Must-Hear Young Concert Band

Happy Friday!  What better way to end the week than with some great audio cuts!  “Of young band music?” you ask.  Yep – these are 10 of the coolest new pieces for young concert band this year.  We’re promoting them, and they just have to be heard to be believed.  Enjoy!

Fanfare and Fireworks – Brian Balmages     Grade 1-1.5
An explosive concert opener full of brass chimes, and soaring strings, this must-hear work, reminiscent of an Olympic fanfare, is ideal for combining your band and orchestra programs, but is sufficiently cued to be effective with band alone. Unique textures, triumphant statements, and colorful timbral contrasts, especially between the winds and strings, create a dynamic experience that your students will be proud to be part of and that will blow your audience away!

From the Realms of Glory! – arr. Patrick Roszell    Grade 2
Dynamic and jubilant, From the Realms of Glory! is ideal to ring in the holiday season as an opening fanfare or as a celebratory closer to your holiday concert! Intertwining three well-known carols (Angels from the Realms of Glory, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing), Patrick Roszell has crafted an uplifting arrangement that is a worthwhile addition to your Christmas music library!

Gadget – Randall D. Standridge    Grade 2+
A gadget is a small technological object, considered to be more unusually or cleverly designed than normal technology at the time of its invention. Mimicking the electronic nature and blinking lights of a new gadget on display, this brilliant and fun work conveys a sense of wonder and futuristic innovation characteristic of the mid-2oth century. Staccato rhythmic pulses, nice percussion writing, and tone clusters and clashes make this enjoyable work sound more difficult than it is. Sure to be a hit with your students and audience, and features a fantastic cover!

Ghost Dancing – Brant Karrick    Grade 2
Don’t miss this one!! Your students will absolutely love playing this intense modern work totally befitting its title. Full of dark sounds, tone clusters, angular melodies, clashing harmonies, and jagged rhythmic interjections this work takes programmatic music to the edge – think Danny Elfman’s quirkiness meets Night on Bald Mountain with a taste of Charles Ives’ polytonality for good measure. Sure to amaze and impress your audience (they may wonder what happened), this creative work will just be too much fun!!

Grand Galop (Circus March) – Johnnie Vinson    Grade 2
This Johnnie Vinson original is brisk right out of the gate! Full of dynamic phrasing, style and tonguing, this one will challenge your band’s tempo and lightness. Can your percussionists keep it going? With limited rhythmic and technical demands, this is a great introduction to the style, and features a melody with a slight fight-song quality.

Harlequin Dance – Erik Morales    Grade 2.5
FJH captures the idiomatic nuances characteristic of styles better than anyone, and Harlequin Dance is no exception! This light, swingin’ program work reminiscent of noir TV themes with a nod to Henry Mancini features brushes on the drums, vibes, an alto sax solo, and excellent jazz harmonies and syncopations – great for teaching jazz style & nuance to your whole ensemble! A walking upright bass, drum set, colorful percussion, and a Burlesque-style shout section with back-beat cymbal crashes put this chart over-the-top!

Hypnotic Fireflies – Brian Balmages    Grade 2.5
You have to hear this to believe it!! Piano, a metal slinky, and other cool effects make this creative work super-effective! Light and colorful, and full of rhythmic motives and punctuations, this work is by turns bold, majestic, soaring, and filled with wonder, and sure to capture your students’ imaginations! Amazing!!

A Mother’s Love – Brad Ciechomski    Grade 2
Written upon the passing of the composer’s mother, this touching, lyrical tear-jerker exudes the simple, boundless loving bond between mother and child.  Mister Rogers used to say that “simple is better” when revising his scripts – of course, he was right. Featuring a beautiful recurring minor third interval often heard by a child calling “mom-my,” this expressive, memorable work is sure to leave an emotional imprint.

Sun Cycles – Brian Balmages    Grade 2.5
Authentic sounding and fun to play, Sun Cycles is based on the Egyptian Sun God, Ra, and features a wealth of Middle Eastern percussion instruments. Its multiple sections are mysterious, raucous, driving, dark, and full of characteristic sound, rhythm, and style. Teaching opportunities abound, however, your students will simply be excited to play such an awesome, authentic work that will leave their parents stunned!

A Yiddish Lullaby (Raisins and Almonds) – Abraham Goldenfaden, arr. Robert Sheldon  Grade 1
Too powerful to pass up! This Jewish lullaby has become so popular that it’s now considered a folk song, and Robert Sheldon’s gorgeous arrangement is part lyrical ballad, part ancient folk song setting. Dynamic and flowing, yet gentle, this arrangement will advance your ensemble’s musicianship, while the Jewish sonic inflections add touching emotional weight. A great beginning band library addition!

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Categories: Concert Band, Music Education, New Publications, Staff Picks

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