by Anthony O’Toole (Grade 3+, 4:45)
Anthracite was commissioned by the Schuylkill County (PA) Band Association, Matt Tenaglia president. The piece was written for the annual honors band and is inspired by the region’s long history of coal mining. This area of Pennsylvania is known as the Anthracite Region, taking its name from the specific variety of coal that is unique to this area of the eastern part of the state. The music is evocative of the hard-working quality of the people that perform the strenuous and often hazardous work of mining. The people who work in this industry contend with the dangers of soot inhalation, mine collapses, and other daily threats to life and limb. Anthracite is written as a tribute to all who work the mines.

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 3:30)
A Prayer was written for the Kanawha County, West Virginia High School Honor Band, and received its premiere performance on April 9, 2016 in Charleston, conducted by the composer. The foundation and inspiration for this piece is the ancient chant melody, “Pange lingua gloriosi”, composed in the 13th Century by Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Subsequently, many composers used the melody – in its entirety or in sections – as the basis for more elaborate compositions. The most notable of these is the Pange Lingua Mass written by the great Franco-Flemish composer Josquin des Prez (1450-1521) near the end of his life. This setting for modern wind band pays tribute to Saint Thomas Aquinas’ original melody while utilizing modern harmonies and textures which will be familiar to today’s musicians and audiences.

by Brian D. Drake (Grade 3+, 3:25)
BLINK was written for Andrew Spang and the Folly Quarter Middle School Symphonic Wind Ensemble as the first installment of their ‘Play It Forward’ commissioned works program. The piece is intended to symbolize the various stages of life and how quickly they pass by. Each section introduces a small idea or theme, which becomes a more prominent motive in the next section…much like the transitional incidents of our lives. The basic timeline follows birth, youth, learning and discovery, love and adulthood, having one’s own children, and eventually the reflection of a full and happy life. It’s a true celebration of life, which is inspired by Mr. Spang’s spirit as a teacher, musician, colleague and friend.

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 2:00)
Celebration Fanfare was commissioned by the Midland Park (NJ) High School Band (David Marks, Director), on the occasion of the school’s 50th graduating class (2007).

by Travis J. Weller (Grade 3+, 5:30)
Country Sketches is a two-movement work that encapsulates the journey growing up on a farm in Western Pennsylvania. It is personal programmatic music that has moments of innocence, hope, and joy as the story unfolds. I owe my family thanks for how and where I was raised, for it has served me well being a husband and father to my own family today.

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 4:30)
Diamond Variations was commissioned by the Mt. Tabor Summer Band Program (Parsippany, New Jersey; Michael Iapicca, Director), in celebration of the organization’s 60th anniversary year. The entire work is based on a five-note motive first heard in the trumpet section at the beginning of the piece. This motive undergoes various transformations in key, character, and orchestration throughout the work. The musical concept of change over time while remaining the same at its core is meant to reflect the success and longevity of the Mt. Tabor Summer Band program, as it has adapted and grown to serve generations of music students, beginning in 1953 and continuing through the present day.

John Hill Hewitt, Arranged by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 2:10)
Go and Ask My Mother appeared in it’s original form as a comic ballad for soprano voice with sparse piano accompaniment. The lyric and music were penned my American composer John Hill Hewitt in 1848. This arrangement keeps all of Hill’s original words and melody in tact, but incorporates many other musical events and devices in order to make the piece entertaining and interesting for band musicians and audiences. This setting may be performed with or without the vocal soloist as the arrangement works very well as a novelty piece in either scenario. The lyric, however, is highly entertaining and makes a great impression in performance:

“Go and Ask My Mother” (1848)
Comic Ballad
Written and Composed by John Hill Hewitt, 1801-1890

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3.5-4, 4:00)
Harford Rhapsody was written for all of my friends in the Bel Air Community Band (Maryland), directed by Scott Sharnetzka. I have a long association with this fine ensemble and have very many friends in northeastern Maryland as a result of my work with the BACB over the years. This piece is meant to be a lyric/dramatic portrait of the gorgeous landscape and wonderful people I know there. At times gentle and haunting, at other times passionately expressive and dramatic, Harford Rhapsody is a kind of summation of what this place and its people mean to me.

by John Dowland, Arranged by Richard Summers (Grade 3, 5:15)
John Dowland (1563-1626) was an English Renaissance composer, singer, and lute virtuoso was well known for his melancholy songs. The melody, “Flow My Tears, is considered one of his most famous songs and originally appeared in three versions: one for solo voice with lute accompaniment; another for four singers with lute accompaniment; and third, as a consort of five viols with lute accompaniment.

The consort title of Lachrimae Antiquae is the first of “Seven Tears” in his published edition of 1604. In creating this arrangement, these versions were studied and blended with some of the arranger’s original ideas and harmonies. The first melody is stated three times, initially by various woodwinds in the style of the song, then by the brass but covered by a romantic woodwind countermelody with percussion. On the third pass through the melody, the percussion sets a slow march tempo and the woodwinds evoke a feeling of improvisation, typical of the Renaissance style. The following two sections of the piece alternate brass and woodwind variations. The percussion maintains the slow march beat to the end, creating a brighter mood from a melancholy beginning.

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 4:41)
Oceanport Overture: Metamorphosis was written as a gift for the Maple Place Middle School “Charger” Band (Dianne Ruggeri, Director) in Oceanport, New Jersey. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed many shore communities along the east coast. Located on the northern stretch of the Jersey shore, Oceanport suffered a great deal; many families lost their homes and businesses and remained displaced for months after the storm passed. Based on a single theme which is presented in a variety of ways through three different keys, the main idea of the piece undergoes many changes, but ultimately remains the same. This musical concept is meant to reflect the character and determination of the people of Oceanport as they rebuild their lives in the aftermath of such great tragedy.

Traditional Irish, Arranged by Ronald C. Knoener (Grade 3, 4:00)
“The Maids of the Mourne Shore” is an old Irish tune which serves as the basis and inspiration of this arrangement. This melody became better known when the words of William Butler Yeats’ poem, Down By the Sally Gardens, were set to its melody. The current title of this arrangement, Pure Flows the Crystal Stream, is taken from the original folk lyrics of the song. Here is fourth stanza of the original lyric, which contains the title of this band setting, in context:

Farewell now to Lord Edmund’s groves, likewise the Bleaching Green,
Where the linen webs lie clean and white, pure flows the crystal stream
Where many’s the happy day I spent; but, now, alas! they’re o’er,
Since the lass I loved has banished me, far, far from Mourne Shore.

by Travis J. Weller (Grade 3+, 3:20)
Rising Winds from the Valley was commissioned by the Seneca Valley Band Foundation for the Seneca Valley Freshmen Concert Band for their final concert of 2011. This piece derives its title for the young men and women from whom it was written – the rising winds and percussion players that are part of lasting legacy of instrumental excellence in the Seneca Valley School District. Having known both directors for a number of years and understanding their teaching style and core of their character, it was an honor to add to their program’s rich tradition with an original work for wind band. The opening fanfares in the brass represent the initial excitement and boldness for which many young students begin their study in the realm of instrumental music. As the piece moves forward, the musicians are presented with individual challenges (optional solos in trumpet, clarinet, and alto saxophone) alongside rich, sonorous moments of musical expression for the entire ensemble. My goal was to write a piece that would be inspirational for the audience and conductor, but most importantly the young ladies and gentlemen who would bring it life.

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 5:00)
Simple Song began its life as a 12-bar piano exercise which I wrote for one of my music theory classes at Montclair State University, where I have taught for well over two decades now. The melody – all in the right hand – is an uncomplicated one in 4/4, and is harmonized by a series of extended chords (7th, 6th, 9th, etc.). After working on it in the piano lab with my university students one day I thought that this music might work very well as a lyric piece for band. So, I orchestrated the original material and then expanded the work to include the several sections which it currently has. I very rarely compose first on the piano and then orchestrate; I almost always have the full blank score in front of me and then I think immediately in terms of the ensemble I’m writing for. But this piece is an exception, and a sort of reunion for me with the practice of composing at the piano.

by Claude Debussy/arr. Chris M. Bernotas (Grade 3, 2:25)
The Girl With the Flaxen Hair (La fille aux cheveux de lin) is the eighth of Claude Debussy’s Préludes, Book I (1909-1910), for piano. It is gentle, fluid, and full of light, flowing harmonies. This colorful adaptation of one of Debussy’s best-known works will be a worthy challenge and a musically rewarding experience for all medium- and advanced-level ensembles.

by Chris M. Bernotas (Grade 2.5/3, 3:20)
Settle in for a bumpy ride! Turbulence! begins with an ominous atmosphere foreshadowing the tension that lies ahead. Students will be provided with exciting, challenging parts that will help them develop their musicality. Turbulence has driving percussion, angular rhythms and an energy that doesn’t stop!

by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 3, 4:45)
With Every Step, a Memory was commissioned by the family of Denise Hughes as a tribute to her memory and a recognition of her long and courageous battle with cancer. Her husband, Frank, often referred to her as the center of their family and spoke glowingly of how she battled her disease in such a determined and dignified manner. She was a wonderful wife, mother, teacher and human being and this piece in intended to commemorate these aspects of her life.