BLOG - NEWS
THE POLAR EXPRESS
September 16, 2020 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard a Grade 2 Flex-Band arrangement of the main theme from the film The Polar Express. It will be published this fall in time for Christmas concerts. In the past, Hal Leonard Flex-Band arrangements have mostly been at the Grade 3 level. But with bands today having to adapt to conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increased interest in music at other grade levels having a flexible instrumentation. Watch for new Flex-Band titles from Hal Leonard this fall at the Grade 2 and even Grade 1.5 levels.
THE PHI BETA MU / AMEA LEGACY PROJECT
August 11, 2020 - Rho Chapter of Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, along with the Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA), has established a Legacy Project. For this project, long-serving and established Alabama band directors are being interviewed for posterity and the video recordings are being placed on YouTube. On Thursday, August 6th, my interview was posted. If you would like to watch it and learn more about me and my career, click here. Thanks to the Department of Music Education at the University of Alabama for their support of this project.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE AUBURN UNIVERSITY SYMPHONIC WINDS!
March 8, 2020 - Today Nancy and I returned home from the American Bandsmasters Association Convention in Biloxi, Mississippi. One of the featured performing groups there was the Auburn University Symphonic Winds conducted by my good friend and former colleague Dr. Rick Good. I was honored to serve as one their guest conductors as the group played two of the movements from my Echoes of the Hollow Square. Congratulations to Rick and the band on a truly outstanding performance!!!
March 2, 2020 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard a Grade 2 arrangement of "Solveig's Song" from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55. It has a strikingly beautiful melody and the arrangement should be a great choice for contest or festival programming. It will be available this summer or fall.
DR. JOHN M. LONG (Dec. 28, 1925 - Feb. 24, 2020)
February 24, 2020 - Today we lost a giant in the band world and a dear friend of mine. After a very successful career as a high school band director, Johnny Long went to Troy University in 1965, developed a powerhouse small college band program, and became a teacher and mentor to a great many band directors. Among his numerous accomplishments were the establishment of the National Band Association Hall of Fame and serving as president of the American Bandmasters Association. He was 94 years old. He will be missed!
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
January 21, 2020 - My first big project of the new year for Hal Leonard has been a Grade 3 Flex-Band medley from the hit movie Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Along with several well-known themes from the earlier Star Wars films, the medley includes two new ones, "The Rise of Skywalker" and "Anthem of Evil." It will be published later this winter, hopefully in time for Spring concerts.
Music from FROZEN II
December 16, 2019 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard a Grade 3 Flex-Band medley of "Music from Frozen II." This Disney movie sequel is a huge hit, with music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the same composers who wrote the score to the first "Frozen" film. Songs in the medley include "Some Things Never Change," "Into the Unknown," "Lost in the Woods," and "Show Yourself." The arrangement will be published in the near future, just in time for spring concerts!
IT'S BEEN WAY TOO LONG!!!
November 3, 2019 - As I've said before (see May 16, 2017), I really hate web sites that are not up to date! Nothing is more frustrating than to go to a site for information, only to discover that the latest information there is months or even years old! So, again, I apologize profusely to those of you who might have been looking for information here because it's been nearly three months since I updated this site. When that happens, the reason almost always is that I've been arranging non-stop and that takes precedence. Since the last update, I've arranged five new concert band pieces for Hal Leonard: "Never Too Late" (Gr. 2), "Old Town Road" (Gr. 1.5), "Arabian Nights" (Gr. 1.5), "Sucker" (Gr. 1.5), and "Highlights from Rocketman" (Gr. 3, Flex-Band), a medley of Elton John songs including "Rocket Man," "Crocodile Rock," "Your Song," and "I'm Still Standing." These will all be recorded later this month and will be available in the Spring.
TOY STORY 4
August 13, 2019 - After taking some time off this summer for some golf and a vacation, I've been back at work and have just finished and sent to Hal Leonard a Grade 3 arrangement of Highlights from Toy Story 4, the hit Disney movie. Included are four songs: "You've Got a Friend In Me," "Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy," "Cowboy Sacrifice," and "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away." Fun music! Should be available sometime this fall.
NEW POP ARRANGEMENTS FOR SPRING 2019
May 9, 2019 - Over the past several weeks I've completed and sent to Hal Leonard several new pop arrangements: Baba Yetu (Gr. 3 Flex-Band) from the video game "Civilization IV", Music from Aladdin (Gr. 3 FlexBand), a medley from the movie, All I Want for Christmas Is You (Gr. 1.5) as recorded by Mariah Carey, and The Avengers (Gr. 3 Flex-Band), the main theme from the hit movie series.
Premiere of WHEN NOTHING ELSE WILL
May 5, 2019 - Today it was my pleasure to attend the premiere of When Nothing Else Will, the work commissioned by the band, orchestra and choir of Fayette County High School (GA) for the opening of their new performing arts center. Congratulations to directors Myra Rhoden, Andrew McMillen, Patricia Davis and Derwin Davis on a very fine performance. Well done!
FANTASY ON KOREAN FOLK SONGS
February 22, 2019 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard a new contest/festival work titled Fantasy on Korean Folk Songs (Gr. 2.5). Included are four of the most well-known Korean folk tunes including "Let's Sing and Dance," "The Gate," "Bellflowers," and "The Palace." I decided not to include "Arirang," the most famous of all Korean folks songs, because there are already numerous arrangements of that tune available.
MORE NEW POP ARRANGEMENTS
October 26, 2018 - In recent weeks, in addition to the arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody mentioned below, I've written three more new pop arrangements for Hal Leonard. They include Respect (Gr. 3 Flex-Band) as recorded by Aretha Franklin, Never Enough (Gr. 2) from the movie "The Greatest Showman," and Peter Gunn (Gr. 1.5) the theme from the famous TV detective series.
October 13, 2018 - Today I reached a milestone when I completed and sent to Hal Leonard my 500th published piece, a Gr. 1.5 arrangement of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. It was a real challenge arranging this wonderful music for young band, but overall it was a fun project and it seemed to turn out well. It will be published in Winter, 2019, not long after the release of the new movie about Freddie Mercury and Queen, also titled "Bohemian Rhapsody."
September 17, 2018 - It was my pleasure to serve as guest composer at Vanderbilt University this past weekend. Special thanks to Senior Band Conductor Tom Verrier and his students for their warm welcome and for their Wind Symphony's outstanding performance of my Nettleton on their Saturday evening concert.
ANOTHER COMMISSION COMPLETED
August 7, 2018 - After working on it all summer, I finally just completed a commission for Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, GA. Written for the opening of their new performing arts center next spring, this Grade 4 composition is for symphonic band, SATB choir, and string orchestra . . . a huge undertaking. The title is When Nothing Else Will and it's based on a quote from former First Lady Michelle Obama.
NEW POP ARRANGEMENTS
May 6, 2018 - Since my last post in April, I've done two new pop arrangements: Amierca (Gr. 2.5) from Leonard "Bernstein's West Side Story," and Havana (Gr. 1.5) as recorded by Camila Cabello. This tune has received more that a billion views on YouTube! Currently I'm working on a very nice Christmas tune recorded by Celtic Woman: Christmas Pipes, (Gr. 1.5).
Selections from BLACK PANTHER
April 3, 2018 - It's always fun to work with movie music! My most recent venture into this realm is a Flex-Band arrangement for Hal Leonard of selections from Ludwig Goransson's score to the hit film, Black Panther. The music is really interesting . . . a mixture of African (lots of drumming!) along with some heroic themes.
March 20, 2018 - Today I completed and mailed a new commission to Charlie Burts, Band Director at Sidney Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, VA. For details, see the "Featured" page of this web site.
Music from STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
January 12, 2018 - Today I finished and sent to Hal Leonard a Grade 2.5 arrangement of music from the new hit movie "Star Wars: the Last Jedi." The medley includes several earlier themes along with some new ones written especially for this new film. I always enjoy working with the music of John Williams . . . and I consider him to be the greatest film composer of our generation!
December 23, 2017 - I want to congratulate the two bands and their conductors that performed my compositions at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago this week. The T.A. Howard Middle School Honor Band of Arlington, TX (Nate Neugent, conductor) played Armenian Rhapsody and the Virginia Wind Symphony of Norfolk, VA (Dennis Zeisler, conductor) played my Flex-Band setting of Nettleton. Both of these groups gave superb performances. Thank you!!!
THE MIDWEST CLINIC
December 14, 2017 - Nancy and I are looking forward to seeing everyone at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago next week. The Midwest is is always one of the highlights of my year! Two of my pieces are being performed (see the September 20 posting below).
NEW ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS CHRISTMAS BOOK
December 14, 2017 - Hal Leonard is about to publish a second book of Christmas arrangements correlated with the Essential Elements Band Method and I've been asked to contribute three pieces to the collection. My titles will include "The Polar Express," "White Christmas," and "Christmas Time Is Here." Completion date for the book is Spring, 2018, so it will be available for next year's holiday concerts.
TWO MORE NEW POP ARRANGEMENTS
October 18, 2017 - I just completed two Grade 2 (or 2.5) arrangements of movie music for Hal Leonard. Danny Elfman: Music in the Dark is a medley of tunes from "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Edward Scissorhands," "Beetlejuice," and "Spider Man." And See You Again is from the movie "Furious 7." This song has been viewed on YouTube over three billion times!
October 12, 2017 - Congratulations to our son Lee Vinson and his wife Ji Hye Jung on the birth of their first child! Eugenia Jung Vinson was born at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville on October 12th.
ANOTHER NEW COMMISSION
October 2, 2017 - Today I contracted to write a commission for the grand opening of a new performing arts center at Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. It will be a large Grade 4 work for symphonic band, string orchestra and chorus. In terms of scope, this will be the most ambitious composition I've written and I look forward to working with Principal Dan Lane and his staff on this project.
PERFORMANCES AT THE MIDWEST CLINIC
September 20, 2017 - I've recently learned that two of my newer pieces will be performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago in December. The T.A. Howard Middle School Honor Band (Arlington, TX) will be playing Armenian Rhapsody and the Virginia Wind Symphony (Norfolk, VA) will be playing my Flex-Band version of Nettleton. As luck would have it, both concerts are at exactly the same time . . . Thursday, December 21, at 11:30 a.m. Maybe I can get to at least some of each concert!
CHICAGO AREA READING SESSION ALSO A SUCCESS
August 14, 2017 - The second New Music Reading Session sponsored by Quinlan and Fabish Music was held last Saturday in the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines. Like the earlier one in northern Indiana, this session was also well attended and I enjoyed meeting and working with an enthusiastic group of band directors. Special thanks to Cameron Dall, director of the band program at Friendship Jr. High School, for hosting this event
MICHIANA READING SESSION A SUCCESS
July 14, 2017 - The “Michiana” (northern Indiana) New Music Reading Session sponsored by Quinlan and Fabish Music Co. went really well yesterday! The band directors in attendance did a nice job of reading all the new music and everyone seemed to have a good time. Thanks to George Quinlan and his staff for hosting the event and to the Hal Leonard Corp. for sponsoring my trip there to conduct the group. A similar session is planned for the Chicago area on August 12th.
"PIRATES" for FlexBand
June 28, 2017 - I just finished and sent to Hal Leonard a Flex-Band arrangement of music from the new movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The music is an interesting mix of tunes from the earlier "Pirates" movies along with some new ones written especially for this film. The arrangement should be available later this summer.
May 22, 2017 - I recently agreed to write a commissioned work for the Lanier Middle School Band of Fairfax, Virginia, Charlie Burts, director. This Gr. 3 piece will somehow be related to the life, times, or writings of the poet Sidney Lanier for whom the school is named. I'm really looking forward to working with Charlie and his students on this project.
NEW POP ARRANGEMENTS
May 16, 2017 - I can't stand web sites that are out of date!!! It's so frustrating to go to a site for information, only to discover that the info is months, or even years, old. So . . . my profuse apologies for it being over a month since I last updated this site! Of course, I have an excuse. In addition to traveling and adjudicating band festivals this spring, I've been arranging almost non-stop. In fact, I've written seven new arrangements for Hal Leonard since the first of the year. To see the titles, go to the "Concert Band - Pop" page of this site.
"CITY OF STARS" for FlexBand
March 31, 2017 - Today I finished and sent to Hal Leonard a Flex-Band arrangement of City of Stars, the Academy Award winning "Best Song" from the hit movie La La Land. It's really nice music! The arrangement should be available in the late spring or early summer.
THE AMERICAN BANDMASTERS ASSOCIATION CONVENTION
March 13, 2017 - This past week Nancy and I attended the American Bandmasters Association Convention in Lexington, KY. Thanks to Dr. Cody Birdwell and the staff of the University of Kentucky Bands for the fine job they did of hosting this event. A highlight of the convention was the Friday night concert by the "President's Own" United States Marine Band with our daughter-in-law, Tessa Vinson, playing English horn and oboe in the group. This band is fantastic!
WORKING WITH THE MODEL HIGH SCHOOL BAND
February 28, 2017 - Today I spent a very pleasurable afternoon working with the Model High School Band of Rome, GA. The band is preparing my composition And Hold In Memory . . . for their upcoming performance evaluation on March 17th. Congratulations to these students and their director Tim Burton on the fine work they're doing.
PREMIERE OF "ARMENIAN RHAPSODY"
February 11, 2017 - Today was the premiere of my new composition, Armenian Rhapsody. It was performed by the group for which it was commissioned, the Association of Texas Small School Bands All-State Symphonic Band. The venue was the Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio, Texas, and the conductor was Dr. Joe Missal of Oklahoma State University. Although I was not able to attend the premiere, I am told that the piece was well received!
MORE STAR WARS
January 25, 2017 - I just finished and sent to Hal Leonard my new Grade 2 (or 2.5) arrangement of music from the movie "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Included are "Jyn Erso," "Hope," and some of the "Imperial Suite." The film score was written by Michael Giacchino and I found the music to be interesting and fun to work with. The arrangement will be published and available this spring.
January 9, 2017 - Today I completed and sent my latest arrangement, "Selections from Moana," to Hal Leonard. It is a Grade 2.5 Flex-Band setting of four songs from the hit Disney movie. Included are "Where You Are," "How Far I'll Go," "You're Welcome," and "We Know the Way." My next project is a Grade 2 medley from another hit movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
JOHN EDMONDSON (Feb. 3, 1933 - Dec. 30, 2016)
December 30, 2016 - Today the band world lost not only a fine composer but a really good guy. John Edmondson was an old and dear friend. John published my very first published arrangement in 1971 when he was with Hansen Publications in Miami. Over the years, John chose mainly to focus his immense talent on composing music for young bands, and in doing so set the standard for writing "educational" band music. He was also a kind and generous person, willing to help young composers improve and refine their craft.
John was 83. He will be missed!
PERFORMANCES AT THE MIDWEST CLINIC
December 20, 2016 - I always look forward to the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic which is held in Chicago in mid-December each year. It's a great opportunity to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, hear some great concerts, and learn about what's going on in the band world. This year I had two pieces performed there. My arrangement of Edwin Franko Goldman's "Cheerio March" was played by the Vandercook College of Music Symphonic Band, Charles Menghini, conductor. And one of my early original compositions, "Newcastle March," was performed by the Desert Winds, an adult band from Las Vegas, NV, Charles Maguire, conductor. THANK YOU to these conductors and their groups for playing my music!
ANOTHER COMMISSION COMPLETED
November 22, 2016 - Today I mailed my latest commissioned piece to the Association of Texas Small School Bands. Titled "Armenian Rhapsody," it was written for the 2017 ATSSB All-State Band and will be premiered by that group on February 11, 2017. It will be published by Hal Leonard in the late spring or early summer. For details about the music, go to the "Featured" page of this web site.
NEW ARRANGEMENTS OF POP TUNES
October 19, 2016 - I can't believe its been another two months since I updated my web site! Two reasons: First, Nancy and I went on a European vacation from September 1st through the18th. Then as soon as we got home, I jumped right into several pop arrangements for Hal Leonard. They include "Memory" (Gr. 2) from the Broadway show Cats, "Hooked on a Feeling" (Gr. 1.5) as recorded by Blue Suede, "Hello" (Gr. 1.5) by Adele, and "Taylor Swift: 1989" (Gr. 2) a medley of three songs ("Wildest Dreams," "Blank Space," and "Shake it Off") from her 1989 album. These will all be published by Hal Leonard and available in the Spring.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE . . .
August 2, 2016 - Congratulations to my older son, Lee Vinson, and and his new wife, Ji Hye Jung on their marriage July 31. Both are percussionists. Ji Hye is the percussion instructor at Vanderbilt University and Lee is a free lance orchestral percussionist and teacher. May they have many years of happiness!!!
NEW RECORDINGS AVAILABLE
June 30, 2016 - Recordings are now available for the four new arrangements listed in the paragraph below. To hear them, simply click on the "Published Music" menu above, then choose either music for Contest/Festival or Pop Music and click on a title. This will take you to page on the Hal Leonard website where you can hear a professional recording of the arrangement. As of this writing, the arrangements aren't published yet, but they will be very soon.
SPRING IS BUSY!
May 27, 2016 - Wow! I can't believe its been two months since I updated my website. But I have a good excuse . . . Spring is a really busy time! I've written four new concert band pieces for Hal Leonard: "Nettleton" (Gr. 3), a Flex-Band version of one of my popular earlier works, "The Bare Necessities" (Gr. 1.5) from Jungle Book, "The Christmas Song" (Gr. 1.5), and "Beguine for Band" (Gr. 2), a new and easier version of the old Glen Osser favorite from the past. I've also adjudicated band festivals at Disney World in Florida (twice), at "FunFest" in Texas, and at the Kings Dominion amusement park in Virginia. Now that things are beginning to slow down, I'm looking forward to starting on a couple of new original compositions. (And also playing some golf!)
March 27, 2016 - Nancy and I recently returned from a ten-day tour of Italy with the Auburn University Symphonic Band. It was a great trip with the band playing several concerts along with a lot of sightseeing. The concerts opened with my "Silver Celebration Fanfare" which was written for the 25th Anniversary in February of the Auburn University Honor Band Festival. Thanks to Dr. Rick Good, Director of Bands at Auburn, and his staff for making this trip possible.
MORE STAR WARS!
March 9, 2016 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard another arrangement from the film "Star Wars: the Force Awakens." The title is "Rey's Theme" and the arrangement is a Grade 1.5 in the publisher's Discovery Series. It will be available later this Spring.
SILVER CELEBRATION FANFARE
January 28, 2016 - On Monday of this week, I finished and delivered to Dr. Rick Good, Director of Bands at Auburn University, a new concert opener, "Silver Celebration Fanfare." I wrote it to salute the 25th Anniversary of the Auburn University Honor Band Festival next month. It will be premiered by the A.U. Symphonic Band on Thursday, February 11th, at a concert for the 2016 Honor Band participants.
Selections from STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS for Flex-Band
January 11, 2016 - Today I finished and sent to Hal Leonard a Flex-Band arrangement of music from the new hit movie "Star Wars: the Force Awakens." It's always a treat to work with the music of John Williams, and this time was no exception. The Flex-Band series is written at about the Grade 3 level and is intended for small bands and bands with incomplete or unbalanced instrumentation. It consists of only five parts, and as long as the five are covered by any combination of wind and/or string instruments (plus percussion), the music is complete. It's a surprisingly full sound!
NEW WEBSITE !
December 16, 2015 - If you’ve visited my website before, you'll probably notice that it now looks quite different. This new design (actually a whole new site) resulted from necessity. My old site was created and maintained in iWeb, an old program that Apple stopped supporting several years ago. As time passed and operating systems progressed, it became no longer feasible to use this software. So . . . everything had to be re-done. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to my good friend and former student, Dr. Ward Miller, for undertaking the transition and building the new site. He was able to do in several days what it would have taken me weeks to do! If you’re not familiar with Ward, I urge you to visit his website, drwardmiller.com.
ABOUT MY ACCIDENT
December 15, 2015 - A lot of folks have asked, so here goes . . . It all began when I fell and hit my head on the floor one night in September. It didn’t hurt much, all seemed fine, and I basically forgot about it. But over the next several weeks, it became increasingly difficult for me to walk. Finally, after a number of tests on my legs which turned up nothing, I ended up in the emergency room at our local hospital and a CT brain scan showed two large pools of blood, one on each side of my head, between the skull and the dura, the covering of the brain. So I was sent to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center where I had surgery on October 29th. After spending six days in the hospital, I returned home and devoted the month of November to recuperating. The doctor says that the surgery was completely successful and I'm well on the way to a full recovery. Although I've decided not to travel to the Midwest Band Clinic this year, as of now I'm feeling great and looking forward to the upcoming holidays. I want to thank everyone for the cards, phone calls and expressions of concern I’ve received. And a special THANK YOU to my wonderful wife, Nancy, for taking such good care of me during this time.
NEW FLEX-BAND ARRANGEMENTS
October 28, 2015 - The two Flex-Band arrangements mentioned below, “Back to the Future,” and “Highlights from Jurassic Park” have been completed and sent to the publisher. They will be recorded in November and will be available from Hal Leonard in the Spring.
September 30, 2015 - Today I mailed my most recent commission to the South Middle School in Lawrence, KS, a full month ahead of schedule! For details about the music, go to the “Featured” page of this web site. Next . . . two Flex-Band arrangements for Hal Leonard of music by Alan Silvestri and John Williams. Fun stuff !!
August 29, 2015 - Work continues on the commission for South Middle School in Lawrence, KS. (OK, I’ve also played golf a lot this summer!) As the piece nears completion, I’ve become more and more excited about it. This is the first piece I’ve written for band and narrator, and I can’t wait to hear it performed!
MY NEXT COMMISSION
July 23, 2015 - My next commission is for the South Middle School Band of Lawrence, Kansas, Scott Robinson, director. This Gr. 2 work will be a tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and will include narration. I’ve enjoyed getting started on this piece and look forward to its completion, hopefully in advance of the November deadline.
July 7, 2015 - I just finished and sent to Hal Leonard a Flute Ensemble arrangement of the“Colonel Bogey March.” Along with the three flute parts are optional parts for piano, bass and drums. It should be fun to play!
June 2, 2015 - I’ve recently learned that two of my newer original compositions will be performed at major events. “O’er the Land of the Free” will be played by the El Paso Wind Symphony (Ron Hufstader, conductor) at the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention/Clinic in San Antonio on Friday, July 24th. And “Selkie” will be played by the Pizitz Middle School Band (Kim Bain, conductor) at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago on Wednesday, December 16th. Thanks to these organizations and their conductors!
NEW CHRISTMAS ARRANGEMENT
May 15, 2015 - I recently completed a new Christmas arrangement titled “Kingsfold.” This beautiful British hymn tune, which dates back as far as the middle ages, is more commonly known today as “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem.” It will be published by Hal Leonard sometime this summer or fall.
ANOTHER BUSY SPRING!
April 28, 2015 - March and April have been really busy for me! I’ve written and sent to Hal Leonard a Gr. 3 arrangement of “Glory” (Academy Award winner for Best Song) from the movie “Selma,” and a Gr. 1.5 arrangement of Ricky Martin’s “The Cup of Life.” In addition, Nancy and I attended the American Bandmasters Association Convention in Reno, NV and I’ve adjudicated band festivals in Florida, Georgia and Texas.
“O’ER THE LAND OF THE FREE” PREMIERED
April 20, 2015 - A special “Thank You” to Carla Gallahan of Troy University for premiering my composition, “O’er the Land of the Free” with the Alabama All-State Junior High Band this past Saturday in Mobile. Congratulations to Carla and the band on an outstanding performance!
February 18, 2015 - In the last few weeks I’ve completed two new pieces for the Hal Leonard Corporation . . . A Grade 2 concert band pops arrangement of Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin,”and a Grade 2 MusicWorks arrangement titled “Suite from Water Music” based the music of Handel. Both are to be published this Summer.
ANOTHER COMMISSION COMPLETED
December 6, 2014 - My latest commission, titled “Selkike (A Scottish Legend)” has been completed for the J.T. Lambert Intermediate School Sixth Grade Band of East Stroudsburg, PA. I am looking forward to attending and conducting the premiere on February, 23, 2015. For a description, go to the “Featured” page of this website.
NEW POP/MOVIE ARRANGEMENTS
October 22, 2014 - Recently I’ve completed and sent to Hal Leonard two new pop arrangements for concert band: “Crazy Train” (Gr. 2) and “Cupid Shuffle” (Gr. 2). Even more recently, I completed a Gr. 1.5 arrangement of Alan Silvestri’s “Captain America March.” These should all be published and available in the Spring.
PHI BETA MU COMMISSION COMPLETED
September 1, 2014 - The Phi Beta Mu commission, titled “O’er the Land of the Free” has been completed and mailed to Elva Kaye Lance, Director of Bands at Mississippi State University and Chair of the Phi Beta Mu Commissioning Committee. Plans are not yet completed for the premiere but it will be sometime in Winter/Spring 2015. For a description, go to the “Featured” page of this website.
PHI BETA MU COMMISSION
August 6, 2014 - I am honored to have been commissioned by the International Bandmasters Fraternity Phi Beta Mu to compose a Grade 3 work for concert band. This new work is part of a multi-year commissioning project through which Phi Beta Mu intends to contribute to the band repertoire for all grade levels as the fraternity works to build better bands. The projected completion date is September 1st. No details yet, but I’m making good progress!
THE “INTERNATIONAL MARCHES FOR YOUNG BANDS” SERIES
June 26, 2014 - Some of the most popular and often played of my original compositions are the “International Marches for Young Bands.” With the recent addition of “Broadway!”, an up-tempo American concert march, this series now numbers seven. In talking with directors, I often discover that although they might have played one of the marches, they don’t realize that there is a whole group of them. So . . . these are now highlighted on the “Featured” page of this website. Check them out!
A NEW MARCH FOR YOUNG BANDS
May 15, 2014 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard the seventh installment in what I call the “International Marches for Young Bands Series.” This one is entitled “Broadway!” (Gr. 2) and is in the style of an up-tempo American concert march. Previously released in the series were “St. Petersburg March” (Russian), “New Forest March” (British), “The Crown of Castile” (Spanish), “The Brandenburg Gate” (German), “Grand Galop” (Circus), and “Arch of Triumph” (French).
SPRING IS BUSY!
April 23, 2014 - Wow, I can’t believe it’s been more than five weeks since I updated the web site . . . but Spring is a busy time. Since my last blog post on March 15th, I’ve been to Orlando, FL twice to adjudicate Festival Disney and have written two more arrangements for Hal Leonard. They are: “Let It Go” (Gr. 1.5 concert band), the Academy Award winning song from the hit movie “FROZEN” and “Meet the Beatles” (Gr. 2 concert band), a medley of three songs from the Beatles first American album. The songs include “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”
March 15, 2014 - Within the past couple of weeks I finished and sent to Hal Leonard two new arrangements: “The Great Escape March” (Gr. 3 Flex-Band) from the famous movie, and “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” (Gr. 1.5 concert band) from the Academy Award winning Disney animated movie “FROZEN.” Both will be recorded on March 24 and will be published later this spring/summer.
AMERICAN BANDMASTERS ASSOCIATION CONVENTION
March 10, 2014 - This past week Nancy and I attended the American Bandmasters Association Convention in Montgomery, AL. Thanks to the faculty and staff of the John M. Long School of Music at Troy University for the fine job they did of hosting the convention. Special thanks to Dr. Mark Walker, Director of Bands at Troy, for having me as one of his guest conductors at the Wednesday night concert. Congratulations to Dr. Walker on his election to ABA and to my friend and former colleague at Auburn, Dr. Rick Good, on attending his first ABA Convention as a new member.
“CAHABA DANCES” PREMIERED
February 27, 2014 - Last weekend I had the pleasure of conducting the premiere performance of my most recent commission, “Cahaba Dances.” The performing group was the All-Shelby County (AL) Honor Band. This was a fine band made up of outstanding players from seven high schools and they did an outstanding job. Special thanks to Jeff Burnside, band director at Pelham High School for his work in putting together the commission.
SOUTH DAKOTA BANDMASTERS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
February 21, 2014 - Last week, I was at South Dakota State University in Brookings for the South Dakota Bandmasters Association Conference. I presented a clinic on band rehearsal techniques, conducted a reading session of my music, and guest conducted the SDSU Symphonic Band. Special thanks to Music Department Chair Dave Reynolds, Director of Bands Eric Peterson and Associate Director Jim Coull for their hospitality while I was there.
PERFORMANCES AT THE A.M.E.A. CONFERENCE
January 25, 2014 - It was great seeing everyone at the Alabama Music Educators Association Conference in Montgomery this weekend. Two of my compositions were performed there. Special thanks to the Thompson High School Wind Ensemble for their performance of
“To Realms Of Endless Day” and to the Bumpus Middle School Symphonic Band for their performance of “Grand Galop.” Congratulations to both of these fine bands! Great job!
MUSIC FROM “FROZEN” FOR FLEX-BAND
January 23, 2014 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard a medley for FlexBand of the music from the new Disney hit movie “FROZEN.” The songs included are “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?”, “For The First Time In Forever,” and “Let It Go.” This was a fun project . . .
it should be through production and available sometime this Spring.
PHI BETA MU COMMISSION
January 9, 2014 - While at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago last month, I was honored to be asked by the International Chapter Phi Beta Mu, the bandmasters fraternity, to compose a Grade 3 work as a part of their ongoing commissioning project. I really look forward to working on this new piece which is due in September, 2014.
ANOTHER COMMISSION IN THE WORKS
December 14, 2013 - I’m currently working on a commission for the Shelby County (AL) Honor Band. Yet to be titled, this new work will be at the Grade 4 level. I’m also presently in discussion with several persons and groups for commissions ranging on into 2015. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago next week.
NEW COMMISSION FINISHED & NEW GRANDDAUGHTER!
November 13, 2013 - Yesterday I finished work on a new commission,“Fantasy Sketches” (Wizards, Elves, and Talking Animals). For a description, see the Featured page of this site. Yesterday also marked the birth of our first grandchild, Liana Jade Vinson, to our son Ed and his wife Tessa.
NEWS FROM HAL LEONARD - SCORES CAN NOW BE VIEWED AS YOU LISTEN
October 9, 2013 - It is now possible to view the scores of new Hal Leonard concert band publications as you listen to recordings of the music. HL has created a YouTube channel that combines viewing a score (complete with accurate page turns) along with the audio. It’s still in the formative stages, but titles will be added as new pieces are published. On the Published Music pages of my website, these will be indicated by “Video Link”.
“CUPS” (When I’m Gone)
October 8, 2013 - My latest arrangement for Hal Leonard, just completed, is a Gr. 2 version for concert band of the song “Cups” (When I’m Gone) as sung by Anna Kendrick in the motion picture “Pitch Perfect.” As of this writing, the video clip on YouTube of this tune from the movie has been viewed almost 66 million times!! This arrangement will be available soon.
MORE MICHAEL JACKSON
September 11, 2013 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard an easy (Gr. 1.5) arrangement of the Michael Jackson hit song “Bad.” Watch for it to be published and available soon.
CHICAGO AREA READING SESSION ALSO A SUCCESS
August 20, 2013 - The second New Music Reading Session sponsored by Quinlan and Fabish Music was in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove. Like the earlier one in northern Indiana, this session was also well attended and I enjoyed meeting an enthusiastic group of band directors. Special thanks to Tom Tedeschi and Brian Ohlsen, directors of the outstanding band program at Lakeview Jr. High School, for hosting this event.
MICHIANA READING SESSION A SUCCESS
July 22, 2013 - The “Michiana” (northern Indiana) Reading Session sponsored by Quinlan and Fabish went really well! There were a good number of band directors in attendance and the group did a nice job of reading all the new music. Thanks to George Quinlan and his staff for hosting a great event!
SUMMER READING SESSIONS
June 30, 2013 - I’m looking forward to conducting two upcoming new music reading sessions, one in Indiana and the other in Illinois. Both are sponsored by the Quinlan & Fabish Music Company. These sessions are a really fun way to select new music for next year. For details, go to and click on “Summer Reading Clinics.”
CONGRATS RUSTY !!!
May 16, 2013 - I want to congratulate my good friend and golf partner, Dr. Rusty Logan, on his retirement this spring after a long and distinguished career as Director of Bands at Auburn (AL) High School. The Auburn Band Parents Association has commissioned me to write a composition in Rusty’s honor and I look forward to working on it over the summer.
May 15, 2013 - Today I finished and sent to Hal Leonard another medley of Henry Mancini tunes. Entitled “The Best of Henry Mancini”, this Grade 2.5 arrangement includes “The Pink Panther,” “Baby Elephant Walk,” “The Sweetheart Tree,” and “Peter Gunn.” I’m a big fan of Mr. Mancini and working with his music is always a treat for me!
April 22, 2013 - Spring is band festival season and I’ve been especially busy in April traveling and adjudicating. I’ve already made one trip to Festival Disney in Orlando with another one yet to go. This past weekend I was at the Kings Dominion Festival in Virginia. Special thanks to my hosts, Tracia and Terry Austin for their great hospitality while I was there!
MICHAEL JACKSON FOR FLEX-BAND
April 18, 2013 - Today I finished and sent to Hal Leonard a medley for Flex-Band of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits. Entitled “Michael Jackson Hit Mix,” it includes “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Bad,” and “Thriller.” It will be published and available sometime this summer. My next project is a Grade 2 medley of tunes by Henry Mancini.
AMERICAN BANDMASTERS ASSOCIATION CONVENTION
March 6-9, 2013 - Nancy and I attended the ABA Convention on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa. Congratulations to Dr. John Carmichael, Director of Bands at USF and his staff on the fine job they did hosting this event. Also, a special thanks to Dr. Carmichael for inviting me to guest conduct his outstanding Florida Wind Band on Friday night of the convention.
NEW ADDITION TO THE “INTERNATIONAL MARCHES FOR YOUNG BANDS” SERIES
February 27, 2013 - Just this week I completed and sent to Hal Leonard the sixth installment in what I call the “International Marches for Young Bands Series.” This one is entitled “Arch of Triumph” (Gr. 2) and is in the style of a French Regimental march. Previously released in the series were “St. Petersburg March” (Russian), “New Forest March” (British), “The Crown of Castile” (Spanish), “The Brandenburg Gate” (German), and “Grand Galop” (American).
FLEXBAND ARRANGEMENTS OF BIG MOVIE THEMES
February 26, 2013 - Since the first of the year I’ve completed two FlexBand arrangements of music from hit movies. The first was “Skyfall” (Gr. 2) from the most recent James Bond film. This tune by British singer, Adele, just won the Oscar for Best Original Song. My second arrangement was a medley of the tunes from “Les Miserables,” (Flex-Band, Gr. 3) including the new song,“Suddenly” that was added especially for the movie.
February 6, 2013 - Last Friday (February 1st), I had the distinct pleasure of conducting the premiere performance of my most recent commission, “Thunderbolt” (A P-47 Tribute). The performing group was the Okaloosa (FL) All-County Middle School Band. These youngsters, representing nine schools, were fine players and did a super job. There is some outstanding band teaching being done in that area of north Florida!!! Special thanks to Paul Harris, band director at Meigs Middle School in Shalimar, FL for his work in putting together the commission.
“PIE IN THE FACE POLKA” PERFORMED AT MIDWEST CLINIC
December 26, 2012 - On December 19th, the Shadow Ridge Middle School Honor Winds from Flower Mound, Texas performed my arrangement of Henry Mancini’s “Pie in the Face Polka”during their concert at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Although I was not able to attend their concert, I’ve been told by persons who were there that it was outstanding! Congratulations to this fine band and their directors!
NEW COMMISSION FINISHED
December 13, 2012 - Within the past week I completed the commission for the Okaloosa (FL) All-County Middle School Band. The title is “Thunderbolt” (A P-47 Tribute). It is a Grade 3 overture (duration: 4:30). For a description see the Featured page of this site. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago next week!
WHAT’S NEW AND WHAT’S NEXT?
November 5, 2012 - I just finished a new Christmas arrangement for the Montgomery (AL) Symphony Orchestra which they will premiere on their December 17th “Holiday Pops” concert. This was a special treat because I don’t have much opportunity to write for full orchestra!! Today I started on an original commissioned work for the Okaloosa County (FL) middle school band directors. It will be premiered by the Okaloosa All-County Middle School Honor Band on February 1, 2013 in Niceville, Florida.
September 29, 2012 - It’s been nearly six weeks since I updated the web site and posted anything here, but I have a good excuse . . . arranging! After a little welcome time off in August, I’ve been working on pop arrangements for Hal Leonard’s upcoming recording session in November. Recently completed: Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk”
(Grade 3 Flex-Band), Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A. (Grade 3 Flex-Band), and British composer John Powell’s original music from the animated movie “How To Train Your Dragon” (Grade 2).
TRAVEL TO GERMANY
August 7, 2012 - Last week, from July 27 through August 5, Nancy and I, along with some dear friends, traveled to Germany with short side trips to France and Luxembourg. Among the places we visited were Dusseldorf, Berlin (including the Brandenburg Gate), Leipzig (where Bach worked), Bonn (where Beethoven grew up), Cologne, and Frankfurt. Our sincere thanks to Wayne Fears, an American band director who teaches in Germany, for his superb hospitality while we were there.
TOTAL BAND DIRECTOR WORKSHOP, SENSENEY MUSIC, WICHITA
July 27, 2012 - For three days this week I was in Wichita, Kansas for the “Total Band Director Workshop” sponsored by Senseney Music. For the workshop, I conducted new Hal Leonard releases on two reading sessions and presented clinics on Rehearsal Techniques and Writing Music for Young Bands. Special thanks to Lori Supinie and Ralph McKay of Senseny Music for their hospitality during the workshop.
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS BEATLES ARRANGEMENTS
July 23, 2012 - Recently, I’ve been working on a group of four arrangements of tunes by the Beatles. These will be included in a new book of “Beatles Favorites” correlated with Hal Leonard’s “Essential Elements” band method. All four are now finished: “And I Love Her” (Grade 1), “Get Back” (Grade 1.5), “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (Grade 2.5), and “Here, There and Everywhere” (Grade 2.5). Watch for this new book coming soon.
TOTAL TEACHER WORKSHOP, PAIGE’S MUSIC, INDIANAPOLIS
July 5-6, 2012 - It was my pleasure to conduct a Hal Leonard New Music Reading Session during the Total Teacher Workshop sponsored by Paige’s Music. The workshop was held at Purgatory Golf Club outside Indianapolis. Other than the 100+ degree temperatures, it was a very nice trip. Thanks to Tim Dawson of Paige’s Music for his hospitality!
NUMBER 425 AND COUNTING
May 17, 2012 - Today I completed and sent to Hal Leonard my 425th published piece for band, an arrangement for Flex-Band entitled “Disney Film Favorites.” It includes four well known tunes from Disney movies: “Under the Sea” (from The Little Mermaid), “Circle of Life” (The Lion King), “Friend Like Me” (Aladdin), and “Beauty and the Beast” (Beauty and the Beast). The arrangement will be available sometime this summer. Check it out!
WORLDS OF FUN FESTIVAL
May 8, 2012 - This past weekend I was in Kansas City, MO judging the “Worlds of Fun” Band Festival. My friend Russ Coleman, who manages the festival, is a great host and we had an amazing dinner on Friday evening! A total of forty-eight bands participated in the festival so we had a busy three days of listening. The festival takes place in the “Worlds of Fun” amusement park.
April 2, 2012 - For the past two weekends, I’ve been in Orlando, FL adjudicating for Festival Disney. We heard some outstanding bands from as far away as Japan! Rene Perez and his staff do a great job of running the festivals. If you’re looking for a nice place for a band trip, you might consider Walt Disney World and Festival Disney.
AUBURN UNIVERSITY SYMPHONIC BAND IN CHINA
March 9-19, 2012 - The A.U. Symphonic Band and Symphonic Winds just returned from an eleven-day concert tour of China. Dr. Rick Good (my successor as Director of Bands at Auburn) was kind enough to invite Nancy and me to go along on the trip and I conducted a movement of my Suite for Winds and Percussion on each of the concerts. Let me tell you . . . being in China gives new meaning to the term “culture shock!” For highlights of the trip, check out the following web link:
AMERICAN BANDMASTERS ASSOCIATION CONVENTION
February 28 - March 3, 2012 - Nancy and I attended the ABA Convention in Indianapolis and, as always, enjoyed visiting with many of our long-time friends. Special thanks to Dr. Tom Caneva, Director of Bands at Ball State University, for having me as a guest conductor with his fine Wind Ensemble.
W.T. WOODSON HIGH SCHOOL SYMPHONIC BAND AT
SOUTHERN DIVISION CBDNA/NBA CONFERENCE
February 23, 2012 - Last Thursday evening I had the honor of guest conducting the W.T. Woodson High School Symphonic Band of Fairfax, VA during their performance at the CBCNA/NBA Conference near Atlanta. This is an outstanding group and I want to congratulate the players and director Melinda McKenzie Hall on their superb concert. My arrangement of “O Mio Babbino Caro,” along with the entire program, was played beautifully!
CHAMINADE COLLEGE PREPARATORY SCHOOL
February 7, 2012 - Last week, on Thursday through Saturday, I was in residence at Chaminade College Preparatory School, a grade 6-12 Catholic boys school in the St. Louis, MO area. Many thanks to band directors John Hahn, Eric Warren, and Chris Treloar and their outstanding students for their tremendous hospitality while I was there. Chaminade’s Skip Viragh Center for the Arts is undoubtedly the finest facility of that kind I’ve ever seen at a high school! Click here to read about it.
January 21, 2012 - On Thursday and Friday of this week I attended the Alabama Music Educators Association Conference in Montgomery. At the Thursday night conference concert, I was privileged to guest conduct the Prattville (AL) High School Wind Symphony performing the “Suite for Winds and Percussion (Remembering Daniel Pratt)” that I composed for them in 2008. Congratulations to this fine band and their directors, Rob Cothran and Jeff Grant, on a superb performance!
January 18, 2012 - Today I completed the fifth in my series of “international marches for young bands” which began several years ago. Now tentatively titled “Grand Galop,” this is an American circus march which is intended to be played FAST, in one beat per measure! Previously released in the series were St. Petersburg March (Russian), New Forest March (British), The Crown of Castile (Spanish), and The Brandenburg Gate (German).
THE MIDWEST INTERNATIONAL BAND & ORCHESTRA CLINIC
December 19, 2011 - Nancy and I spent last week at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago where two of my recent original compositions were performed. On Thursday, the Cobb Wind Symphony played “. . . To Realms of Endless Day,” and on Friday, the VanderCook College of Music Band played “Mountain Country Dances.” I want to congratulate these fine groups and their conductors on their outstanding performances!