Blue Lake Overture

From Wind Repertory Project
John Barnes Chance

John Barnes Chance

General Info

Year: 1971
Duration: c. 5:25
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.
Cost: Score and Parts - $110.00   |   Score Only - $20.95


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Dedicated to the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp of Twin Lake, Michigan, this exciting overture readily demonstrates the composer’s ability to develop thematic material in a remarkable number of different ways – the entire piece is developed from the initial motif heard in the horn. In the middle section, for example, the opening theme is repeated and given a subtle waltz-like treatment.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

Commissioned by the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan and premiered in 1971, this dynamic composition by John Barnes Chance has a unique history. The outer sections of the work feature a rhythmic intensity created in part by Chance's free use of eight-note groupings of 2 and 3. However, when first published, the meter was changed to 4/4, resulting in awkward notation of these figures. Through painstaking research by Carl Bjerregaard, Donald Flickinger, and Myron Welch (all connected with Blue Lake) this revised edition restores the asymmetric meters as the composer originally intended.

- Program Note from publisher

This exciting overture displays the composer's command of time, meter and instrumentation. Beginning with a trademark opening tempo marking of slancio (with impetuosity), the initial motive is heard in the horns. The pulsing 3+3+2 pattern transitions into a soft waltz and a restatement of the original theme. The energy of the opening returned to carry the work to its finale.

- Program Note from Duncanville High School Wind Ensemble concert program, 16 December 2005

Blue Lake Overture was the first commission by Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp was established in 1966 and is located in West Michigan. The premiere performance was given in early 1971 by the Western Michigan University Wind Ensemble with the composer conducting. Carl Bjerregaard, WMU director of bands, did the rehearsal preparation before the arrival of the conductor. In the early 1960s, Carl and his wife Marcia were involved in the site selection, planning, and financing for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

With the entire piece based on the original introductory horn theme, the outer sections of the piece feature a rhythmic intensity created by Chance's free use of the eighth-note groupings of 2 and 3 in 4/4. While this often produces a 3+3+2 pattern which matched the length of the 4/4 bar, more often the note groupings defy that meter altogether, spilling over barlines and creating moments that sound like 6/8, 8/8, and 9/8. The middle section settles into a circus-y waltz with wandering tonality.

Blue Lake Overture, in the original edition, with the A section and the repeat of the A section metered in 4/4 presented unrealistic metric challenges. Chance had written the work in asymmetric meters, but the meters were changed to 4/4 by the publisher. The premier performance, conducted by the composer, was performed in the original meters. The original score is missing, but Carl Bjerregaard, Donald Flickinger, and Myron Welch have made an edition which restores the asymmetric meters as was the composer's original intent. The American Bandmasters Association Educational Projects Committee understood the value of this project and supported the creation of this revised edition. The restoration of the original meters will make this classic overture readily playable by fine ensembles.

- Program Note from publisher (revised edition)


State Ratings

  • Florida: V
  • Minnesota - Category I
  • New York: VI
  • North Carolina: VI
  • Virginia: VI
  • MusicFest Canada: B500


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Quincy (Ill.) Concert Band (Trent A. Hollinger, conductor) - 5 November 2023
  • Connecticut (Hartford) All-State Band (T. André Feagin, conductor) - 1 April 2023
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Symphony Band (Myron D. Welch, conductor) - 1 March 2023 (88th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Symphony Band (Richard Mark Heidel, conductor) - 18 February 2023
  • The University of Texas at El Paso Wind Symphony (Brandon Houghtalen, conductor) - 15 November 2022
  • Ohlone Wind Orchestra (Fremont, Calif.) (Tony Clements, conductor) - 27 March 2022
  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John Watkins Jr., conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Rouge River Winds (Toronto, Ont. Can.) (Pratik Gandhi, conductor) - 26 October 2019
  • Texas Woman's University (Denton) Wind Symphony (Carter Biggers, conductor) – 3 October 2019
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Scott Hagen) – 5 March 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Hindsley Symphonic Band (Patricia Vanagas Ruiz, conductor) – 3 March 2019
  • Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Tex.) Wind Ensemble (Fred J. Allen, conductor) – 13 November 2018
  • Wheaton North High School Wind Ensemble (Kent Krause, conductor) - 1 November 2018
  • Virginia Tech University (Blacksburg, Va.) Symphony Band (Dave McKee, conductor) – 29 April 2018
  • University of Louisiana Monroe Wind Ensemble (Derle R. Long, conductor) – 22 February 2018
  • Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Coquitlam, B.C.) (David Brantner, conductor) – 9 December 2017
  • Cleveland State University (Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Birch Browning, conductor) – 5 October 2017
  • Capitol Symphonic Winds (West Hartford, Conn.) (Gary Partridge, conductor) – 30 November 2016
  • Arlington (Va.) Concert Band (James Kirchenbauer, conductor) – 9 April 2016
  • Ohlone Wind Orchestra (Fremont, Calif.) (Tony Clements, conductor) - 22 March 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. 2002. Teaching Music Through Performance in Band. Volume 4. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 455-461.
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 119.