The Best New Young Band Marches

Staples of both American music and band repertoire, marches are a traditional component of the band curriculum and concert programming, and make great teaching pieces.  Our band staff has selected these five as the best, most interesting new marches for young bands this year.  As in recent years, our staff march selections are dominated by the quality arrangements being made available by march masters Harold Bennett and Karl King.  While this feature and the grade levels specified on these arrangements are intended for developing bands, both Courage and The Home Town Boy March are perfect selections for Class C adjudication, while Hosts of Freedom, Side By Side, and Welcome are great educational selections for improving march style and performance for high school bands advancing to grade 3 concert literature.

Courage
Harold Bennett
arr. Nicholas J. Contorno
Grade 2.5
Full of great teaching opportunities, Harold Bennett’s young marches also make for delightful programming.  Perfect for learning traditional march style and form, full of 8th note rhythms and off-beat entrances, nice low brass counter lines, and dynamic contrast, they are period pieces at their best!

Hosts of Freedom
Karl L. King
arr. Andrew Glover
Grade 2
A wonderful arrangement of one of March Master King’s most accessible tunes.  There is some basic 16th note work, triplets, and dynamic contrast between sections.  Light staccato playing is answered by big boisterous responses with flute obbligato on the final shout!  A very teachable piece for developing bands – why not teach with the best?

The Home Town Boy March
Karl L. King
arr. James Swearingen
Grade 2.5
Dedicated to long-time friend Meredith Willson of The Music Man fame, this was the last march King wrote.  All of the classic elements are here and evidence that King maintained the quality and integrity of his writing, and James Swearingen’s arrangement ensures teachability.

Side By Side
John Klohr
arr. Laurie Lafferty
Grade 2
Best-known for his Billboard March, John Klohr composed this march specifically for younger bands.  Side By Side contains legato and staccato playing, basic 8th note rhythms, and the range is very comfortable throughout making it very accessible and perfect for exploring the components of a standard march.

Welcome        
Harold Bennett
arr. Larry Clark
Grade 2
Harold Bennett marches are very accessible, teachable, and pleasant programming offerings.  Range and difficulty are kept in check, however, this march does offer an opportunity to learn dotted 8th-16th rhythm, and push the tempo a bit.  The title makes it possible opener, and a welcome alternative to the standard band overture.

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

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