Blue Ridge Reel

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

General Info

Year: 2013
Duration: c. 2:35
Difficulty: II (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $55.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


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

  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Washboard (or Guiro)
  • Spoons (or Castanets)
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Tambourine


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Written in the style of an Irish reel, this work reflects influences of bluegrass and even New Orleans march style. The fusion culminates in a spirited groove. Get out the washboards and the musical spoons and prepare to have a great time!

- Program Note from publisher

Commissioned by the Bailey Middle School Bands, Cornelius, North Carolina, Ruth Peterson, director, in memory of Robert Whitton, mathematics professor at Davidson College.

- Program Note from score

Blue Ridge Reel was inspired by a recent visit to Ashville for the National Convention of the American Band Directors Association. I was extremely taken with the fun vibe of the town, located in the mountains of North Carolina. During the trip, I had an opportunity to hear several bluegrass bands, including a great performance during a dinner and special tour of the Biltmore Estate. I love the rich heritage of the music of the mountains of the Eastern United States. Many influences in the region come from the rich cultures of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This fiddle music eventually played a major role in the development of country and bluegrass music.

The title, Blue Ridge Reel, pays homage to the Blue Ridge Mountains. While influenced by the form and style of a traditional Irish reel, the music certainly heads in some contemporary directions as it seeks to mix the modern feel of a city like Ashville with its deeply engrained musical roots. It is also deeply influenced by the untimely passing of Davidson College mathematics professor Robert Whitton, a music lover and major supporter of local musicians. Shortly before his passing, over 100 friends and family gathered in downtown Davidson to participate in a New Orleans-style march through the city. Thus, this piece ties together the spirit of that New Orleans march with my own personal bluegrass experiences in Ashville ... This marks my first time exploring this particular fusion of styles in the wind band idiom, but certainly not my last!

- Program Notes by composer


State Ratings

  • Texas: II. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Kentucky (Lexington) Concert Band (Brian Froedge, conductor) - 16 October 2023
  • High Point (N.C.) University Wind Ensemble (Brian Meixner, conductor) - 16 April 2023
  • The Southern Tier (Binghamton, N.Y.) Concert Band (Robin Linaberry, conductor) - 25 April 2022
  • Kentucky Virginia (Whitesburg, Ky.) Summer Winds (Jason Griffith, conductor) - 25 May 2021
  • Weaver Middle School (Merced, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Ashley Shine, conductor) – 12 April 2019 (2019 San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) Concert Band Invitational)
  • Prairie Wind Ensemble (East Peoria, Ill.) (Jim Tallman, conductor) – 17 March 20189
  • Charlottesville (Va.) Municipal Band (Stephen R. Layman, conductor) – 30 June 2015
  • Lockport Township High School (Ill.) Wind Symphony (John Cody Birdwell, conductor) – 18 December 2013 (2013 Midwest Clinic)
  • Atascadero (Calif.) Community Band (Nathan Conrad, conductor) - 2 November 2013

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

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