Grade 2 - 3

Band GRADE 4 - 6     ⧫     Band GRADE 2 - 3     ⧫     Band GRADE 1 - 1.5     ⧫     Works for Strings     ⧫     Concert Works    ⧫     Films Scored     ⧫     The Goat (silent film comedy)     ⧫     Best Sellers (Alfred)

Works By Theme - Looking for a specific type of piece? CLICK HERE!


Alfred Publications (Grade 3): Click to see & hear

Balkan Seven gets its inspiration from the lively, often rhythmically asymmetric, dances of the Balkan region of Southeastern Europe - encompassing countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia. ⅞ is the most popular uneven dance rhythm in all of Balkan music, especially in Macedonia, where a line dance with a 3+2+2 subdivision is prevalent. Not surprisingly, the percussion section plays a special role in creating and sustaining the feel of a rustic folk dance, and the wind players join in clapping as well! Balkan Seven was commissioned by the Orefield Middle School 7th/8th Grade Band (Orefield, PA), Mr. Peter Zimmer, Director and premiered May 2018. This Young Symphonic Series piece is a 2018 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice and was described as "an attractive work" in an Aug. 2018 review in The Instrumentalist.

Alfred Publications (Grade 3): Click to see & hear

Take your ensemble and audience on a musical trip back in time to the futuristic vision of steampunk! Enter the world of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and others whose fascinating, limitless view of the future - from a Victorian vantage point - presented all sorts of fanciful contraptions: forward-looking modes of transportation, time travel, weaponry and more! Two themes alternate, one conveying the wonder of these futuristic marvels (and the mysterious laboratoriums where they are hatched). A second raucous, energetic theme portrays the steam, gears, sprockets, and pulleys mechanically powering them. The piece’s unique sonic palette includes minor “cabaret” harmonies, evocative toy percussion (i.e. ratchet, brake drum, siren whistle, etc.) and vocal “steam” sounds from wind players. Commissioned by the Clayton High School (NJ) Concert Band, David Dashefsky, Director. This Young Symphonic Series piece is a 2019 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice; performed at the 2019 Midwest Clinic, was named a Bandworld Top 100 piece for 2019 by the American Band College, and is available in SmartMusic.

Alfred Publications (Grade 3.5): Click to see & hear! 

Hope helps each of us face life’s challenges with courage and optimism. Gift of Hope musically captures musically both of these aspects of hope. Opening dramatically, the piece soon settles into an upbeat, joyful main theme. Slower contrasting material follows, building from a tender, transparently-scored opening to a climax full of resolve. The optimistic main theme returns, leading to a dramatic, heroic conclusion. Gift of Hope was commissioned by the Bernards High School Symphonic Band (Bernardsville, New Jersey), Mr. Fred Trumpy, director and is dedicated to the selfless work of hope done on behalf of critically ill children by Give Kids the World Village (, Orlando, Florida. Gift of Hope is a 2021 Stanton's Music Five Star Feature and available in MakeMusic Cloud!

Joy Dance (coming Summer 2024!)

Alfred Publications (Grade 3): Click to see/hear

Joy Dance musically conveys an unrestrained expression of happiness and exhilaration. Inspired by David’s ecstatic dance of praise in 2 Samuel 6:14 (“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…”), the piece combines artifacts of popular and contemporary music, including bold syncopations, a driving 5/4 meter groove, and use of contemporary and gospel harmonies. A large percussion section (7 players, including two mallet parts and timpani) adds essential color and energy.  Whether it’s worship, thankfulness, celebration, or blissful abandon, this composition reflects the radiant rejoicing of those who revel in all life’s goodness! Alfred's Young Symphonic Series. Joy Dance is a 2024 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, and received Honorable Mention in the 2024 Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds Composition Contest!

Alfred Publications (Grade 3): Click to see & hear!

Light Up the Sky reflects the thrill and excitement of a dazzling fireworks display. Contributing to the sonic spectacle are lively syncopated rhythms, mixed meter, and energetic, colorful (and at times explosive!) percussion. Light Up the Sky was composed for the South Hunterdon Regional High School Concert Band, Mr. Gabe Stephens, director (Lambertville, New Jersey). Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA sit opposite one another on the Delaware River just north of Philadelphia and are older, but beautifully-restored towns that attract tourists with their artisan eateries, upscale shops, small performance venues, and bed and breakfast inns.  A summer highlight for these neighboring communities is “Friday Night Fireworks.” As the sun sets on the picturesque Delaware River, members of both communities come together to see the fireworks (launched from a barge out on the river) illuminate the night sky. Available in SmartMusic!

Alfred Publications (Grade 3): Click to hear

An exciting concert piece based on "Brian Boru's March," a traditional Irish tune named for the legendary 11th-century ruler. Framed by dramatic opening and closing statements, the rustic Celtic tune gives way to original material, all in a showcase for band that reflects the valor and glory of the storied "last high king" of Ireland. Published in Alfred's Young Symphonic series, and selected for the 2011 Bandworld Top 100 list. 

Alfred Publications (Grade 3): Click to see & hear

Magic Valley musically depicts the rugged beauty of the Snake River Canyon in southern Idaho. The piece, based on an original hymn tune which represents the spirituality of the region, begins simply but gradually builds into a stirring, expansive tone poem. This piece was commissioned by the American Composers Forum and the Magic Valley Arts Council as part of the ACF's "Continental Harmony Project," and was premiered by the Twin Falls Municipal Band, Ted Hadley, Director, and the College of Southern Idaho Wind Ensemble, George Halsell, Director. J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice."

Alfred Publications (Grade 3): Click to see & hear

The 14th-century carol, “Personent hodie,” is both mysterious and powerful. On This Day Earth Shall Ring, a festive processional on the ancient melody, explores both aspects. Beginning quietly, the modal tune emerges over a chant drone with rustic, medieval percussion. Before long, the piece takes on the joyous character alluded to in the tune’s most familiar English text setting, “On This Day Earth Shall Ring” (written by composer, Jane Joseph, a student of Gustav Holst). As the work draws to an ebullient close, all the stops are pulled with resounding brass and ringing metallic percussion! Whether used as a striking concert opener or a jubilant final selection, On This Day Earth Shall Ring will add festive élan to your winter/holiday program!  This Young Symphonic Series piece is a 2022 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice and is available in SmartMusic.

Hal Leonard (Concert Works Unlimited, Grade 3): Click to hear

Both legend and written history tell of an astounding and valiant 6th century leader who led the Britons in a series of battles against the invading Saxons. The Welsh historian, Nennius, calls this great medieval leader by his legendary name: Arthur. Wearing a cross on his shield, Arthur single-handedly defeated 900 barbarians in the most famous of these battles, at Badon Hill, forestalling the Saxon take over. The Siege of Badon Hill, with innovative use of voice and sounds, begins as Arthur's army rises to meet the dawn and prepare for battle in prayer. In no time, the battle is joined in an Allegro con brio. Horses charge; swords, shields and armor clash. Commissioned by the Southern Lehigh Middle School Band, Nancy Beitler, Director.

GRADE 2 - 2.5

C. L. Barnhouse (Grade 2): Click to hear

Performers and audience alike will have fun with this upbeat, rollicking medley of two well-known fiddle tunes, "Old Joe Clark" and "Bile Them Cabbage Down". Folksy percussion, bluegrass rhythms, and even foot-stomping create a hootenanny atmosphere in this compelling, yet playable, arrangement for young bands. YEE-HAW! 

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to hear

This lively, nostalgic piece will musically transport players and audience alike to the iconic amusement parks of turn-of -the-century Coney Island (near Brooklyn, New York). The sweet, cheerful sounds that flowed from the carousels and bandwagons of a time gone by infuse this characteristic, but level-appropriate, work. Ragtime feel is achieved via accessible syncopations, chromatics that lie well on the instruments, and sectional form. Novel percussion, including a slide whistle, adds to the fun! Alfred Challenger Series. 

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to hear

Der Erlkonig, or "The Elf King," is based on Johann Goethe's late 18th-century poem of the same name in which a father and his young son ride home on horseback one dark and eerie night. During the swift ride, the concerned boy sees and hears supernatural beings (the Elf King and his daughters) his father does not. The Elf King entices the boy to join him willingly or by force! The father tries to calm the fearful son, explaining everything the boy reports as simply leaves rustling in the wind or willows moving in the fog. Nonetheless, the father rides faster and faster home only to find the boy is dead in his arms when they arrive. Goethe's dark and gothic tale is brought to spine-tingling life in this harrowing, fast-paced tone poem for band. Commissioned by MusicAlliance (Cleveland, OH) summer honor band program, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Alfred Challenger Series, a JW Pepper 2015 Editors Choice, named to the 2015 Bandworld Top 100 listing, and available in SmartMusic. 

Wingert-Jones (Grade 2): Click to hear

Playing the dreidl game at Hanukkah can be more than a game - it can be an adventure! That is the premise of this epic, rhythmically charged setting for young band of the beloved Hanukkah tune, "S'vivon" (The Dreidl). Named a 2014 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, and available in SmartMusic.

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to hear

Two centuries-old cultural artifacts - one Western (the Dorian mode) and one Eastern (Haiku poetry) - are fused together in this uniquely work, resulting in an engaging and beautiful composition for intermediate band. The piece begins with the ensemble in unison, chant-like, on a Dorian mode melody with three phrases: 5 notes, 7 notes, and 5 notes (the haiku). After some development, a contrasting section - another 5-7-5 Dorian haiku - follows; exotic percussion suggestive of Eastern music accompanies. After a brief percussion soli, the opening haiku returns fully-scored in a broad, gorgeous climax. Dorian Haiku offers many wonderful opportunities for teaching both musical and cross-curricular concepts. A Summer 2014 review in The Instrumentalist magazine called Dorian Haiku a "unique and interesting" and "thoughtful and fresh" new piece (Aug. 2014)! Alfred Challenger Series and performed by the Illiana Christian School Wind Ensemble (Lansing, Illinois), Robert Sheldon guest conducting, at the 2015 Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic.

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to see & hear

The galliard is a vigorous, athletic dance in triple meter, characterized by leaps, jumps, and hops. Popular in France, Spain and England during the Renaissance, it was a favorite dance of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The galliard was normally danced by couples at balls and other courtly entertainments, but could also be a showpiece for men to display their best jumps and turns. Galliard presents this iconic dance form through the filter of contemporary wind and percussion writing, employing ¾ meter and Mixolydian mode. The work’s bold ensemble statements are juxtaposed against more lightly scored sections which feature various instruments. Galliard brings the atmosphere of a lively Renaissance dance party to your intermediate band! Reviewed favorably in The Instrumentalist (Nov. 2019): "This fresh and inventive work will program well in a variety of circumstances and is rich with teaching and learning potential."

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to see & hear

The Greek hero, Hercules, was sentenced by the Gods to endure 12 seemingly impossible "labors" in order to redeem himself. Hercules vs. the Hydra portrays the second of these tests, his battle with a nine-headed water serpent with deadly venom and the ability to grow back two heads for every one cut off! The piece begins with the Hydra's half-step motive, which quickly builds and multiplies into the music of the epic fight. The blows of Hercules' club and sword, rhythmic accents in the music, land hard on the beast but to no avail. Hercules regroups to a slow, hopeful theme, encouraged as his nephew Iolaus shares the secret to defeating the Hydra. Hercules rejoins the contest with new resolve, reflected in the exciting merging of two of the piece's themes, which lead to a victorious climax! This Alfred Challenger Series piece was a 2013 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice," included on the 2016-17 Ohio Bandmasters Required Music List, and is available in SmartMusic. 

TRN Music Publisher (Grade 2): Click to hear

Music figures prominently in the rich Christmas traditions of the Moravian church, dating back to the Protestant Reformation in Eastern Europe and established in America during the early 18th century. In most congregations, the hymn "Morning Star" is sung antiphonally with a child soloist as the highlight of the service. The classical simplicity of Morning Star, as well as the antiphonal performance practice associated with it, are captured in this arrangement for young band. A 2016 J.W. Pepper "Editor's Choice" (TRN Music Publisher)

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to hear

This well-crafted arrangement for young band conveys the joy and inspiration of the well-known gospel re-working of the 18th-century hymn, "O Happy Day." A "breakdown" section with clapping, and a gospel-style ending, all add to the fun. Send your audience home with a happy song in their heart with this perfect closer for your program! Alfred Challenger Series.

C. L. Barnhouse (Grade 2): Click to hear

This is bright, happy and evokes the air of excitement all kids feel when they're getting away from school for a break to go "on holiday". It is appropriate for a holiday concert (obviously), but also for a spring concert (since spring break and summer vacation are at hand).

Alfred Publications (Grade 2.5): Click to see & hear

The skill and thrill of auto racing is captured musically in this piece via it's infectious groove and exciting syncopations. Written in one continuous movement, its sections (Start Your Engines!, They're Off!, Pit Stop, Back On Track, and Finish Line) will help you imagine sitting behind the wheel of a powerful and agile racing machine over the course of a breathtaking speed contest. The palindromic nature of the title, Race Car (which reads the same forwards and backwards), is exploited musically throughout. Use of palindrome includes a pervasive syncopated ostinato rhythm, it's overall A-B-A form, and a fugatto section at the center of the work (Pit Stop) in which virtually each instrumental part is a palindrome! The pit crew is suggested in this section, a "race car ricercar," by use of mechanical-sounding percussion (ratchet, brake drum). Learn all about the use of PALINDROME on both a small and large scale in the piece by CLICKING HERE! Race Car was commissioned for and premiered by the Shepherd Middle School Band (Ottawa, Illinois) to mark its final concert with long-time director, Ms. Donna Martin. Alfred Young Symphonic Series. 

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to see & hear!

Camelot refers to an idyllic time and place, lost to lore and legend, but which continues on in the hearts, minds and stories of so many. When our imagination and sense of adventure allow it, we “return to Camelot,” with its gallant knights of the Round Table, acts of chivalry, and even moments of magic! This exciting piece - with its driving tempo, insistent rhythms, modal harmonies, and glimpses of beauty - musically transports the listener back to King Arthur’s Camelot. Return to Camelot was commissioned by the Carlisle Education Foundation for the Carlisle Public Schools Band (Carlisle, Massachusetts), Kevin Maier, Director and is dedicated to the memory of Carlisle Schools student, William Wolfgang Shaw. Alfred Sound Innovations Series, a 2021 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, and a 2021 Stanton's Music Five Star Feature!

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to see & hear!

Rio Bravo draws on artifacts of iconic Western film music to portray the rugged landscape surrounding one of the longest, most fabled rivers in North America. The challenging, arid region along the "brave river" that divides Mexico from the southwestern United States–depicted in many a song and story–is characterized by mountains, canyons, and desert plains. The river, known north of the border as the Rio Grande, has called to itself settlers, cattle drivers, gunslingers, and outlaws. Rio Bravo transports listeners to a time and place where legends of the Old West were made! Available in MakeMusic Cloud.

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

Rock Solid is a tribute to the workers and enterprise that made Northampton, Pennsylvania the “cement capital of the world.” The piece takes you back to the town’s bustling factories at the turn of the century. A moderate rock feel, various percussion, and gritty, somewhat dissonant harmonies combine to portray the sound of industry: work gangs laboring with machinery whirring, clanging, grinding, and banging. Rock Solid was commissioned by the Northampton Area Konkrete Kids Education Foundation, Northampton, Pennsylvania for the Northampton Area Middle School and High School Bands, Connor Barz and James Sansone, Directors. This Alfred Challenger Series piece was named a 2020 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice! Available in SmartMusic.

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. 

Alfred Publications (Grade 2.5): Click to See & Hear

Terracotta Warriors was inspired by the extraordinary "spirit army" of clay statues - numbering more than 6,000 - created in the third century B.C. for the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China. This astounding array of armed sculptures was placed in the emperor's tomb, along with hundreds of terracotta horses and chariots, to protect the emperor in the afterlife. The music begins with a brief, plaintive folk chant summoning the army from their centuries-old sleep. The faithful warriors respond, coming to life to protect their emperor with musical representations of uniform marching and weapons display. Terracotta Warriors captures the legend and grandeur of the Qin dynasty in this striking and unique piece for band. Terracotta Warriors was commissioned by the Albemarle County (Virginia) Middle School Honors Band and was premiered at their November, 2016 festival. This Alfred Young Symphonic series piece is a 2017 J.W. Pepper Editor's Choice, chosen for the 2017 Bandworld Top 100 listing, is on several state lists, and was performed at the 2019 Midwest Clinic. Available in SmartMusic.

Terracotta Warriors calls for a "marching machine" - a unique percussion instrument that simulates the sound of troops marching. Click here for information on how Mr. Jim Ackerman, Band Director at Pequea Valley Intermediate School (Kinzers, PA) and his students used STEM resources to make their own, very fine marching machine. Included are pics and links to detailed plans they created!

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to see & hear

When it comes to trills, why should the woodwinds have all the fun? Not so with Thrills and Trills! This circus-style march is a rambunctious, thrill-a-minute crowd-pleaser where trills are the main event and every player in band gets into the act. This Alfred Challenger series makes Grade 2-2.5 sound like 3 or 4!.  A Stanton's Music Five Star Feature!

Alfred Publications (Grade 2): Click to hear

This delightful arrangement of Prokofiev's light classic captures the essence of the original in an interesting, yet very playable adaptation for intermediate players. Alfred Young Symphonic series.