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Every year St. John’s Music gathers band directors from across Canada to select the top new Concert and Jazz band titles put out by major publishers.

This year’s SJM TOP SCORE AWARDS goes to:

Forever Flying: The Lost Balloon, James Swearingen – C.L. Barnhouse #240951

GRADE .5 – Forever Flying is a beautiful piece that has been created to provide young musicians with an opportunity to perform music that sounds above grade level, yet is highly accessible. Conductors will find it to be very melodic, and scored in
such a way as to ensure that your students will sound their absolute best. Those attending the concert will be deeply moved by the emotional message of the music. Very lyrical! 1:57

Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Chris Sharp – C Sharp Music #240954

GRADE 1 – Tarrega’s moving guitar piece is a tribute to the massive fort that has guarded Granada, Spain for centuries. It is presented here scored in a wind band setting appropriate for ensembles of all levels of abilities. A great tool for teaching phrasing and expression. A great festival piece for younger bands! 3:05

Western Fair, Ryan Meeboer – Eighth Note Publishing #239628

GRADE 1.5 – Western Fair is an energetic, uplifting piece that can be fun for both players to perform and listeners to hear. It is composed using two main melodies that are performed in many forms, combined in various fragments and supported with
different harmonic backgrounds, giving it new life each time it is heard. The piece slowly builds from a simple clarinet solo into an epic, cut-time feel in the middle before driving to an exciting ending.

Where Words End…, Randall D. Standridge – FJH #239560

GRADE 2 – Sometimes, music is not “about” anything. It exists solely for the beautiful sounds it creates and the emotions derived from that aesthetic experience. Where Words End… falls firmly into this category of music. This expressive piece makes creative use of the ranges and colors available for young bands to create a truly remarkable new work for students and directors alike. “Where
words end, music begins…” 3:30

Firescape, David Marlatt – Eighth Note Publishing #239636

GRADE 2.5 – Firescape is the third piece in a series of elements-inspired works. Through music it demonstrates the various characteristics of fire described by the titles of each section – Hephaestus – God of Fire, By the Glow of a Candle and Wildfire!. Hephaestus was the Greek god of fire and of forges and was blacksmith for the gods. The sound of his anvil can be clearly heard in this section. The smooth reflective middle section features solos for flute, trumpet and trombone before the percussion section takes over in the fast, energetic and driving rhythms that bring this exciting work to a close. 4:50

Where Morning Dawns, Where Evening Fades, Eric Rath – Alfred #239187

GRADE 3 – Harkening back to a time when the rising and setting of the sun was the only way that time was measured, this lovely piece portrays that time with contemporary harmonies, enhanced chords, and aleatoric elements. 4:48

Autumn, Cait Nishimura – Cait Nishimura Music #235796

GRADE 3.5 – Autumn was originally composed for SATB choir and was later transcribed for wind band by the composer. The choral version features original text inspired by seasonal scenic imagery. The setting for wind band stays true to the pacing and character of the original, with added instrumental texture and colour.

The Hall of Valhalla, David Marlatt – Eighth Note Publishing #239642

GRADE 4 – The Hall of Valhalla is the second movement to the three part suite The Hammer of Asgard, an original soundtrack style composition for winds and percussion. Using Norse mythology as the theme, The Hall of Valhalla is the dramatic lyrical movement of this suite. The journey to Valhalla is very subdued, but when the dead first see the gates of the mighty hall, their awe and amazement is indescribable. Wailing Hollywood horns, brilliant trumpet and woodwind solos are all supported by the percussion and powerful low parts make this fun to play for all and a wild adventure for audiences. 4:15

Click here for the full list of Hot Off The Press 2019