Favorite Liturature for Young Bands

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by bandman, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. bandman

    bandman Forte User

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    I got this idea from the other thread which is doing so well. With over 25-years as a middle school band director I'll find the answers given here to be very interesting. Who knows? Maybe your response will cause me to pick up a new selection for my band this coming school year. Thanks in advance for your responses.

    Here is a real challenge. Everyone knows great literature in grades IV, V and VI, but how many of you can name some tunes in grade I, II and III that are wonderful? Remember that it should be something that will stand the test of time, and be recalled as a great/really good piece of music that is within the playing ability of a good middle school/junior high band, but would be worthy of being played by a good high school, college, or professional band.

    This is a great chance for some of you younger players to list your favorites from when you were in middle school through 9th grade. Maybe you have not had the chance to play all the grade V and VI literature yet, but I bet you can list many fine tunes from your younger days!

    I’ll start off by listing some of my favorite selections for young band:

    Three Scottish Folk Songs - John Edmondson
    Balladaire – Frank Erickson
    Air for Band – Frank Erickson
    On a Hymn Song of Phillip Bliss – David Holsinger
    Allegheny Overture – Anne McGinty
    All the Pretty Little Horses – Anne McGinty
    Chorale Prelude: All Things Bright and Beautiful – Claude T. Smith
    Blue Ridge Saga – James Swearingen
    Northpointe Fantasy – James Swearingen
    Linden Lea – Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arr. By John Stout
    Korean Folk Song Suite – James Ployhar
    Wondrous Love – James Ployhar
     
  2. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    Great spinoff! Also some great titles I might want to try next year with my 7-8 and 5-6 groups.

    Here are some of my all-time favorites:
    Canto-W. Francis McBeth
    Praises-W. Francis McBeth
    Stormquest (body of 16 works) Stephen Melillo(there are 3 works in that set by Curt DeMott) (Ranges from young middle school/advanced elementary to easy high school; 2nd clarinets stay below the break, horns below top line F; music is very "filmic" sounding; much of the work is done as a tribute to WW2 or descriptive of events in WW2...my kids request something of his every year).
    Regenesis (based on the eruption of Mount St. Helen's and the rejuvination cycle of the earth; in 5 "parts"; very accessible by 7-8 band)
    Ancient Voices-Michael Sweeney
    Aztec Dance- Mike Story
    The Tempest -Robert W. Smith (very accessible by elementary groups)
    Song Without Words-Holst (taken from the Suite), arranged by Mike Story, I think.
    Forge of Vulcan (can't remember the composer)
    Trail of Tears-James Barnes (this goes to high B in the trumpets and high e in the clarinets...be sure you have strong players there)
    Variation Overture-Clifton Williams (endurance can be an issue)
     
  3. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    Ok, I'm probably not going to remember many of the composers, if any, but here goes my best shot.

    Oswego Festival Overture
    Into the Light
    Pirates, by Doug Akey
    Parade of the Wooden Warriors, (Holsinger, I think)
    The Inner Light, by Jay Bocock arranged by some guy...
    On a Hymsong of Phillip Bilss, David Holsinger
    Rollo Takes A Walk (not very 'musical' but a very fun tune to play)
    American River Songs, Robert Sheldon (I think)
    Rhythm Machine, by Timothy Broege (I think)
    Flight of the Pegasus
    Remembrance
    Fall River Overture
    Riders On the Wind, by Doug Akey
    Legends of the Fall (a choral arranged by Karl Husa? Maybe)

    An my personal favorite from my Jr. High:
    "VOODOO"
    This peice wasn't really a pice of music, but more of a stage show. We had all the exit signs in the auditorium taped up and made the whole hall and stage as dark as possible, the only light was some very dim stand ligts by our directcor, and the percussion equiptment, but that wansn't noticable from the audiance. For the most part there wasn't any real "notes" written on our music, more of directions and litle "X"s on a staff, kind of like a percussion part. But we did crazy things like breating in though our mouthpieces to make a really high whistle sound, or playing our mutes and slides like a flute to make that 'humming' sound. Percussion had some of the weirdest instruments that I've never even heard of before and they did things like useing a string bass bow on a suspended cymbal and things like that. We all had flashlights under our chairs and at certain times people would flash them around the audiance. We even had about 6 or 7 kids go and sit out in the house and at certain spots they would jump up and just scream at the top of their lungs!
    It was simply an amazeing pice of creativity, I wish I could remember the "composers" name...

    Anyways, in Jr. High, my director was Douglas Akey, some of you might have heard of him. Well, he always wrote music mainly for Jr. Highs and lower Highschool level stuff, so we played alot of his music, and everyone loved it. So if you're looking for literature for you middle school bands, I would deffinatly recomend anything by Doug Akey...
     
  4. bandman

    bandman Forte User

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    Douglas Akey!!! What a great talent he is!!! One of our favorite pieces was A Susato Prelude. Other fine pieces are: Tallis Prelude, Shiloh Canyon Fantasy, and Cascade River Overture. We played those and enjoyed them all. He writes very well for the band that is at the level where they are really above most of the middle school music but just below the really legit high school literature.

    I wonder, did you ever have a chance to meet Anne McGinty or John Edmondson while you were in middle school. They were the owners of the company that your director wrote for, and both are wonderful composers as well. They are both good friends of mine and they were the ones who told me about Akey’s music. The lived in Scottsdale. I have no idea if that is close to where you live, but I thought with your director's connection that maybe you had a chance to meet them.
     
  5. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    If I remember right, we did have the chance to meet John Edmondson, unfortuanatly, at that time I was in just a 13 year old litle brat and didn't really care, I just wanted to play trumpet... So I couldn't really tell you much about it, but now that I'm getting more into music, I really wish I had payed more attention! We never meet Anne McGinty though, but I wish we did, but we never got the chance, I think she might have moved out of Scottsdale before I was at the Jr. High.
    Akey really is a great guy, and an amazeing french horn player too I might add. It's unfortunate that he's only teaching at the Jr. High level, He would make an outstanding Highschool, or even college professor, but also it's cool that he's dealing with all the younger kids and getting them to really enjoy music at such a young age.
    He really does have an amazeing mind... and not just musicaly, his classes arn't just a band class, it's like a course on life.

    And by the way, yes, Scotsdale is very close to where we are in Chandler and Mesa, about 10 miles north, but this whole Phoenix Metro is basicly the same city.
     
  6. bandman

    bandman Forte User

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    She is still living in Scottsdale (or at least she was as of yesterday when I spoke with her - she is a good friend of mine!), so maybe it's not too late. She is an amazing woman.

    Ouch!!! I've been at the middle school level for over 25 years. I'm there because I love those kids. Remember, if all the great directors moved out of the middle school band room all the high school bands would not be so great! Setting a great foundation for our students is a very important part of our job. Making them love music is even more important!
     
  7. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

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    Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't mean it that way. Haha, no, I understand that its great that these young students are getting such good fundementals from such a great person while they're still young. It's great that he's teaching the younger kids. I just ment, he could make an even bigger name for himself, and make an even better career for himself if he was teaching at a high school or college. But Akey is a good guy, and he does this for the studends, he is a very selfless person wich is great. It's just that you don't get much attention from the public in the area when theres other highschools and colleges in the area that are much more advanced and playing much more advanced music. The general public looks at a middle school band and dosn't give them the respect that they deserve, they don't realize that this is where all the great minds start. I think it's great that he's teaching at the middle school level, it's great for the kids, (like me), I don't know where I would be without him. I was just saying that he could make more of himself if he was with more advanced groups, Akey is a great guy, and I'm sorry if what I said kind of sounded like it was a slam on him or his profession of a middle school band director. Teachers at the beggining or entry level are even more important than at the highschool level because they have to set the mold for the students and create the fundementals and love for music.
    So once again, I'm sorry if you took that the wrong way, I didn't mean it as a slam.
     

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