top of page


Grade 4 Playlist

Program notes and other information are below.

please scroll through the playlist  for your desired selections

All Good Things 

Commissioned by the Milwaukee Lutheran Symphonic Alumni Band

In Celebration of 100 Years of Lutheran Secondary Education

Del Schmidt, Band Director

All Good Things is a celebration of life.

All the things that make it all worth wild, little

and big, from the smell of homemade cookies baking

to the love people share with one another. It is joyful

and celebratory and centers around a main "alleluia" theme.

Beyond Measure

Composed for the Indiana State University Wind Orchestra.


In loving memory of Dr. Stephen L. Gage

Boston Liberties 

I. Boston Harbor
II. "Facts are stubborn things..."
III. Granary Grounds
IV. A Penny a Ton

Premiered Saturday, March 8, 2003, Concord, Massachusetts, 
by The Concord Band, Dr. William G. McManus, Music Director

Il Burlone



“Il Burlone” is the second of three works dedicated to outstanding clinicians I had the privilege to work with while in high school (1977-1979). Three times Christopher Izzo was my honor band conductor and three times I was left with the feeling that I had been a part of something not just special, but monumental. Incredibly witty and articulate, he made us all feel good about the music and ourselves. Mr. Izzo was quick with praise and his lightly applied criticism was always accented with a joke or funny story. It was absolutely wonderful.

I cannot recall the pieces we performed – just him. As a result, this piece does not reflect on any of those works but, instead, is centered solely on Chris – his personality, his energy, his passion, his musicianship and, of course, his timeless delivery of combined knowledge and humor.

In life, so many of us find that after all is said and done, we prefer the one who makes us laugh! “Chris, this one is for you!”

For Christopher Izzo and his magical mixture of learning and laughter

Celestial Seas



Celestial Seas is a musical story covering the next 5 billion years as it pertains to our galaxy, the Milky Way and its eventual collision with the Andromeda Galaxy which is currently approximately 2.5 million light-years away from the Milky Way. By mathematically fast forwarding time, scientists also agree that none of the planets will collide with each other since they are all spread so far apart. Such distances are hard to imagine. The actual size of planets, measurements in light years and time passing not by thousands of years but by billions is di(cult for the mind to grasp. Our sun is 1,287,000 times larger than Earth. It takes more than a million earths in mass to equal that of the sun. In relation to time and size we as humans become so very small and insignificant, like a grain of sand on a beach that is on a grain of sand on a larger beach a million times over which is still too significant a representation of a human. Five billion years from now as the collision starts, there will be no humans on earth to see the extraordinary light show that will go on for thousands of years because our sun will be so much stronger by then on its nova journey, the surface of the Earth will be burned to a crisp. Some scientists think Mars may be far enough away. I look at it like this. All we have to do is a little planet hopping over the next 4 billion years and we won't have to travel too terribly far to find a new home because an entire galaxy is going to pay us a visit.


Celestial Seas opens up with humans represented by 3 notes which make up a 6 note melody. Those three notes are the building blocks for the entire work which takes us from now to the collision of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies and beyond. Extreme dynamic contrasts, crescendos and decrescendos, the constant changing of chords and tempos and the continuous variations of the original melody are all musical attempts to keep us constantly sailing chronologically and physically on celestial seas.

Crown of Thorns

CROWN OF THORNS is a musical "description" that takes the listener on Jesus Christ's journey from the last supper, through Judas Iscariot's betrayal, abduction by Roman soldiers, judgment under Pontius Pilate, the crown of thorns, the procession to the cross, and finally His ascension into heaven. Though modern tones are used, the piece reflects chord structures and flavors reminiscent of the existing films scores featuring biblical scripts.



  This programmatic work depicts the building of the Roman Empire and in particular, Rome itself. It’s architecture, its political intrigue and the diverse social status of its people is reflected in this work with it’s overall tonality and ethnic flavors. In some sections, the percussion section represents Rome’s military strength. At other times, it represent the dancing and celebrations which in Rome, as with most everything else, were epic in proportion.

Throughout the composing process, I envisioned a country peasant going to Rome for the first time, seeing all the sights and even getting sucked into a party or two.

Fields of Gold

The story of an alien child sent to Earth, the last survivor of a doomed planet and civilization, it is a story that has been capturing the imaginations of Earthlings since it's first publishing in Actions Comics #1, June, 1938. Raised by farmers with love, taught to be fair, humble, hard working and to never tell a lie, the child grows into the son they could never have and the superhero everyone can admire. Jonathan and Martha Kent weren't just his parents. They were his mentors, like real mentors the world over, silently contributing to the world in a remarkable, Earth defining way.

   Fields of Gold tells the early story of Superman. The piece starts out with a child's journey from Krypton to Earth. Then we meet the Kents and rural America. Then 2 times, events happen in his young life when Superman uses his powers for good and comes to terms with who he is, who he is to become. There are scenes from Superman movies that always strike home with me; when Superman is standing alone, surrounded by fields of gold as a farmer, a son and an honest man of qualityand just worth. That is how I will always think of him, how I will always think of Superman.

Freedom Rising

Commissioned by The Decatur Municipal Band, Jim Culbertson, Director
and the City of Decatur, Illinois in celebration of the band's
160th anniversary and longtime service to the community.

Glorious Light

Program Notes:

Light. It is fascinating, life giving and a constant source of inspiration in art, literature, mythology, history and religion. Light versus Dark, Good versus Evil, and  Life versus Death. 

   “Glorious Light” touches on just a few of light’s many miracles, small and large. The opening section is entitled “Light Dancing on Water”. Water is represented by a constant “shhhh” sound which all the other instruments dance upon enacting light sparkling on water. As the section progresses,  darkness enters the music and this sets the tone for the rest of the piece; the relationships and struggles  between light and dark. Near the end of the work, the opening section returns as “Souls Dancing in Light” which grows into the final bold statement of life bathed in eternal, glorious light. 


Commissioned by Jennifer, Katie and Morgan Kull in honor of Jim Kull’s contributions to music and music education.

The expression "Godspeed" came into practice in the 1300s. "God spede me" and "God spede thee," meaning; May God give you success, prosperity or good fortune on your journeys. In modern times, many still use this phrase even though the definition of speed has changed quite a bit since the 1300s. In those times, speed refered more to class, station and level of sucess, unlike today where it literally means how fast something is going. Things didn't go faster than a horse or arrow back then. Today when we say "Godspeed" we mean may you quickly go on your journey and go all the places you want to go. We also use it in modern times as a way to wish those who have passed to get to Heaven or whatever place one believes in, instantaneously and that it is everything you ever wanted the afterlife to be.

I chose "Godspeed" as the title because Jim Kull is retiring in a few short months. We have been friends for many years and though I wish he would be a band director forever, it isn't going to happen. I think that would probably be a fate worse than it sounds. Yes, I wish Jim Godspeed on his next life adventures and hope he has the best times of his life during his next phase of life.

I also chose the title because I have had to wish one of my companions, Chauncey, a funny and fiesty little boy who loved us unconditionally while he was here. Kay and I rescued him as a senior and were lucky to have him 5 years. He was such a beautiful creature, knowing Chauncey forever wouldn't have been long enough.

Godspeed Chauncey! Godspeed Jim! I love you both.

Hands of Mercy

Hands of Mercy was commissioned by Donna Beth McCormick, BetaGamma Charter Member 1957. In honor of Beta Gamma Chapter Members of Tau Beta Sigma at the University of Texas at Austin & her little sister Patsy Drury Hejl National President 1967-69.

Premiered at the Kappa Kappa Psi/Tau Beta Sigma Convention July 24, 2001, Corpus Christi, Texas with the Composer Conducting

In Memory of Grace Victoria Giroux October 4, 2000 - October 4, 2000Her courage, beauty and memory will be with me always.


(im-BEE-zo) (Zulu, Ngumi)


A gathering, a celebration, a coming together of friendship, soul and spirit.

A work for 7 Percussionists and Concert Band

Composed for and Premiered by the Argyle High School Wind Ensemble December 20, 2007 at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, Kathy Johnson, Conducting

Journey through Orion

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) launched in 1990 by the space shuttle has recorded over 100,000 imagesin the past eight years from its position 380 miles above the Earth’s surface.Photographs from the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex simply put are out of this world.

   Pictures of the Great Orion Nebula, Barnard’s Loop, M78, M43, the Molecular Clouds 1 & 2 (OMC-1, OMC-2) and The Horsehead Nebula never cease to capture my imagination. I have journeyed there many times in my mind so I decided to sketch that journey with notes.

   Travel with the music 1,500 light years away into the constellation Orion the Hunter, into the Molecular Cloud Complex and through the Great Orion Nebula where Stars and Ideas are born.

Just Flyin'

Tara Winds has long been a favorite band of mine. When asked to composer a piece for them for Midwest, I was excited to do so.

That is I was excited about it until I had the "What do you want the piece to be" discussion with its Conductor, Andrea DeRenzis Strauss. Music is very hard to put into words. For years I have had difficulty explaining and asking about particulars when dealing with other composers, directors, producers, film makers and band directors

   Now, anybody that knows Andrea will understand exactly what I am saying when I say she told me precisely what the piece was supposed to be; Beginning, ending and everything in between. Not just technically either, musically as well. The list was long and detailed and when I hung up the phone after our conversation I told myself, I have no idea what on earth this is going to sound like but she seems confident so what the heck, lets get this done!

   Fast - check. Loads of woodwind runs with particular attention (torture) to the Bb clarinet section - check. Lots of dynamics - check. An ending with madness over the top of a chorale setting - check. Oh, and it should start off like Armageddon - check. Do whatever you want in the middle that's nice - check. And that's all folks. Enjoy the wild ride and pay particular attention to the clarinet section because their fingers will be just flyin'!


K2, also known as "The Savage Mountain sits on the border between Pakistan and China. It is the second highest peak in the world with a peak elevation of 8,611 m (28,251 feet) and carries with it the second highest fatality rate of 27%. For every four people who attempt its climb, one will die. It has never been climbed in winter.
   Thomas Montgomerie named the peak using the Great Trigonometric Survey. The policy was to use local names whenever possible however K2 had no local name due to its remote location and continues to be known today by its surveyors mark. K2 is so severe a peak, many feel the name is appropriate. The italian climber Fosco Mariani agrees and has been quoted describing it as "... just the bare bones of a name, all rock and ice and storm and abyss. It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars. It has the nakedness of the world before the first man – or of the cindered planet after the last." The greatest challenge of ascending K2 is the extreme high altitude. There is only one-third as much oxygen as there is at sea level.
   Acclimatisation is essential when climbing without oxygen to avoid some degree of altitude sickness. K2's summit is well above the altitude at which high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) can occur. Above the 8000-metre altitude is the boundary known as the "death zone" which includes the top 611 meters of K2. Bottled oxygen is used by many climbers to help alleviate some of the altitude's effects. Altitude related complications have greatly contributed to K2's death toll.
   The second greatest challenge is the climate. Due to the severity of its terrain, K2 gives little to no shelter from its many storms which can blow up with little to no warning. Many of the deaths while climbing K2 are weather related. K2 is massive, beautiful and literally, can take your breath away. It calls to mountain climbers around the world with the song of a deadly Siren. Most heed its warning, but a few will not be thwarted. Seventy-three percent WILL make it to the very top and will come down changed forever.


Commissioned by the West Lafayete High School Bands, Matt Conaway Director

School music programs have a history of tradition. With each generation that passes through the band hall doorswe can only hope that the next generation will not only have it better, but make it better as well. Sometimes that is not the case, but when it is, music programs thrive and grow into organizations that carry us not only through the school years but throughout our lives. We take what was given to us. We try and make it better. We pass it on to the next group. It is a gift.  It is tradition.It is a legacy.

Louisiana Parish Sketches



Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. that has parishes instead of counties. Rich in historical flavor, the names of these parishes vary from French to American Indian in origin. Catahoula, Natchitoches, Calcasieu, Avoyelles, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee and Tangipahoa Parishes are but a few. Nine of the parishes are named for saints, hence the title.

It is a state as colorful as its people and as beautiful as its wildlife. I have tried to capture the spirit and flavor of a few of these parishes with their plantations, farms, bayous, swamps and Cajun influence. This is a diverse work for an equally diverse state. It is where I grew up -- and where I will always call "home."


Medalist Fanfare

Commissioned by the Missouri Bandmasters Association in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Missouri Music Educators Association, January 26, 2013

Great for any ceremony opening.

One Life Beautiful

Commissioned by

Ray and Molly Cramer, Husband Phillip Reu and children;

Brother Jeremy, his wife Michelle and children.

Dedicated to

Heather Cramer Reu

for her ‘one life beautiful’ that brought so much love and joy to our lives.


“One Life Beautiful” - The title itself is a double-entendre which in one sense is referring to the person this work is dedicated to as in “one life” that was beautifully lived. The other sense is a direct observation concluding that having only one life is what makes life so sacred, tragic and so very precious.  This is an impressionistic work musically describing that condition. Shakespeare’s “sweet sorrow”, the frailty and strength of life, the meaning of what it is to truly live  One Life Beautiful.

Radiant Shadows

Commissioned by Pete Poletti for the St. Louis Wind Symphony
Dan Presgrave, Music Director/Conductor, 
and my heart dedicated it to Sadie.

Sometimes as a composer life changes your compositions. While I was supposed to be composing one thing, my great dane Sadie was struck with bone cancer thus changing my music to another thing. Sadie died 63 days later. She was only 5 years old. Love and Loss does not differentiate between hands and feet or paws and fur. To watch my father die of an inoperable brain tumor felt the same as watching Sadie die of bone cancer. Loss is a pain you never get over; it never gets better. Lost love ones are still there in your memories, still an active part of your soul. For the rest of your life they shine on you like a radiant shadow still loving you from beyond. This piece tells of such a journey. J.G.

Shadow Falls

Grade 3-4

Composed for the

Lockport Township High School Wind Symphony, Lockport, Illinois

Brian Covey, Conductor


"When the shadow falls across the doorway, it is time for me to go home." My grandmother used to say that all the time. She hated to be out after dark. I think of that term often and in the summer of 2013, I had the distinct honor of spending 10 days on tour with a wonderful group of musicians in Japan.  On the last day of the tour, the shadows fell across the doorway and left me with a heavy heart. As an american we are fond of saying things like "see you later" as a good-bye. For the most part, I knew parting from my new friends was more of a"see you never again" type of fare thee well.

That summer, music brought us all together and now, Shadow Falls serves as a forever farewell.

Three Fanfares

I. An Epic Fanfare (A Fanfare of Epic Proportions) - (1:12) for Full Band

II. Heroic Fanfare - (00:47) for Full Band

III. Fanfare for the Fallen - (1:20) for Brass and Percussion

Tiger Tail March

It was 1978. I was 16 years old at that time and first horn in the Ark-La-Tex honor band which is hosted by Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana. Not my first honor band, but the first time I had the honor of having Dr. Harry Begian as the clinician. He was larger than life. Articulate with both words and the baton. Demanding? Yes. Strict? Yes, but nothing compared to my high school band director at that time and also par for the period. Warm and giving, he seemed to me a fountain of musical knowledge and experience. He showed a love and passion for music beyond anything I had ever experienced. He changed the way I saw music, and the impact of that experience is still with me today. The following year, I had him again, with another honor band. Between the two performances, the pieces I remember the most were: "Russian Christmas Music," "Armenian Dances," and "La Fiesta Mexicana." War horses with a War Horse.

I have tried to spiritually incorporate these works, emotions, and the spirit of the clinician, Dr. Begian, into this march. Light, articulate, funny, tricky, bold, joyful and honorable. I hope I have done him and those fond memories justice. An unusual march for an unusually gifted musician! 


Commissioned by theMount Community Concert Band

Cincinnati, Ohio , Kenny Bierschenk, Director


The Large White Trillium  (Trillium Grandiflorum) is the official Ohio State Wild Flower which can be found in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. It produces a single odorless snow white flower, one of the largest of the Trillium species at 1.5 to2.7  inches and is sometimes referred to as the ‘white wake-robin."

Trillium is an energetic work in 3 distinct sections which chronologically takes us backwards through the history of Ohio from its present

day (the first section), back to the civil war (the second section), then finally back to the wild frontier of Ohio’s Northwest Territory days. The tempo of all three sections is brisk with the second section only being slightly slower than the other two, emphasizing the constant progression of time and history. Trillium melodically sings out the colorful history of Ohio as seen through the eyes of the wild, beautiful and ever present white trillium.

Three Fanfares

I. An Epic Fanfare (A Fanfare of Epic Proportions) - (1:12) for Full Band

II. Heroic Fanfare - (00:47) for Full Band

III. Fanfare for the Fallen - (1:20) for Brass and Percussion


Three fanfares of three different levels. Please visit the Musica Propria site to see the scores.

bottom of page