Concert Band

Click the play buttons for previews. Click anywhere in a song's title to advance through the recording.

Unless noted otherwise, music can be purchased through Alfred Music Publishing (click the Alfred logo to purchase).

 

GRADE 1

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Big Raven takes its inspiration from a painting by Canadian artist, Emily Carr. It was commissioned for the official opening of Emily Carr Public School in Oakville, Canada. Haunting forest sounds set the mood for a moving and reflective work.

Two timeless Christmas carols are expertly woven together in this joyous offering. “Once in Royal David's City” and “Good King Wenceslas” melodically intertwine throughout, affording you the opportunity to adorn your holiday concert with the resplendent sounds of Christmas. Every section, including percussion, is featured, and like snow falling gently on treetops, the harmonies will caress your audiences with warmth on a crisp winter's night. Crackling fire not included.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Ok, honestly... three letters (FUN) is all you need to describe this new work from the pen of Vince Gassi. But if you were to use more, you might use words like cool, interesting, energetic; and with a title like Bang Zoom, your students will be raving about this piece for some time. (3:15)

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Although the lyrics for the this folk song date back to the 1600s, it wasn’t until 1906 that the song was published in Folk Songs from Somerset. Its simple melody and placid harmony provide a great opportunity for your young musicians to explore expressiveness in their performance. This poignant arrangement will lift your audience emotionally.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Honor, greatness and celebration are images conjured by this new work for band. An energetic opening sets the mood for a solemn and mysterious theme. Melody and countermelody weave an interesting tapestry while the energy continues to build throughout. The result is a piece that your students will want to play over and over.

Perfect for your next concert or contest performance, Code of Honor will inspire feelings of courage and adventure. A robust opening flows naturally into the main theme proposed by the trumpets, accompanied by the dauntless snare drummer. Uplifting harmonies add to the already spirited mood. Things calm down a bit during a moving but dignified lyrical section. We are soon propelled once again into action by the snare drum and our heroic theme carries us to a rousing conclusion.

If COOL is what you're looking for, YOU JUST FOUND IT! A simple yet effective descending line in the lower voices of the band decides to "hang out" with a very hip melodic "hook" offered by the upper affiliates. Continue the conversation into the bridge, throw in some harmony in 4ths, and the result is a level of cool your band and audiences will not soon forget. Everyone has something to say in this partnership in the study of cool. All you can say at the end of this one is Du-u-ude!!

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. This festive concert overture is sure to add a sparkle to your next program. It features wonderful melodic lines and colorful harmonies with a healthy portion of ebullient rhythms added to the recipe. All of this energy is contrasted by a lyrical section sure to inspire higher levels of expressive playing from your young musicians. An excellent choice for contest and festival programs!

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Adorn your holiday concerts with this charming new setting of a familiar English carol. To open, we hear a jubilant proclamation leading to a presentation of the melody in 4/4 by the trumpets, supported with clarinets and light percussion. Soon, the low brass revels in the theme while the woodwinds festoon and decorate. Spirits are lifted with a change of key until we are gradually transported to a gentle variation in 3/4 where all is calm. It isn't long before we hear the exuberant melody again and all is brought to a joyous conclusion. You'll be programming this one for years to come. THIS COMPOSITION ALSO AVAILABLE FOR STRINGS.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. An ominous theme opens this exciting new original work by Vince Gassi. Set in the Dorian mode, Crusade develops with vibrant and dramatic energy, conjuring images of strength, majesty and passion. It continues to build throughout culminating in a powerful, climatic ending. THIS COMPOSITION ALSO AVAILABLE FOR STRING + PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE.

From the shores of Canada's east coast comes this simple but beautiful folk melody. This lovely arrangement of "Cape Breton Lullaby" offers an excellent opportunity for teaching expression and lyrical playing while adding a refreshing change of pace to your next concert program. Your audiences will savour this charming touch of Nova Scotia.

Strong themes contrast with gentler statements, expressive of reverence, courage, and pride. Open your next concert with this easy concert march inspired by the bravery and honour of all those who stand on guard for our safety. Dedicated to the memory of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. (2:40)

GRADE 2

Amplitude rhymes with attitude and that’s just what this new rock chart has plenty of! And because you ordered by midnight, you also get a heap o’ drivin’ rhythm, an infectious beat, and a way cool tune. ‘Nuff said! (2:25)

Get ready for an abundance of merriment! This work features carols that have been traditionally sung in Canada for many years and will help to create a spirit of mirth in no time. It opens with the joyous strains of "Il Est Né Le Divin Enfant" (He is Born, The Divine Child) and continues with the plaintive and modal "Noël Nouvelet (Sing We Now of Christmas)." "The Huron Carol" ('Twas In the Moon of Wintertime) is then presented with remnants of "Noël Nouvelet" cleverly woven in. The dramatic conclusion develops brief dialogue between "Good King Wenceslas" and "Il Est Né Le Divin Enfant" that brings the work to an exuberant and powerful close. Juxtaposing the lyrical and expressive with the joyous and cheerful in this masterful arrangement will add a little touch of Canada to your next holiday concert.

Nothing says Noel better than a 16th century courtly dance. Also known as Un Flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle, it was originally performed for the French nobility. The variations in this new setting will lift your spirits as they pass from a joyous opening, through a brief moment of reflection, and on to a jubilant ending. This little bit of effervescence is a great addition to any part of your Christmas program. (2:25)

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Greek mythology is the source of inspiration for this new piece for young band. A Chimera is a fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Fearsome indeed! But just as dynamic is this musical tale of valor depicting a warrior knight’s epic quest to defeat the beast. Spirited harmonies and energetic rhythms abound, contrasting perfectly with a moving lyrical section. This work was commissioned by the Ottawa Catholic School Board (Canada) in collaboration with the University of Ottawa and premiered by St. Mark Catholic High School (Manotick, Ontario).

Inspired by "The Dream," a poem by Darren Clayton, this work reflects the spirit of adventure necessary to journey to new places and new experiences. After a bold introduction, the flutes, oboe, and bells present a heroic melody with supporting roles provided by the baritone and snare drum. The full band then joins in and expands on the theme, energy building all the while. We journey briefly through a minor key and a slower, more contemplative section. With a transition back to the main theme, and a change of key, we boldly approach the exciting conclusion of our travels.

Energy, strength, drive; words that capture the feeling of this evocative work for young band. With lots of forward momentum and energy throughout, there is also a brief, lyrical section. Ensemble passages are prevalent and percussion is plentiful. (3:00) EIGHTH NOTE PUBLICATIONS

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. “The Huron Carol” is Canada's oldest Christmas carol, written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary. The melody is from a tradition French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" (A Young Maid). Intended as a gift and teaching aid to the Huron people, Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in their native language. The Moon of Winter is a powerful and moving adaptation of this carol for band that will enhance your next Christmas concert, adding a sense of reverence and honor.

This inspirational setting for band will provide a refreshing change of pace for your next concert. It is one of Canada's most popular folk songs and a favourite with Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and campers of all ages.  THIS COMPOSITION ALSO AVAILABLE FOR STRINGS.

Attainable by most middle schools and all high school bands, this is a 'must have' for every library. Emotional and passionate, it's right on target. ALSO AVAILABLE FOR BAND AT THE GRADE 3.5 LEVEL (SEE BELOW). ALSO AVAILABLE FOR FLUTE TRIO (SEE OTHER ENSEMBLES PAGE)

You'll feel the wind at your back as this bright march weighs anchor with a bold opening and sets sail with flutes and oboes stating the main theme. Sails unfurl and the rest of the fleet (ensemble) joins in. Counter-lines and flourishes are added. Eventually the seas calm during a passage through a slower lyrical section where the opening thematic material is developed. But wait, there is land in sight! A new key is stated, and all return safely to port.

Guan Yu was a successful military general who lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty and was respected for his loyalty and righteousness. Though he died in 220 CE, he is still worshipped today in the many temples that have been named after him. The largest, built in 589 CE in Guan Yu’s hometown, still stands today. Your young band will enjoy performing this work which captures the mystery of an ancient empire and recalls the grandeur of a monument to times long past. (2:31) BARNHOUSE MUSIC

How beautiful are English Folk Songs! This simple, yet appealing setting of Green Bushes is a perfect change of pace for your next concert and will provide ample opportunity for your students to work on expression and shading. Melody and countermelody interweave amidst dreamy harmonies, transporting you to another time and place.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Some of the first steps in humanity’s voyage to the stars began with the Saturn V rockets. These powerful engines served as launch vehicles for the Apollo program, known for landing the first humans on the moon in 1969. In Wings of Apollo, your dauntless adventure begins with a powerful lift off. Once achieved, the main theme is presented by flutes, oboe, and then trumpets, with stabilizers provided by baritone, tenor sax, and eventually the remainder of the crew. Stage 1 boosters (a strong, rhythmic accompaniment) provide the propulsion needed to voyage through to a sea of tranquillity (lyrical section). From there we journey to an adventurous transition and final re-entry of the main theme. An excellent contest or concert piece. Your audiences will definitely enjoy this trek! (2:42)

GRADE 2.5

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. This delightful arrangement of "Ding Dong Merrily on High" is sure to become a seasonal favorite with students and audiences alike. This popular Canadian composer’s joyous harmonies and cheerful rhythms will immediately put you in the Christmas spirit. THIS SONG ALSO ARRANGED FOR FULL ORCHESTRA, TITLED "DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH".

Add some spice to your next concert with this flavorful mash-up of styles. A tuneful island breeze, some djembe beats, and some space for your percussionists to shine. (2:30)

Canadian composer Vince Gassi takes your young musicians on a voyage of courage and bravery with Flight of the Intrepid and its driving rhythms and heroic harmonies. A solemn lyrical section with independent melodic lines provides the perfect contrast to the dynamic opening and closing sections of this work. This is an ideal piece for your developing snare drummers, and is an excellent concert or contest selection

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Follow Crow on his epic journey as he attempts to bring daylight to the people of the far north. Inspired by the Inuit myth “Crow Brings the Daylight” this colorful piece, filled with haunting harmonies and energetic rhythms, was written for and dedicated to the Inuksuk High School Band in Iqaluit, Canada. To read about Crow's journey and other stories by S.E. Schlosser, click here (link goes off-site).

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Mystery and majesty combine to make this dynamic new march an attractive concert opener or festival piece. A bold opening, a solemn lyrical section, and a rhythmic transition, all with strong support from the percussion, bring the listener to a climactic ending. Memorable performances will ensue.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. The title speaks for itself. There is plenty of fun (and melody) to go around. (paper and scissors optional).

The men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force are the inspiration behind this original composition by Vince Gassi. The first work in his Armed Forces Suite, it takes off with a bright, spirited theme first heard in the flutes. The rest of the ensemble soon joins in the maneuvers and offers a fuller tactical report. Clarinets take over with dignity, providing a lyrical contrast, and are supported by a stately accompaniment. It isn't long before we start to feel the "spirit of adventure" building to a contrasting section conveying images of stealth and intrigue. Covert operations lead finally to a restatement of the opening theme by the brass with flute and clarinet obligato. Interlace with fragments from the covert section and we are carried to a soaring conclusion. If you are looking for a spirited concert opener or closer, look no further!

GRADE 3

Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) is an ancient Jewish prayer chanted during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is a centuries-old supplication for God’s mercy and grace. Its reverent and plaintive character is brought forth poignantly in this beautifully scored arrangement for band. Its lyrical nature and evocative colors will furnish your students with ample opportunity to work on expressive playing and your audiences will moved by its power.

Canadian Folk Trilogy offers a refreshing setting of three popular Canadian Folk songs. Kicking things off is an enjoyable adaptation of “Donkey Riding.” Singing this tune helped sailors to pass the time as they used the donkey engine to load timber onto the decks of ships in Canadian ports. “Inuit Lullaby” slows the pace with a simple but beautiful melody set in three bar phrases. Finally, we conclude with a rollicking version of “I's the B'y" (I’m the Boy), a traditional Newfoundland folk song.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. With skill, artistry, and a touch of sugar frosting, Vince Gassi has crafted another Christmas favorite. This lovely arrangement is based on a 17th century English carol. The melody is presented in a variety of keys and meters while a sense of joy and warmth is maintained throughout this uplifting work. THIS PIECE ALSO ARRANGED FOR FULL ORCHESTRA.

Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and one of the brightest stars in the night sky. The inspiration for the creation of this work came from the composer's admiration for great science fiction themes of the past. These themes all have similar characteristics which are an integral pa rt of Journey to Aldebaran; a strong melodic contour often consisting of intervals of a perfect 4th or 5th and usually played by the brass, a simple but distinct harmonic progression, a strong rhythmic pulse, and exciting woodwind runs and trills.

Floating harmonies and angular melodic curves set the stage in the opening measures of this imaginative new work for band. The main theme then bursts in with a powerful call and response statement, developing, transforming and gradually working its way to a lyrical section painted with vibrant textures and colors. The intensity of the main theme cannot be held at bay for long, however, as it rematerializes and transports this work to a dramatic conclusion.

In the early morning of August 3rd 1492, Christopher Columbus went aboard the Santa Maria and gave the command to unfurl the sails. When the wind caught the sails his three caravels were off and before long had an uncharted ocean all to themselves. This exciting work opens and closes with splash and fanfare with a sombre lyrical section providing contrast. (4:30)  Available from Eighth Note Publications.

Melodies are like vectors. They have direction and magnitude that play with, and against, each other. This new work begins with Vector 1 (woodwinds) followed by Vector 2 (brass) fluidly issuing forth in contrary motion. Against a static vector (horn and percussion), euphonium and bassoon execute the prime vector. Other vectors interact throughout; slow vectors, fast vectors, and eventually, terminating vectors. Let the energy and drive in this dynamic work inspire your band to scale new heights. (3:30)

GRADE 3.5-4

ALSO AVAILABLE FOR FLUTE TRIO

(3.5 BAND AND FLUTE TRIO AVAILABLE FROM HARKNETT MUSICAL SERVICES

Commissioned by the 2007 Albemarle County High School Honor Band (Crozet, VA), this piece takes its inspiration from the rich maritime history of the Chesapeake Bay: from colonial lighthouses to Civil War Ironclads, from its vital role in the Underground Railroad to Blackbeard and other real life pirates. Adventure is paramount as swashbuckling themes are developed in the opening and closing sections of this work and beautifully contrasted with the haunting lyrical section reminiscent of "Oh Shenandoah".

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. Inspired by the poem, "High Flight," by American WWII pilot, John Gillespie Magee, Jr., this energetic new work calls to mind the thrill and freedom of flight. Opening with rhythmic energy in the winds and rich harmonic statements in the brass, the mood gives way to a sensitive lyrical section. A dynamic development of the opening statement leads, ultimately, to a powerful and climactic ending. An excellent contest piece, this selection will enhance any program.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. “Invocation” is defined as the act of invoking or calling upon a deity or spirit for aid, protection, or inspiration, while a “Psalm” is a sacred song or poem. Magnificent, celebratory, and triumphant are words that aptly describe the opening of this exciting new work. After a powerful opening fanfare, the main theme (Invocation) is presented and interlaced with florid woodwind passages and driving rhythms. A simple but evocative melody, garnished with lush harmony, captures the essence of the Psalm. A return to the original theme brings us to an uplifting conclusion. This piece was commissioned by the St. Michael's College School Senior Band (Toronto, Canada) for the opening of their new theatre. Invocation and Psalm is an exhilarating concert opener for any occasion.

Feathered Serpent, God of Rain and Thunder, Lord of the Woods (God of Agriculture), and Lady Rainbow (Goddess of Earth and Moon) are deities featured in this portrait of Mayan mythology. Inspired by a recent trip to the Mayan village of Chichen Itza, Legends of the Yucatan is written in four sections, each one descriptive of a different Mayan God. Expanded percussion and exotic rhythms and harmonies are heard throughout.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. The Vikings, Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, the Freemasons, the Knights Templar, and Marie Antoinette; these are the legends of Oak Island and its two hundred year old tale of exploration and intrigue in Nova Scotia, Canada. With bold themes and energetic drive, this musical odyssey captures the sense of adventure that has surrounded the ongoing quest for buried treasure. Take your audience along for the ride with this excellent concert or contest piece.

J.W. Pepper Editors' Choice. 1500 B.C. the volcano of Santorin, an island to the north of Crete, exploded with unprecedented violence sending millions of tons of volcanic ash into the atmosphere, producing intense atmospheric shock waves, and generating disastrous tsunamis. It is now believed that this caused the extinction of the great Minoan civilization. This piece was written in the spring of 2004, prior to the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of 2004.

A vision quest is defined as a journey taken alone in the wilderness to find one’s spiritual and life direction. Take your audiences on a mystic journey with this exciting new work by Vince Gassi. Bold themes and angular rhythms are contrasted with a poignant lyrical section. Frequent meter changes and interesting harmonies will provide ample opportunity for your young musicians to grow musically. Commissioned by the De La Salle College "Oaklands" Wind Ensemble (Larry Shields, Director).

GRADE 4.5

Commissioned by the City of Brampton Concert Band, this piece commemorates 125 years of continuous service to The City of Brampton. It provides ample opportunity for your band to explore diverse colors and textures, from the mysterious opening which features solo piccolo, to exotic woodwind runs in open 5ths; from a delicate lyrical section to a furious dialogue between winds, brass and percussion. There is plenty of energy and excitement in this work to captivate your audiences.