Patapan by Shelley Hanson
From Wikipedia:”Patapan” (or “Pat-a-pan”) is a French Christmas carol in Burgundian dialect, later adapted into English. It was written by Bernard de La Monnoye (1641–1728) and first published in Noël bourguignons in 1720.[1] Its original title is “Guillô, Pran Ton Tamborin” (“Willie, Bring Your Little Drum” or “Willie, Take Your Little Drum”). The carol revolves around the birth of Jesus Christ, and is told from the perspective of shepherds playing simple instruments—flutes and drums—the onomatopoeic sound of which gives the song its name; “patapan” is meant to mimic the sound of the drum, and an accompanying lyric, “tu-re-lu-re-lu,” the flute. This is similar conceptually to the carol “The Little Drummer Boy”, with its chorus of “pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.”

Nordanvind by Carl Strommen
From JW Pepper: A symphonic tour de force, this rhapsody is built on three Scandinavian folk songs. Viking-influenced melodies are weaved into a seamless setting that brings out all the rich flavor and history of the Scandinavian people. At times bold and aggressive, at other times lush and beautiful, it employs all the instrumental colors of the modern concert band to create a stunning work for more advanced ensembles.

Arabian Dances by Brian Balmages
From JW Pepper: Explore Middle Eastern sounds with this work that combines authentic traditional melodies and rhythms with original music. After a haunting opening, authentic Middle Eastern percussion instruments create the groove that accompanies the folk song Ala Dal’ona. As the orchestration builds, original themes are intertwined before the percussion ensemble becomes the focus of the third section. The final melody, Tafta Hindi, develops until it morphs into an ostinato over a magnificent presentation of the original theme that is found throughout the work. A riveting ending brings this thrilling work to a dynamic close!

Shenandoah by Frank Ticheli
From The Wind Repertory Project: 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 Indians of the Virginia Valley. In the Senedo tradition, Shenandoah means “daughter of the moon”, and bears no relation to the Iroquois Chief Skenandoah. The origins of the folk song are equally obscure, but all date to the 19th century. It has been attributed variously to a coal miner in Pennsylvania, 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.

Rikudim: Four Israeli Folk Dances for Band by Jan Van Der Roost
From The Wind Repertory Project: “Rikud” means “dance” in Hebrew. The plural ending “-im” tells us that the title means “Dances.” Thus Rikudim is a suite in four movements based on Jewish dances, bearing in mind that these are not arrangements of existing folk music, but originally composed dances “in the style of” folk music. Through the use of oriental style tonal intervals, irregular tempi, and a typical woodwind instrumentation, the composer succeeds both in adding a touch of melancholy and a characteristically Jewish flavor to the music. The clearly marked themes and the sometimes surprising (but, on the other hand, very natural harmonies) make these “stylized folk dances” into music with a direct and gripping appeal.

El Choclo by A.G. Villoldo, arranged by Robert Longfield
A popular Argentinian tango that supposedly draws its title from the nickname of a local nightclub owner. The instrumental piece was released in Buenos Aires in 1903, and was premiered in the elegant El Americano restaurant on the 966 Cangallo Street by the Jose Luis Roncallo orchestra. The tango was planned as a potboiler, but with its catchy melody and the performance at an exquisite location Villoldo promised a better existence and filled “pucheros” (pots) with enough corn.


Peter Gunn, by Henry Mancini
From Wikipedia: Peter Gunn is the theme music composed by Henry Mancini for the television show of the same name. The song was the opening track on the original soundtrack album, The Music from Peter Gunn, released in 1959. Mancini won an Emmy Award and two Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Arrangement. Aretha Franklin and The Blues Brothers released a version of the song as a medley with Think in 1980 which reached number 39 on the dance chart.

Beale Street Blues, by W.C. Handy
From Wikipedia: Beale Street Blues is a song by American composer and lyricist W.C. Handy. It was named after Beale Street, a center of African-American music in Memphis, Tennessee, and was published in 1917. It juxtaposes the 12-bar blues form with an 8-bar counter-theme. Like many of Handy’s songs, it is a hybrid of the blues style with the popular ballad style of the day; the opening lyrics follow a line pattern typical of Tin Pan Alley songs and the later stanzas give way to the traditional three-line pattern characteristic of the blues.

Blue Tango, By Leroy Anderson
From Wind Literature: “Blue Tango was Leroy Anderson’s breakout hit. Written in 1951 and released the following year (with Belle of the Ball as its B-side), it was a number 1 Billboard hit that spent 38 weeks on the chart, including 6 months in the top ten. It was also the first instrumental to sell 1 million copies.” “[Anderson] went to college at Harvard University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music…In addition to his early musical interests, he also was a prolific language learner…and he eventually became fluent in 9 languages. This unique talent led to his service as a translator and interpreter for the US military during World War II and the Korean War.”

Blue Brothers Revue: I Can’t Turn You Loose, Soul Man, Soul Finger, and Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, Arranged by Jay Bocook
From Wikipedia: The Blues Brothers is a 1980 American musical comedy film directed by John Landis. It stars John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues, characters developed from “The Blues Brothers” recurring musical sketch on the NBC variety series Saturday Night Live. The film’s screenplay was written by Aykroyd and Landis. It features musical numbers by rhythm and blues (R&B), soul, and blues singers James Brown, Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and John Lee Hooker. The film is set in and around Chicago, Illinois, where it was filmed. It features non-musical supporting performances by Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, Charles Napier and John Candy.

Overture on Themes from Porgy and Bess, by George Gershwin and arranged by James Barnett
From Porgy and Bess is probably the most famous and most successful American opera from the twentieth century and at times has been the most controversial. Based on DuBose Heyward’s novel, PORGY, and the play that was adapted from it by Heyward and his wife Dorothy, it has long been considered the crowning achievement in the stellar careers of all of the authors. Since its debut in 1935, the story of the crippled beggar transformed by his unexpected and improbable love for Bess, has been performed all over the world by theatre and opera companies. The landmark 1953 Broadway revival toured for years as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of the U.S. State Department, and in 1959 the opera was filmed by Samuel Goldwyn. In 1993 Trevor Nunn’s lauded staging for Glyndebourne Opera and the Royal Opera at Covent Garden was televised.

Hit the Road Jack, by Percy Mayfield
From Wikipedia: Hit the Road Jack was first recorded in 1960. It became famous after it was recorded by the singer-songwriter-pianist Ray Charles with The Raelettes vocalist Margie Hendrix. Charles’s recording hit number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning on Monday, October 9, 1961. “Hit the Road Jack” won a Grammy award for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording. The song was number one on the R&B Sides chart for five weeks, thereby becoming Charles’s sixth number-one on that chart. The song is ranked number 387 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”


Flourish for Wind Band by Ralph Vaughn Williams

From “…a rather obscure composition, not usually listed in musical reference works and even in books on the composer’s music. Lasting about a minute-and-a-half, Flourish for wind band was intended as an overture for a pageant, and in the decade following its premiere was lost. In 1971 the score surfaced and was finally published. Moreover, it attracted the attention of composer/arranger Roy Douglas, who fashioned versions of the piece for orchestra and a different one for wind band. 

The original by Vaughan Williams opens with a lively fanfare based on a four-note motive. Marked Maestoso, the music blazes in gaudy, brassy colors but then settles down midway through with the introduction of a serene, stately melody related to the opening motif and reminiscent of the alternate theme in the first movement of the composer’s Fifth Symphony, a composition he was then working on. In the end, this cannot be considered a major rediscovery, but neither can the piece be judged a failure. It is a delicious morsel, thematically and instrumentally recognizable in an instant as the work of Vaughan Williams.”

The Children’s March by Percy Grainger

From “In Children’s March Grainger displays his quality skills for scoring in this light and carefree work. Scored for band in 1919, Children’s March had roots within a piano solo which Grainger had composed between 1916 and 1918. At the time it was rescored, Grainger was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Artillery Band and, thus, the march reflects an orchestration to take advantage of that group’s instrumentation. In composition, Grainger was of the opinion that it is in the lower octaves of the band (and from the larger members of the reed families) that the greatest expressivity is to be looked for. Consequently we find in his Children’s March a more liberal and highly specialized use of such instruments as the bassoons, English horn, bass clarinet and the lower saxophones than is usual in writing for military band. The march was first performed by the renowned Goldman Band in 1919 and was also recorded in its original form by the same band with the composer conducting. It was dedicated to “my playmate beyond the hills,” believed to be Karen Holton, a Scandinavian beauty with whom the composer corresponded for eight years but would not marry because of his possessive mother’s jealousy.”

Spanish Dance by Andrew Wainwright

From “Based on the traditional Spanish carol ‘Ríu Ríu Chíu’, this exciting foot-tapping item was premièred at Butlins Mineworkers Championships in 2010. Recorded on Virtuosi GUS Band’s CD ‘A Mingled Chime’, it has since proved to be a popular concert item. 

“Spanish Dance winds up to a whirlwind climax with a respectful nod in the direction of Morley Calvert’s ‘Canadian Folk Song Suite’ – very clever.” Paul Hindmarsh, British Bandsman magazine”

Tower of Power Greatest Hits arr. by Victor López

From “Known for driving grooves, a soaring horn section, soulful vocals, and an extremely tight rhythm section, Tower of Power continues to find success and remains on the touring circuit. This arrangement includes What Is Hip?; You’re Still a Young Man and Down to the Nightclub.”

Brazilian Bell Carol arr. by Robert W. Smith

From “Featuring the entire percussion section, Brazilian Bell Carol is an exciting arrangement of the traditional Ukranian Bell Carol. Beginning with percussion grooves and solo fragments, the arrangement quickly transforms into the traditional bell carol in a very untraditional setting. The bell carol is a Brazilian street parade accompanied by a complete samba school. Feel free to chap, cheer and scream as the band presents this South American holiday celebration.”

Hands Across the Sea, March by John Philip Sousa

From “When played for the first time by Sousa’s Band in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music on April 21, 1899, “many feet were beating a tattoo.” The band was obliged to repeat it three times. “Hands Across the Sea” was off to a good start, and it has since remained a standard in band literature. 

The march was addressed to no particular nation, but to all of America’s friends abroad. It has been suggested that Sousa was inspired by an incident in the Spanish-American War, in which Captain Chichester of the British Navy came to the support of Admiral Dewey at Manila Bay. A second (and more likely) source is a line by Frere, which was printed on the front cover of the sheet music: “A sudden thought strikes me—let us swear an eternal friendship.” 

The line by Frere apparently appeared in a play which Sousa read. In answering questions sent to him while serving in the navy, he gave this account in the Great Lakes Recruit of March, 1918: After the Spanish war there was some feeling in Europe anent our republic regarding this war. Some of the nations…thought we were not justified while others gave us credit for the honesty of our purpose. One night I was reading an old play and I came across this line, “A sudden thought strikes me,—let us swear an eternal friendship.” That almost immediately suggested the title “Hands Across the Sea” for that composition and within a few weeks that now famous march became a living fact.”


Simple Gifts, Four Shaker Songs for Concert Band

By Frank Ticheli

I. In Yonder Valley  •  II. Dance  •  III. Here Take This Lovely Flower  •  IV. Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts is founded on Shaker songs. The first, “In Yonder Valley,” is widely held to be the oldest surviving Shaker song with text. It is a simple hymn praising nature; listen for the birdcall sounds at the beginning. The second movement, “Dance,” uses an 1830 Shaker tune which was probably sung in church by a small group while the rest of the congregation danced. The third movement, based on a Shaker lullaby, “Here Take This Lovely Flower,” is a “gift song.” These are songs that were received from spirits by Shaker mediums while in a trance. The piece ends with the most famous Shaker song, “Simple Gifts.”

James Huff

The Vanished Army (They Never Die), Poetic March

By Kenneth J. Alford, edited by Frederick Fennel

Kenneth J. Alford (1881-1945) was 6 years into his first Bandmastership when Great Britain declared was on Germany. Alford’s response to the one hundred thousand annihilated forces was this Poetic March in their honor and memory.

East Coast Music

The Universal Judgment, Symphonic Poem

By Camille De Nardis

The Universal Judgment is based on a religious concept of a journey of purification consisting of hardships with glimpses of hope and joy for those who are awaiting the universal judgment before receiving final blessedness.  The music follows this progression with alternating sections of hardships (heavy brass parts), hope (high woodwinds frequently representing angels), and joy (also woodwinds and including lyrical brass parts), and with a triumphant conclusion representing final blessedness. See  for more information. There is a giant fresco (16th century) painted by Ferraù Faenzone (a work commissioned by Cardinal Angelo Cesi) depicting the Universal Judgment on the rear wall of the Cathedral (11th century) of Todi, Italy.

Kenneth Kuhn

Danny Boy

Traditional Irish Folk Melody, Arranged by Samuel R. Hazo

“There are various suggestions as to the true meaning of “Danny Boy.” Some have interpreted the song to be a message from a parent to a son going off to a war or uprising (as suggested by the reference to “pipes calling glen to glen”) or leaving as part of the Irish diaspora.


Highlights from La La Land

By Justin Hurwitz, Arranged by Michael Brown

• Another Day in the Sun  • Mia and Sebastian’s Theme  • City of Stars  • Audition (The Fools Who Dream)

A medley of tunes from the hit movie. For more information see Wikipedia.

Amparito Roca, Spanish March

By Jaime Texidor, Arranged by Aubrey Winter

Amparito Roca is a paso doble, a dance that emulates a bull fight. According to Wikipedia the song is of uncertain origin.