It’s the nature of a tournament that eventually good players get eliminated.
That being said, we were still surprised to see some popular picks to win the tournament not moving on after the end of our second round of voting. As we head into the quarter-final, here is a farewell to some of the pieces we’re leaving behind.
John Barnes Chance wrote Incantation and Dance when school bands were a relatively new type of ensemble. At the time, there was a push to increase the repertoire available. But pieces like this one—that were originals rather than transcriptions—also cemented what bands look like in terms of instrumentation and setup. It’s still a popular piece for competitions and adjudications, like those that were running in the mid-state this week. Likewise, Henry Fillmore’s Rolling Thunder is also commonly heard in these educational settings. At competitions schools generally kick things off with a march to get everyone warmed up. Rolling Thunder brings a great energy—allowing the band to really make noise right from the start.
One popular pick to win it all was the newest piece on the bracket: Omar Thomas’s Of Our New Day Begun. Thomas wrote the piece to honor the Charleston Nine: those who lost their lives in the mass shooting at Emanuel AME in June of 2015. Similar to Hannibal Lokumbe in his tribute Crucifixion/Resurrection, Thomas is open about the difficulty of mixing reverence for the victims and their families with feelings of intense bitterness over what took place. The piece begins and ends with the song Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, bringing a note of hope that even in the darkest times humanity marches on.
And another favorite was one of the most performed pieces of band music in the repertoire: Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger. This was Vanderbilt music education professor Robert Clark’s pick to win the tournament. When asked why, he pointed to the nature of the piece’s creation: Grainger not only documented the folk songs of the Lincolnshire area, but he also captured the personalities of the singers themselves. Clark referred to it as the most enduring piece for wind band. It may be eliminated now, but in a hundred years, Clark thinks we’ll still be hearing it at wind ensemble concerts.
Here is the updated bracket for round 3:
Voting will open soon on 91Classical.org.
Continuing coverage of coronavirus spread and precautions plus tornado recovery can be found via our sister station, WPLN. All the while, 91Classical will continue to be a place to take a break and enjoy a little music.