Early last year I found out that my old high school band director had died. It struck me rather hard at the time. He was a wonderful and passionate man and always loved by his students. I still remember one time he caught me having not practiced or learned my part. I asked him to just give me one playthrough and I’d have it. My ear and memory had always gotten me out of having to practice much. He chewed me out about it but I could tell he was amused.
Something about his death reignited my own passion for writing music and that’s when I really got back into it. Life is short and it’s a shame that others have to die for some of us to realize it, but there it is.
Anyway, ever since, I’ve had this idea rattling around in my brain, that I’d like to write something for him. A tribute to him being a great teacher, mentor, and friend. A couple months ago I set about doing it. At the same time I reached out to the current band director at my old school and told him about my project. And I floated the idea of having the school band debut this piece at one of their concerts. To my pleasure he was enthusiastic about the idea.
So… here is the piece I wrote. It doesn’t have a title yet. I’m not sure if the mix is final, though the mix doesn’t really matter much since the end result is going to be a live performance. I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts about the composition. It’s my first time writing for a winds band, so I’m hoping I didn’t make any really silly mistakes.
It’s written with a high school band in mind. So, flutes, clarinets, maybe piccolo; alto, tenor, and bari sax; trumpets 1&2, trombones 1&2, baritone, and tuba; snare, bass drum(s), xylophone & vibraphone & glock (hopefully), and cymbals.
Please excuse the sub-par saxophone samples. It’s all I’ve got for saxes at the moment. If I do more band pieces down the road I’ll have to invest in better ones.
Genre/Style: First part is a slow, somber, melodic theme, doing callbacks to “Taps” but with rich harmony. Second part is a lively 6/8 march that is vaguely Celtic.
Composition Details (Tempo, Key, Main Chords etc): It’s in Eb (good key for HS bands). Starts out a slow 60bpm but the main section is about 110bpm.
Main Instruments used:
Mix of BBCSO and Hollywood Orchestra for the brass and percussion.
BBCSO for all woodwinds.
Mix of EastWest & something from Kontakt for saxophones.