October 23, 2012
|Variations on a Korean Folk Song (1967)||John Barnes Chance
|Tioga March (1952)||Leonard V. Meretta
Sean O'Loughlin, conductor
|Shenandoah (1999)||Frank Ticheli
|The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1897)
Scherzo (after a Ballad by Goethe)
arr. Lucien Cailliet
|Amazing Grace (2011)||arr. Sean O'Loughlin|
Commissioned for the 5th Anniversary of "The Joy of Middle School Band—Kids, Music, Teachers"
| Sean O'Loughlin
|Overcome (1998)||Bill Locklear|
|Waves of the Revolution (2005)|| Sean O'Loughlin
Compiled by John Lychner and Brad Pulverenti
Following musical training at the University of Texas, John Barnes Chance went on to perform as timpanist for the Austin Symphony Orchestra and to serve as arranger for the United States Army Bands. During his service in the Eighth Army Band, while he was stationed in Seoul, Korea, Chance first encountered the folk song "Arirang," the theme for Variations on a Korean Folk Song. This folk song, one of Korea's oldest and most famous, has traditionally been most popular when Korea was is a state of crisis—the words used in most English elementary music books suggest that happiness is to be found by overcoming life's difficulties.
In this original work for band, the clarinets present the theme first, followed by a statement by the full band. The Oriental sounds of the temple blocks and tam-tam characterize the first variation. The second variation, in which the solo oboe presents the melody in inversion, is quiet and serene. The third variation takes on a militant air in the style of a fast march. In contrast, the fourth variation is solemn presenting thematic material in a chorale style. The fifth variation is the most colorful, taking full advantage of a wide variety of percussion instruments and presenting portions of the theme in succession, which, as Chance described, "results in a jumbled canon, like the pealing of bells." The brass bring the work to a close with a stately presentation of the full theme.
Director of Bands and Professor of Music emeritus of Western Michigan University, Leonard Meretta had an illustrious career as trumpeter and organist, touring the United States, performing for churches and radio programs, and playing in bands conducted by bandmasters such as Percy Grainger and Edwin Franko Goldman.
Mr. Meretta published five of his own marches. Tioga was written in 1952 and was dedicated to Herbert Grant in appreciation of his life-long support of bands. Grant worked extensively with the bands of Mansfield, Tioga County, Pennsylvania. Professor Grant of Mansfield State University was Meretta's father-in-law. Band music reviewer Norman E. Smith states, "Tioga March is a 'playable' work with enough accents and articulation changes to challenge many of the performers and enough syncopation and drive to provide fun for everyone."
Ricochet is an engaging piece for wind band that was commissioned by the 2008 Georgia Music Educator Association District 13 High School Honor Band. Mr. Ryan Bybee was the director who first approached me about the commission, and was gracious enough to allow me to write a "fun and exciting piece of music for our group with no limits." Full of polychords and creative accents, it is a study of rhythm and color for the advanced ensemble. The music contains nods to master composers, while keeping a strong foot in the present and future.
In my setting of Shenandoah I was inspired by the freedom and beauty of the folk melody and by the natural images evoked by the words, especially the images evoked by the words, especially the image of a river. I was less concerned with the sound of a rolling river than with its life-affirming energy – its timelessness. Sometimes the accompaniment flows quietly under the melody; other times it breathes alongside it. The work's mood ranges from quiet reflection, through growing optimism, to profound exaltation.
The Shenandoah Valley and the Shenandoah River are located in Virginia. There is disagreement among historians concerning the origins of their names. Some claim that the river and valley were named in the 1750's by the Cherokee as a friendly tribute to a visiting Iroquois Chief named Skenandoah. Others suggest that the region was named not by the Cherokee, but by the Senedo Insians of Virginia Valley. In the Senedo tradition, Shenandoah means "Daughter of the Moon," and bears no relation to the Iroquois Chief Skenendoah.
The origins of the folksong are equally obscure, but all date to the 19th century. It has been attributed variously to a coal miner in Pennsylvania, to a young protégé of Stephen Foster, and to a housewife in Lexington, Kentucky. Many variants on the melody and text have been handed down through the years, the most popular telling the story of an early settler's love for a Native American woman.
Dukas was a French composer who lived during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music under Dubois and Guiraud. Among his multiple compositions for orchestra, stage, and piano, the most famous is the orchestral scherzo, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, written in 1897.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a programatic work called a symphonic poem and is based on the narrative of Goethe's ballad Der Zauberlehrling ('The Sorcerer's Apprentice'). The story is an old German tale. One day, when the magician is out of the shop, his apprentice utilizes the magic words with which his master could make the broomstick fetch water from the well. Unfortunately, the apprentice has neglected to memorize the words to make the broom stop, so it continues to fetch water and pour it all over the house. The apprentice, desperate to end the crisis, chops the broomstick in two with an ax—resulting in two brooms, both fetching water at a furious pace. After the house has been flooded, the magician returns home and dispels the brooms and the flood. The music depicts the crisis of the story through its animated character. Likewise, the resolution of the apprentice's predicament is portrayed by tranquil chords at the close of the work.
Dukas' orchestral work was visually realized in 1940 in the Walt Disney film Fantasia. Published in 1948, this transcription for band was arranged by Lucien Cailliet, a Frenchman who worked primarily in the United States, including positions with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the University of Southern California.
Amazing Grace is one of the most celebrated folk songs of all time. To take on the task of writing a new setting of this melody is quite daunting. A portion of this arrangement was originally included in the warm up book Connections that I co-authored with Larry Clark. For this full arrangement, I was fortunate to have the birth of my daughter as an inspiration. This melody exudes a simple beauty that is reflected in the birth of a child. This setting is written for my wife and daughter as they drift off to sleep at night and look forward to another day of wonder and discovery.
The setting begins with music reminiscent of a music box playing a lullaby. The low voices enter with lush chords that should make you feel like sitting on the biggest, softest pillow ever. This tapestry of sound provides the backdrop for the melody to appear at m. 9 in the flutes. Along the way, the low voices come in and out of the texture with splashes of warmth. The brass take the reigns at m. 31 with a regal statement of the melody. Some alternate harmonies open up the sound a bit with a hint of jazz. The music box returns at m. 46 and provides a dramatic build-up to the final statement at m. 54. Take your time going through this section and slightly delay the downbeat in m. 54 for the most dramatic effect. The key change also helps to expand the sound. Lean into the carefully placed dissonances that occur as a way to create tension and resolution. The music box returns at the end as an echo and a signal to let the baby know it's time to sleep.
Elation was commissioned by the Mu Delta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and the University Bands at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan in celebration of the 5th Anniversary of "The Joy of Middle School Band: Kids, Music, Teachers" A Fall Conference on Middle School Band Music. A special thank you is in order to Dr. Robert Spradling and Dr. John Lychner for their vision and the fantastic middle school festival at Western Michigan University. Another heartfelt thank you to Phil and Cindy Huff and the Stevensville Lakeshore Middle School Band for their participation in the premiere performances of the work.
The music is celebratory in nature with a contrasting minor groove section in the middle. The melody is heroic in the opening with splashes of rhythmic energy to enhance the soaring quality of the line. Some polychords come into the mix around m. 45 which opens the harmonic language a bit. The minor groove section follows at m. 59. Rhythmic punctuations in the upper voices provide a nice compliment to the driving groove in the lower voices. The melody turns into minor with some imitation between sections of the ensemble. The music returns to its heroic roots at m.87. More rhythmic energy and a gradual accelerando bring the composition to a rousing conclusion.
A rich setting of based on "We Shall Overcome," this piece speaks of the pathos, struggle, and ultimately, the hope associated with this powerful melody.
"We Shall Overcome" has it roots in African American hymns from the early 20th century, and was first used as a protest song in 1945, when striking tobacco workers in Charleston, South Carolina sang it on their picket line. By the 1950s, the song had been discovered by the young activists of the African American civil rights movement and it quickly became the movement's unofficial anthem. Its verses were sung on protest marches and in sit-ins, through clouds of tear gas and under rows of police batons, and it brought courage and comfort to bruised, frightened activists as they waited in jail cells. In the decades since, the song has circled the globe and has been embraced by civil rights and pro-democracy movements in dozens of nations worldwide.
Mr. Locklear is a 1973 graduate of Jacksonville State University. He was a high school band director for twenty-nine years and is now the owner of Bill Locklear Custom Music L.L.C. He arranged and composed music for his own high school marching and concert bands and many of his original works and arrangements have been published. Since retiring from teaching he has had numerous commission and his works have been selected for festival music lists in a number of states. The 1996 Atlanta Olympics Band commissioned Mr. Locklear for a number of compositions and arrangements, including the band's theme song, Pinnacle. Additionally, he arranged music for the Atlanta Braves' homecoming party following the 1992 World Series.
Waves of the Revolution was commissioned by the New Hampshire Band Directors Association for performance by the 2005 All State Middle Level Honors Band. The title suggests the significance that New Hampshire played in the American Revolutionary War. The seacoast town of Portsmouth was an integral part of the war and the subsequent War of 1812. The New Hampshire militia played a pivotal role in the Battle of Bunker Hill. The music reflects the power and the sadness that is associated with war.