Eyes on the Bison

From Wind Repertory Project
James Stephenson

James Stephenson

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General Info

Year: 2021
Duration: c. 2:40
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Stephenson Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

In December of 2021, I was an invited guest composer to the campus of North Dakota State University. I spent an entire week in Fargo, rehearsing, conducting, giving lessons and lectures, and enjoying the company of Warren Olfert, my host. One of the unexpected enjoyable aspects was a trip to one of their football team's playoff games, which they won quite easily. On the way to the game, as we walked alongside the marching band, I was quickly (and politely) corrected after mispronouncing the team mascot as "Bi-son", instead of the phonetically correct "Bi-zon".

During the game, after every first down -- and there were many -- the band would play a little "call", rousing the fans, and keeping the energy in high mode, especially for anyone who happened to be sitting right in front of them (which was me).

Upon my return home, I couldn't get a little march tune out of my head. The first down "call" kept reappearing (seen here at letter C), and a melody based on my own made-up Eyes on the Bison text wouldn't leave my head either. Measure 90 represents that tune - the first notes of the clarinet part being: "Eyes on the Bison". That text was my own way of reminding myself that "Bison" was to be pronounced with a "z" sound.

But most of all, I wanted to give this as a gift to Warren Olfert. He was a most generous host, making sure my stay was always completely comfortable, and always engaging me with meaningful music and discussions. His bands were a ton of fun to work with, and so this little march is also a thank you to them for making my time there so completely enjoyable.

- Program Note by composer


None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

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