Grade 1 - 1.5

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BAND GRADE 1 - 1.5

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

This hauntingly beautiful arrangement of the tune "Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head" explores the Nativity with peaceful reverence and mysterious wonder. The setting includes expressive tempo changes, lush scoring for full band, transparent episodes for woodwinds, and delicate percussion writing, offering bands ample opportunity for performing with musical beauty and eloquence. Alfred Challenger series.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1-1.5): Click to See & Hear

The Christmas carol, "Good King Wenceslas," dates back to the 13th century and tells the story of a kind king who goes out in the severe cold to give charity to poor folks on December 26, the day after Christmas. Dec. 26 is also known as St. Stephen’s Day, and the familiar Christmas carol was based on the real life Duke of Bohemia, Saint Wenceslas. In this setting, the tune "Good King Wenceslas" appears in a rustic, lively 13th century style. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," and available in SmartMusic.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5-2): Click to hear

"Desperta ferro!," or "Awake the Iron!" was the battle cry of Medieval Spanish soldiers called the Almogavars. In the dim light of dawn, as they prepared for battle, these fierce soldiers would beat their swords on rocks shouting this phrase. The sparks that flew from the rocks in the eerie light of dawn, together with the soldier's call to arms, would give any enemy pause. Awake the Iron, with its insistent unisons, energetic rhythms, modal themes, and powerful percussive writing, mirrors the ferocious intensity of the medieval battlefield. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," available in SmartMusic, performed at the 2010 Midwest Clinic, included on the 2016-17 Ohio Bandmasters Required Music List, and was selected for the 2010 Bandworld Top 100 list!

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

The dictionary defines valor as "boldness or determination in facing great danger; heroic courage." Call to Valor musically invokes both the resolute strength and quiet courage required to face difficulties and the unknown. The piece begins with a brief, animated introduction followed by a bold fanfare theme. A quieter, contrasting section alternates bugle calls with field drum solos, but then builds to the return of the opening material. A perfect fanfare opener or exciting closer for your next concert. According to Charles R. Groeling's review in the Nov. 2012 The Instrumentalist magazine, "This piece would make an excellent program opener or closer." This Alfred Challenger series piece is a 2012 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," and available in SmartMusic.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to See & Hear

During the golden age of ocean travel, when increasingly faster and more luxurious steamships such as the Queen Mary, Lusitania, and United States sailed the seas, the Blue Riband was the coveted trophy bestowed on the vessel that clocked the fastest transatlantic time. Capturing the Blue Riband was both a demonstration of industrial strength and a source of national pride. Capturing the Blue Riband musically celebrates the excitement and sense of occasion experienced when traveling aboard these grand, early 20th century transatlantic liners. It's energetic opening and closing sections evoke the exhilaration of taking to the sea in this historic race of prestige, while a contrasting section conveys the sense of grandeur and honor central to the era and the award. Alfred Challenger Series and a 2016 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to See & Hear

This bright, festive fanfare is the perfect concert opener for winter or spring and can lend its jubilant air to any celebration or observance in which your band plays a part. Hopeful and triumphant, this brief fanfare is written well within the ability level of developing players. You'll be able to program this useful gem again and again in a variety of different performance situations. This Alfred Debut series piece is a 2017 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to See & Hear

From it's bright, spirited opening to it's majestic conclusion, Come, Rejoice!, invites listeners to celebrate the joy of the season. This festive fanfare based on the traditional carol, "Adeste Fideles," is the perfect opener or closer for your young band's winter concert. Alfred Debut Series.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1-1.5): Click to hear clip

This starts simply but develops into a rousing, rustic romp (think of the folk tune settings of Orff or Bartok). It's rhythmically basic and not hard to put together as an ensemble, but includes a few chromatic notes for most players to learn and a brief "Presto" closing statement (Debut series). Commissioned by the Far Hills (NJ) Country Day School Philharmonic, Amy Burns, Director.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to See & Hear

A macabre figurehead on the prow of a medieval Norse warship, followed by its large sail adorned with a mythical beast, slowly emerges from the mist on the cold, dark sea. The rough voice of the ship master and the urgent beat of the drum call the boat’s oarsmen to strenuous, rhythmic movement. The Norsemen of the Dragonship skillfully maneuver through shadowy fog and suddenly appears from the mist! This Challenger Series piece is a 2018 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

El Cid musically portrays the thrilling adventures and conquests of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, a nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain. Called "El Cid" ("the Lord") by the Moors and "El Campeador" ("the champion") by Christians, his military prowess and exploits have made him a national hero in Spain. El Cid is a rewarding work that allows directors to put something different in terms of key and meter before their developing instrumentalists. After an exciting introduction, an infectious Spanish rhythm ostinato (3+3, 2+2+2 in 3/4 time) undergirds the main theme, driving the piece as it builds. Ample percussion, including an important tambourine part, contribute to the Spanish feel. Commissioned by the Conestoga Valley (Leola, PA) 5th/6th Grade Band, Tom Oswinski, Director, premiered May 2014 (composer conducting) and performed at the 2014 Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL (Orange County School for the Arts Frederick Fennell Wind Ensemble, Teren Shafer, director). Alfred Challenger Series, a 2014 JW Pepper Editors Choice, reviewed enthusiastically in The Instrumentalist (Nov. 2014).

Escape from Thunder Mountain

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Coming Summer 2020!

The tropical island volcano, known to natives as “Thunder Mountain,” has lain dormant for years. Superstition has it that the last time Thunder Mountain erupted was the last time outside explorers trespassed up its sacred slopes. Now, as an unaware party of adventurous researchers work atop the legendary mountain, it begins to shake with pre-eruption tremors! Amid seething smoke and simmering magma the party races to safety. Will they make it down in time before it blows? You be the judge! Escape from Thunder Mountain takes you, musically, on a harrowing, life and death thrill ride that ends dramatically in a thunderous explosion of sound! Escape from Thunder Mountain correlates to Book 1, Level 6 of Sound Innovations for Concert Band.

Jon Ross Music (Grade 1.5): Visit Jon Ross Music to preview, click to hear clip.

This march features two contrasting themes. Although written to be played by 2nd year players, its themes give the impression of a more mature piece. Freedom Brigade is dedicated to everyone who serves the cause of freedom around the world.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to See & Hear

The spooky sounds of haunted houses and Halloween come to life in this fun piece for young band. Whether you program it in the fall, winter, or spring it's sure to be a favorite of students and audience alike. The piece gives your low brass and woodwinds some prominent melodic material, makes clever use of novel percussion, and even includes a flute section "scream". The title is the name of a well-loved regional children's game played in schools around Halloween. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, available in SmartMusic, and is one of my most-performed pieces for young band.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1-1.5): Click to See & Hear

Alfred's catalog says, "This new work musically conveys both reflection and joy with colorful scoring and expressive writing." I'm very proud of the orchestration's symphonic effect for this age player. This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, available in SmartMusic.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1-1.5): Click to See & Hear

Heavy Metal has the right elements to get young players excited about band! With it's driving rock beat, catchy "hook," and infectious power chord rhythm, your students will beg you to rehearse it and be excited about performing it in concert. And what's more, this little gem features your band's own "heavy metal" section, the low brass, with prominent yet playable parts (doubled for confidence). This Alfred Debut series piece is a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, available in SmartMusic.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to see & hear

This lighthearted selection puts a warm musical spin on an activity so many find themselves doing every holiday season - shopping! A “call bell” in the percussion section - the kind you find on the counter of an old-fashioned store or hotel (which can be substituted with Triangle if necessary) mimics the cash register and signals each purchase in this fun, musical shopping trip. Sound Innovations Series.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to See & Hear

Huckleberry Hedgehog portrays the happy, but somewhat quirky, exploits of a spiny little mammal and was written for the first year band students at Kratzer and Cetronia Elementary Schools in the Parkland School District (Allentown, PA). Kratzer School is on Huckleberry Road and the Cetronia School mascot is the hedgehog. The piece offers beginning band students the chance to play fun, expressive music by combining a limited number of pitches typically presented in the first year of instruction with a variety of interesting articulation and dynamic markings. Everyone, including low brass and low woodwinds (always well-doubled) gets the opportunity to play important thematic material in special moments throughout the piece. This Alfred Debut series piece is a 2012 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

This piece demonstrates Jamaican mento and reggae influences and provides a fun opportunity to work with students on a recurring syncopated rhythm and characteristic articulations. These, together with some simple yet important folk percussion writing, capture the spirit of Jamaican music. Thanks to my wife, Kim, for suggesting this title! This Alfred Challenger series piece is a 2011 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to hear

This is a light and airy arrangement of the favorite children's Christmas song with short, one-measure features for each section of the band (Debut Series). J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."

Alfred Publications (Grade 1-1.5): Click to hear

This pop-beat arrangement of the Beethoven "Ode to Joy" theme alternates bright, happy tutti passages with features for various sections. Upbeat and joyful from start to finish, this Alfred Debut Series piece was named a J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice and is available in SmartMusic.

Alfred Publications (Grade .5 - 1): Click to see & hear

Student-centered learning comes to ensemble music in a big way in this novel work for beginning band. Just Add Music provides the notes and rhythms, but no tempo, character, dynamics, or articulations. Those missing items are the “music” that you and your students pencil in to make this piece your own! Perhaps students will choose a brisk march tempo or an easy-going moderato. The introduction could begin boldly like a fanfare or start softly then build. It’s all up to you! All the notes and rhythms you need for a great concert selection are included in this recipe for hands-on learning and creativity...just add music! Sound Innovations Series. A 2019 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Kitchen Musicians

Alfred Publications (Grade .5 - 1): Coming Summer 2020!

Cooked up with instruments found in the kitchen, Kitchen Musicians is a lively feature for members of the percussion section performing as soloists on pots and pans. The pot and pan part is fun and showy, yet so easy-to-play you could invite special, non-musician guests (cafeteria workers, parents, teachers or administrators) to join as soloists. To lend a theatrical flair, dress your Kitchen Musician percussionists as chefs for the performance. Kitchen Musicians serves up the perfect recipe for a tasty, entertaining musical treat! Kitchen Musicians correlates to Book 1, Level 3 of Sound Innovations for Concert Band.

Wingert-Jones (Grade 1): Click to hear

This arrangement, by Mark Syslo and Scott Watson, employs themes from Leon Jessel's popular "Parade of the Tin/Wooden Soldiers" in an approachable setting for young band. Named a 2014 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

Movin’ On, with its infectious gospel-rock groove, captures musically the spirit of stepping out with optimism to the next step in life’s journey. Moving on - advancing to the next grade, graduating, changing jobs, or even retiring at the end of a long career - is an adventure we can look forward to with hope! Movin’ On was commissioned for the Collegium Charter School (West Chester, PA) to honor the retirement of band director and music teacher, Mrs. Theresa Sundwall, to whom the piece is fondly dedicated.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to hear

Old-Fashioned Sleigh Ride paints a warm, nostalgic musical portrait of a one horse, open sleigh ride like those depicted in a "picture print by Currier & Ives." Woven into an easy-going theme are the clip-clop of horse's hooves (temple blocks), the regular ringing of bells on bobtails (sleigh bells), and the occasional whip (slap stick) and horse's whiny (trumpet). This piece is sure to become an instant holiday classic for young bands! Alfred Debut series.

Wingert-Jones (Grades 1-1.5): Visit

Nine of your favorite Christmas carols arranged in four parts to work for almost any instrument combination, with ample doublings for smaller bands. These are written to be rehearsed and ready to play in about one or two meetings with your young instrumentalists (elementary/middle school). Comes with piano reduction, vocal parts (with words for caroling), and percussion if desired. Includes "Jolly Old St. Nicholas," "Up On the Housetop," "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night," "Deck the Halls," "Angels We Have Heard On High," "Joy to the World," "Good King Wenceslas," and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" all in easy arrangements for elementary/middle school band students. Suitable for small ensemble, full band, duets, trios, concert selections, neighborhood caroling, family recital, or cheering up the folks at the old-age home :)

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to hear

Powder your wig, polish your shoes, and get ready to enter the court of an 18th-century monarch with this bright, majestic concert work! After a brief fanfare introduction, the regal theme featuring brass is offset by several lighter episodes featuring the woodwinds. Despite its pomp and grandeur, the rhythms, ranges, and scoring of this work in rondo form are right on target for younger players. Commissioned jointly by the Derry Township School District 6th Grade Band, John Gabrielle, director and the Hollidaysburg Area School District 6th Grade Band, Melissa Ott, director and published in Alfred's Debut Series. A 2013 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."

I've created optional descant trumpet parts for high school or older players to play antiphonally along with the published version of Regal Fanfare and March. You can hear a recording by clicking here. Download PDF descant parts: Trumpet 1, Trumpet 2, Trumpet 3.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to See & Hear

Have the cookies left out on Christmas Eve mysteriously vanished? Does it seem like the nutcracker and toy soldier figurines have moved to different locations by themselves overnight? Are you experiencing strange visions of holiday confections dancing in your head at night? There's only one operative with the right skill set for holiday capers like these: Secret Agent Sugar Plum of the Holiday Sweets Division of WinterPol! This clever arrangement fuses themes from Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (from The Nutcracker) with classic spy music idioms. Set to a driving rock beat, thematic material is distributed to everyone in the ensemble while limiting and carefully deploying the chromaticism of the original. Alfred Challenger Series.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5-2): Click to See & Hear

"See Amid the Winter's Snow" is perhaps the best-know carol by English organist, composer and teacher, Sir John Goss (1800-1880). The emotional scope of this lovely nativity hymn - from the cold, winter's "dead of night" to the appearing of angels singing in "wondrous light" - is mirrored in the dynamics of the musical setting. See Amid the Winter's Snow - with its quintessentially English melody, flowing inner voices, and sturdy bass lines - has it all and is the perfect "change of pace" piece for a winter program. Alfred Challenger Series.

Silent Night, Holy Night

TRN Music Publisher (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

Silent Night, Holy Night is a dramatic and beautiful arrangement that will help performers and listeners rediscover the "sacred" in this all-too-familiar Christmas carol. Nonetheless, it is technically accessible and is very performable by 2nd (and certainly 3rd) year bands.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to hear

This is a really funky novelty for basketball dribblers and band. It's lots of fun if you use other faculty (gym teachers, music department, etc) as your basketball squad. To make it work for a combined finale with strings, I've written special string parts (not published with the band arrangement). If you get the piece and want to use these, email me and I'll send you the string parts for free. Click here for a video excerpt of a live performance!

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

The alarm clock sounds on a cold winter morning. Youngsters begrudgingly wake and peer outside to find the ground covered with deep snow. Even better, it's going to be a "snow day" off from school! The fun-filled adventure which ensues, replete with sledding, snowmen, forts, and snowball battles is musically portrayed in this delightful, colorfully scored seasonal work for young band. Alfred Challenger Series, coming 2014.

Hal Leonard (Grade 1): Sound clip (at HL site); click to hear

Sound Off! is based on a familiar military cadence call (sometimes called the "Duckworth Chant") used by drill instructors and their soldiers as they march in formation. A fun, but optional, opening gives band members a chance to call out vocally. The call-and-response nature of the chant is then exploited with the trumpets versus the rest of the band, and later with brief solos for each instrument in which soloists and sections stand up and sit down as they "sound off"! All this is set against a jaunty, military drum beat that runs throughout the piece. A quote from the bugle call, "Reveille," is passed around the band to close the piece with a flourish. Lots of fun for your band! Hal Leonard Discovery Series.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

The golden age of comic books comes to life in this action-packed piece, taking its inspiration from those iconic, super-powered champions of justice, the super heroes! Mirroring the shape of a classic superhero story, the piece begins with a powerful main theme and is followed by a brief contrasting section expressing resolve. A determined return to the hero theme includes some harmonic surprises! Commissioned by MusicAlliance (Cleveland, OH) for their summer honor band program, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Alfred DebutSeries and a 2015 JW Pepper Editors Choice.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

Tu Ungane (Swahili, pronounced TOO une-GAH-nay) means "Let's join together" and refers both to musicians coming together to play, as well as African and Western styles merging musically. Western musical styles such as Gospel, Blues, and Jazz owe much to African influence. African music has been influenced by the West as well, fusing British military and brass band music, along with the hymns and songs of missionaries from Europe and the United States, with tribal folk elements. Tu Ungane explores this musical cross-pollination incorporating the Tanzanian folk song "Asali Ya Nyuki" ("Honey of Bees") and original musical material in the style of the British-African fusion. A J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," available in SmartMusic. To read "the story" behind this piece, and hear my "field recording" of the source tune, click here!

Alfred Publications (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

Once on a spooky Christmas eve, as Santa was making deliveries, a fog rolled in and howls rang out, and Santa landed on a "haunted house"! This creative premise leads to a spooky-cool treatment of the Christmas favorite, "Up On the Housetop." The piece includes an optional narrator part (which reveals a surprise ending), and uses "toy" percussion instruments to great effect. This Alfred Challenger series title is a 2011 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice.

Alfred Publications (Grade 1): Click to hear

This is a cool shuffle groove, with lots of repeated (but fun) rhythms. Of all the pieces I've ever written for young band, this is the one my own students have liked most. This Alfred Debut Series piece is a J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," and one of my most-performed works for young band.

Wingert-Jones (Grade 1.5): Click to hear

The title and the inspiration for the piece When Men and Mountains Meet comes from the short poem, "Great Things Are Done," by William Blake. Blake's poem conveys resolve and determination such as that required when settling a mountainous area: wall upon wall of rock would have to be blasted, great masses of earth moved and graded, and materials brought to the area. This commission was part of the East Stroudsburg Area School District "Composer Series.” A 2012 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," available in SmartMusic.