace and magic of the winter recreation offered by the mountain's slopes. A return to the fast theme closes the piece, leaving us aware that truly great things are done "when men and mountains meet." This commission was part of ESASD's "Composer Series," whose past recipients include Brian Balmages, Andrew Boysen, Stephen Bulla, Elliot Del Borgo, Quincy Hilliard, John O'Reilly, William Owens, Robert Maggio, and Jack Stamp. A 2012 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," available in SmartMusic.


Grade 2 - 2.5

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Appalachian Hoedown

(Grade 2)
C. L. Barnhouse
Click to hear 30-second clip
Performers and audience alike will have fun with this upbeat, rollicking medley of two well-known fiddle tunes, "Old Joe Clark" and "Bile Them Cabbage Down". Folksy percussion, bluegrass rhythms, and even foot-stomping create a hootenanny atmosphere in this compelling, yet playable, arrangement for young bands. YEE-HAW!


A Joyous Celebration

(Grade 2.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
[String orchestra, with optional timpani and rehearsal piano.] A Joyous Celebration - with its bright, hopeful melody and infectious rhythms - is the perfect piece to open or close your concert, or to program for any celebratory occasion. Optimistic harmonies and recurring syncopations in the opening section give way to broad, expansive strokes in a brief, contrasting section. A fortissimo climax leads to the welcome return of the jubilant opening theme. The joyful music drives to a sparkling finish, conveying the feeling that anything is possible!


Coney Island Rag

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This lively, nostalgic piece will musically transport players and audience alike to the iconic amusement parks of turn-of -the-century Coney Island (near Brooklyn, New York). The sweet, cheerful sounds that flowed from the carousels and bandwagons of a time gone by infuse this characteristic, but level-appropriate, work. Ragtime feel is achieved via accessible syncopations, chromatics that lie well on the instruments, and sectional form. Novel percussion, including a slide whistle, adds to the fun! Alfred Challenger Series.

(The) Days and Knights of Arundel

(Grade 2)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear 30-second clip
[String orchestra with timpani.] The Days and Knights of Arundel paints a musical portrait of one of the most famous medieval castles in England. Established in the 11th-century on the River Arun in the south of England, during the reign of William the Conqueror, Arundel's imposing stone walls and towering "keep" have served over the centuries to project the crown's might to subjects and would-be invaders. A stately opening theme, in 5/4, represents Arundel's Gothic facade and the noblemen and knights who have passed through her gates. The contrasting material of the middle section (m. 52) suggest the ghosts that legend says haunt Arundel. A transition back to a heightened version of the opening theme returns the focus to Arundel's grandeur for a dramatic close. Available in SmartMusic.

Der Erlkonig

(Grade 2.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
Der Erlkonig, or "The Elf King," is based on Johann Goethe's late 18th-century poem of the same name in which a father and his young son ride home on horseback one dark and eerie night. During the swift ride, the concerned boy sees and hears supernatural beings, the Elf King and his daughters, that the father does not. The Elf King is enticing the boy to join him willingly or by force! The father tries to calm the increasingly fearful son by explaining everything the boy reports as simply leaves rustling in the wind or willows moving in the fog. Nonetheless, the father rides faster and faster home only to find the boy is dead in his arms when they arrive. Goethe's dark and gothic tale is brought to spine-tingling life in this harrowing, fast-paced tone poem for band. Commissioned by MusicAlliance (Cleveland, OH) for their summer honor band program, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Alfred Challenger Series, a JW Pepper 2015 Editors Choice, named to the 2015 Bandworld Top 100 listing.

Dreidl Adventure (Strings)

(Grade 2)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear 30-second clip
[String orchestra, with optional piano] Imagine that, at least in the mind of a child, playing the dried game at Hanukkah is more than a game - it's and adventure! Strategy is plotted, risks are taken, the battle is on. That is the premise of this epic, rhythmically charged setting of the beloved Hanukkah tune, "S'vivon" (The Dreidl).


Dreidl Adventure (Band)

(Grade 2)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear!
[Young Band] An exciting arrangement of "S'vivon" (The Dreidl) inspired by action-adventure film! This version for band captures the same excitement and intensity as the popular string orchestra listed above. Named a 2014 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.



Dorian Haiku

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click for sound clip
Two centuries-old cultural artifacts - one Western (the Dorian mode) and one Eastern (Haiku poetry) - are fused together in this uniquely work, resulting in an engaging and beautiful composition for intermediate band. The piece begins with the ensemble in unison, chant-like, on a Dorian mode melody with three phrases: 5 notes, 7 notes, and 5 notes (the haiku). After some development, a contrasting section - another 5-7-5 Dorian haiku - follows; exotic percussion suggestive of Eastern music accompanies. After a brief percussion soli, the opening haiku returns fully-scored in a broad, gorgeous climax. Dorian Haiku offers many wonderful opportunities for teaching both musical and cross-curricular concepts. A Summer 2014 review in The Instrumentalist magazine called Dorian Haiku a "unique and interesting" and "thoughtful and fresh" new piece (Aug. 2014)! Alfred Challenger Series.

Mr. David Withrow (Riverside High School, Ellwood City, PA) has developed a supplement to use with band students working on Dorian Haiku! Each single page PDF, available free of charge for each band instrument/transposition, includes Dorian warm-ups, a canon, and the two melodic haiku used in the piece. To download, CLICK HERE. Thanks Mr. Withrow!

El Cid

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click for sound clip
El Cid musically portrays the thrilling adventures and conquests of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, a nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain. Called "El Cid" ("the Lord") by the Moors and "El Campeador" ("the champion") by Christians, his military prowess and epic exploits have made him the national hero of Spain. El Cid is a rewarding work that allows directors to put something different in terms of key and meter before their developing instrumentalists. After an exciting introduction, an infectious Spanish rhythm ostinato (3+3, 2+2+2 in 3/4 time) undergirds the main theme, driving the piece as it builds. Ample percussion, including an important tambourine part, contribute to the Spanish feel. Commissioned by the Conestoga Valley (Leola, PA) 5th/6th Grade Band, Tom Oswinski, Director, premiered May 2014 (composer conducting) and performed at the 2014 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL (Orange County School for the Arts Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble). Alfred Challenger Series, a 2014 JW Pepper Editors Choice, reviewed enthusiastically in The Instrumentalist (Nov. 2014).

Festive Intrada

(Grade 2)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear 30-second clip
[String orchestra with optional piano.] From it's effervescent main theme to its graceful contrasting theme, this well-crafted concert work will have your ensemble singing with classical elegance! While the sound and style evoke the 18th-century, the writing is very approachable by younger performers. Festive Intrada is the perfect piece to lend an air of excitement and sophistication to your program for concert, contest, or special occasion.

Hercules vs. The Hydra

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
The Greek hero, Hercules, was sentenced by the Gods to endure 12 seemingly impossible "labors" in order to redeem himself. Hercules vs. the Hydra portrays the second of these tests, his battle with a nine-headed water serpent with deadly venom and the ability to grow back two heads for every one cut off! The piece begins with the Hydra's half-step motive, which quickly builds and multiplies into the music of the epic fight. The blows of Hercules' club and sword, rhythmic accents in the music, land hard on the beast but to no avail. Hercules regroups to a slow, hopeful theme, encouraged as his nephew Iolaus shares the secret to defeating the Hydra. Hercules rejoins the contest with new resolve, reflected in the exciting merging of two of the piece's themes, which lead to a victorious climax! This Alfred Challenger Series piece was a 2013 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," included on the 2016-17 Ohio Bandmasters Required Music List, and is available in SmartMusic.

Morning Star

(Grade 2)
TRN Music Publisher
Click to hear
Music figures prominently in the rich Christmas traditions of the Moravian church, dating back to the Protestant Reformation in Eastern Europe and established in America during the early 18th century. In most congregations, the hymn "Morning Star" is sung antiphonally with a child soloist as the highlight of the service. The classical simplicity of Morning Star, as well as the antiphonal performance practice associated with it, are captured in this arrangement for young band. A 2016 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice" (TRN Music Publisher).

O Happy Day

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
This well-crafted arrangement for young band conveys the joy and inspiration of the well-known gospel re-working of the 18th-century hymn, "O Happy Day." A "breakdown" section with clapping, and a gospel-style ending, all add to the fun. Send your audience home with a happy song in their heart with this perfect closer for your program! Alfred Challenger Series.


On Holiday

(Grade 2)
C. L. Barnhouse
Click to hear 30-second clip
This is bright, happy and evokes the air of excitement all kids feel when they're getting away from school for a break to go "on holiday". It is appropriate for a holiday concert (obviously), but also for a spring concert (since spring break and summer vacation are at hand).



Race Car

(Grade 2.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
The skill and thrill of auto racing is captured musically in this piece via it's infectious groove and exciting syncopations. Written in one continuous movement, its sections (Start Your Engines!, They're Off!, Pit Stop, Back On Track, and Finish Line) will help you imagine sitting behind the wheel of a powerful and agile racing machine over the course of a breathtaking speed contest. The palindromic nature of the title, Race Car (which reads the same forwards and backwards), is exploited musically throughout. Use of palindrome includes a pervasive syncopated ostinato rhythm, it's overall A-B-A form, and a fugatto section at the center of the work (Pit Stop) in which virtually each instrumental part is a palindrome! The pit crew is suggested in this section, a "race car ricercar," by use of mechanical-sounding percussion (ratchet, brake drum). Learn all about the use of PALINDROME on both a small and large scale in the piece by CLICKING HERE! Race Car was commissioned for and premiered by the Shepherd Middle School Band (Ottawa, Illinois) to mark its final concert with long-time director, Ms. Donna Martin. Alfred Young Symphonic Series.

Secret Agent Sugar Plum

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
[Young Band] Have the cookies left out on Christmas Eve mysteriously vanished? Does it seem like the nutcracker and toy soldier figurines have moved to different locations by themselves overnight? Are you experiencing strange visions of holiday confections dancing in your head at night? There's only one operative with the right skill set for holiday capers like these: Secret Agent Sugar Plum of the Holiday Sweets Division of WinterPol! This clever arrangement fuses themes from Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (from The Nutcracker) with classic spy music idioms. Set to a driving rock beat, thematic material is distributed to everyone in the ensemble while limiting and carefully deploying the chromaticism of the original. Alfred Challenger Series.

Secret Agent Sugar Plum

(Grade 2.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
[String orchestra, with percussion and rehearsal piano.] Have the cookies left out on Christmas Eve mysteriously vanished? Does it seem like the nutcracker and toy soldier figurines have moved to different locations by themselves overnight? Are you experiencing strange visions of holiday confections dancing in your head at night? There's only one operative with the right skill set for holiday capers like these: Secret Agent Sugar Plum of the Holiday Sweets Division of WinterPol! This clever arrangement fuses themes from Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (from The Nutcracker) with classic spy music idioms. Set to a driving rock beat, thematic material is distributed to everyone in the ensemble while limiting and carefully deploying the chromaticism of the original. A 2017 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.


See Amid the Winter's Snow

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
"See Amid the Winter's Snow" is perhaps the best-know carol by English organist, composer and teacher, Sir John Goss (1800-1880). The emotional scope of this lovely nativity hymn - from the cold, winter's "dead of night" to the appearing of angels singing in "wondrous light" - is mirrored in the dynamics of the musical setting. See Amid the Winter's Snow - with its quintessentially English melody, flowing inner voices, and sturdy bass lines - has it all and is the perfect "change of pace" piece for a winter program. Alfred Challenger Series.


Terracotta Warriors

(Grade 2.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
Terracotta Warriors was inspired by the extraordinary "spirit army" of clay statues - numbering more than 6,000 - created in the third century B.C. for the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China. This astounding array of armed sculptures was placed in the emperor's tomb, along with hundreds of terracotta horses and chariots, to protect the emperor in the afterlife. The music begins with a brief, plaintive folk chant summoning the army from their centuries-old sleep. The faithful warriors respond, coming to life to protect their emperor with musical representations of uniform marching and weapons display. Terracotta Warriors captures the legend and grandeur of the Qin dynasty in this striking and unique piece for band. Terracotta Warriors was commissioned by the Albemarle County (Virginia) Middle School Honors Band and was premiered at their November, 2016 festival. This Alfred Young Symphonic series piece is a 2017 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Thrills and Trills!

(Grade 2-2.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear
When it comes to trills, why should the woodwinds have all the fun? Not so with Thrills and Trills! This circus-style march is a rambunctious, thrill-a-minute crowd-pleaser where trills are the main event and every player in band gets into the act. This Alfred Challenger series makes Grade 2-2.5 sound like 3 or 4!.


"Troika", from Lt. Kije Suite

(Grade 2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
This delightful arrangement of Prokofiev's light classic captures the essence of the original in an interesting, yet very playable adaptation for intermediate players (Alfred Young Symphonic series).




Tu Ungane

(Grade 1.5-2)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
Tu Ungane (Swahili, pronounced TOO une-GAH-nay) means "Let's join together" and refers both to musicians coming together to play, as well as African and Western styles merging musically. Western musical styles such as Gospel, Blues, and Jazz owe much to African influence. African music has been influenced by the West as well, fusing British military and brass band music, along with the hymns and songs of missionaries from Europe and the United States, with tribal folk elements. Tu Ungane explores this musical cross-pollination incorporating the Tanzanian folk song "Asali Ya Nyuki" ("Honey of Bees") and original musical material in the style of the British-African fusion. A J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," available in SmartMusic. To read "the story" behind this piece, and hear my "field recording" of the source tune, click here!

Grade 3 - 6

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Aesop's Fables

(Grade 4.5)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
The PMEA Journal said of this four-movement (10:00) piece for band and narrator: "What a sheer delight these wildly contrasting settings of the Fables are to audiences of all ages. Watson has taken four familiar episodes and brought them to life with narrator and a large wind ensemble instrumentation......The work has a very wide audience appeal -- story lines and imaginative musical interplay captivate children and adults alike. It is without a doubt the finest programmatic/narrative that we've ever come across for band. FOUR STARS!" Commissioned by the West Chester University Wind Ensemble, Kenneth Laudermilch, director and selected as Finalist in the 1999 G. Schirmer Young American's Band Competition.

Aquatica

(Grade 4)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear sound clip
Aquatica is about the adventure of being on the water. The powerful, exciting piece opens atmospherically in tranquil beauty - like a serene lake, a calm sea, or an eerie underwater scene. Shortly, however, the piece bursts into spirited 6/8 material that suggests either water creature or craft moving fast and playfully through the waves. Specifically, however, Aquatica is a musical tribute and remembrance of band director and, later, school superintendent, Robert Gross. Aquatica was commissioned by the Salisbury High School Concert Band, Rachel Reinecke, Director, premiered May, 2013. Alfred Concert Band Series, a 2014 JW Pepper Editors Choice, reviewed enthusiastically in The Instrumentalist (Oct. 2014).

Concert Piece (for Solo Horn & Band)

(Soloist, Grade 4; Band, Grade 3)
Available from the composer.
Click to hear 30-second clip
Commissioned with a grant from the International Horn Society (Meir Rimon Fund), this accessible work pits the solo horn against the forces of the band in a conversation throughout its A-B-A (fast-slow-fast) form. First performed by Mark Syslo, soloist and the Parkland High School Symphonic Band, Jason Lerew, Director.




Fantasy On An Old English Air

(Grade 4.5)
Hal Leonard
(Concert Works Unlimited)
Click to hear 30-second clip
Full Recording
Based on phrases from the 18th-century tune, "Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes," the Instrumentalist magazine calls this piece "an outstanding instrumental fantasia." The PMEA Journal calls it "an expansive work with waves of color and textures abounding". Commissioned by the Whitehall High (PA) School Band, Rick Hilborn, Director.





Figurations

(Grade 5-6)
Concert Works Unlimited (Shawnee Press)
Click to hear 30-second clip (Movt. 1), Click to hear 30-second clip (Movt. 2), Click to hear 30-second clip (Movt. 3)
The word figuration evokes both the surface-level deployment of underlying structures and harmonies, as well as stereotypical gestures associated with variation form. The material for each movement is based on its own 3- or 4-note motivic cell (a set), out of which figurations emerge and develop. The figurations are mostly textural. Small melodic cells progress in each movement as they unfold, shift, build and develop. Although there are cyclical relationships, each of these three Figurations may be performed as a satisfying, stand-alone piece or in any combination desired. These first three Figurations mark the beginning of a series, with more similarly-conceived movements planned.



Flourish On An Easter Hymntune

(Grade 5)
TRN Music Publisher
Click to hear
Flourish On An Easter Hymntune is an exciting setting of the familiar Easter hymn, "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today." Part of the energy of the piece comes from the 10/8 (3+3+2+2) time signature and other mixed meter, a featured driving timpani part, and a Renaissance/antiphonal approach to brass writing. Colorful metallic percussion, including chimes, bells, tam-tam, triangle, tambourine, suspended and crash cymbals contributes to the effervescence of the piece. Flourish On An Easter Hymntune was chosen for the 2014 Bandworld Top 100 listing (from over 800 titles submitted) and will be part of the Reading Sessions at the Western International Band Clinic in Seattle, WA (Nov. 2014) and the American Band College (June 2015). This piece, available from TRN, is five minutes of celebration and exultation!


A Golden Legacy

(Grade 4)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear
A Golden Legacy was written to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Lehigh County (Pennsylvania) Band Festival. The piece celebrates the significant impact of the band experience on the lives of so many, and alternates between two themes: one a fanfare that becomes a purposeful march, and the other a chorale (or hymn tune) that undergoes several variations. The last of these variations erupts in celebration with full woodwind scoring, brass fanfares, and exciting runs by the bells and chimes. A 2017 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Lion of Ireland, Based on "Brian Boru's March"

(Grade 3)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
An exciting concert piece based on "Brian Boru's March," a traditional Irish tune named for the legendary 11th-century ruler. Framed by dramatic opening and closing statements, the rustic Celtic tune gives way to original material, all in a showcase for band that reflects the valor and glory of the storied "last high king" of Ireland. Published in Alfred's Young Symphonic series, and selected for the 2011 Bandworld Top 100 list.



Magic Valley

(Grade 3)
Alfred Publications
Click to hear 30-second clip
Magic Valley musically depicts the rugged beauty of the Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho. The piece, based on an original hymn tune which represents the spirituality of the region, begins simply but gradually builds into a stirring, expansive tone poem. This piece was commissioned by the American Composers Forum and the Magic Valley Arts Council as part of the ACF's "Continental Harmony Project," and was premiered by the Twin Falls Municipal Band, Ted Hadley, Director, and the College of Southern Idaho Wind Ensemble, George Halsell, Director. J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."

Night Journey

(Grade 3)
Wingert-Jones
Click to hear 30-second clip
This musical portrayal of Theodore Roethke's poem about a late night train ride was commissioned by the Massachusetts Instrumental & Choral Conductors Association (originally in three versions: concert band alone; concert band and SAB chorus; and SAB chorus and piano). Watson conducted the premiere by the Algonquin Regional High School Band & Chorus at the 2007 Massachusetts Music Educators Association Conference in Boston, MA. The concert band version, published by Wingert-Jones, was named a 2011 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice" and is available in SmartMusic.


Siege of Badon Hill

(Grade 3)
Hal Leonard
(Concert Works Unlimited)
Click to hear 30-second clip
Both legend and written history tell of an astounding and valiant 6th century leader who led the Britons in a series of battles against the invading Saxons. The Welsh historian, Nennius, calls this great medieval leader by his legendary name: Arthur. Wearing a cross on his shield, Arthur single-handedly defeated 900 barbarians in the most famous of these battles, at Badon Hill, forestalling at least for a time the Saxon take over. The Seige of Badon Hill, with innovative use of voice and sounds, begins as Arthur's army rises to meet the dawn and prepare for battle in prayer. In no time, the battle is joined in an Allegro con brio. Horses charge; swords, shields and armor clash. The determined Britons, led by the valiant Arthur, press forward and - in the end - are victorious in defending their land. Commissioned by the Southern Lehigh Middle School Band, Nancy Beitler, Director.

Queen Mab

(Grade 5)
Available from the composer.
Click to hear
Queen Mab was commissioned in 2016 by a consortium of twelve university and high school ensembles across the United States under the auspices of Composers and Schools in Concert (CSIC). Shakespeare describes Queen Mab as the spritely queen of the faeries and the midwife of dreams. Mab flits around at night driving a miniature chariot, landing on the noses of sleeping men and women to plant dreams in their minds. The dreams she instigates may be about the fulfillment of wishes, love and desire, bravery in battle, mischievous fun, or even frightening visions. In this programmatic tone poem for winds and percussion, Mab's exploits are captured via sectional themes: lullaby, magical flight, nocturnal work, and a recapitulation in which the lullaby theme is interwoven with Mab's flight music.