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From Wind Repertory Project
Jesse Ayers

Jesse Ayers

General Info

Year: 2005
Duration: c. 16:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Jesse Ayers
Cost: Score & parts $160    Score & PDF parts $100    Score only $40    ORDER HERE


Flute I-II-III-IV-V (including piccolo & alto, and an optional bass flute solo)
Oboe I-II
English Horn (exposed parts cross-cued)
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra Alto Clarinet (optional part)
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Soprano Saxophone
Alto Saxophone
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

Offstage woodwind choir (behind the audience, optional, but adds very important ambience)

  • 3 flutes
  • 3 Bb soprano clarinets
  • Whistling tubes (photo here, scroll down)
  • These are easy parts, players from a "second" band or local high school may be used

Trumpet (in Bb) I-II (offstage)
Trumpet (in Bb) III-IV-V-VI (onstage)
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone

Electronic Keyboard I (not optional, requires bona fide keyboard player)
Electronic Keyboard II (not optional, easy one-hand part)
Harp (optional, part is cued in Keyboard 1)
Piano (optional, includes an eerie "inside-the-piano" effect)

Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI (2 parts are easy, 2 parts moderate, 2 parts difficult)

  • Orchestra bells (glockenspiel)
  • Marimba
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone
  • Chimes
  • Bongos
  • Hi-hat
  • Suspended cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • 3 temple blocks
  • Mark tree
  • Vibraslap
  • Guiro
  • Claves
  • Slapstick
  • 6 Bass drums or large tom-toms (surround-sound, placed around audience)
  • 6 suspended cymbals (surround-sound)
  • 6 chime mallets (6 tubes are removed from rack for surround-sound)

SATB Chorus (optional, but adds much)


All copies printed prior to December 2010: Score and all percussion parts, bar 228, delete this sentence from the instructions: Include cymbal crashes after 30 seconds or so of drums only. The composer does not like the the use of cymbals in this bar. (This note was added by the composer.)

Program Notes

Jericho is by far the most imaginative, unusual and successful work I have ever performed in 33 years of conducting. This work was passionately received by our students and the audiences.

Program Note by Dr. Richard Fischer, Concordia University Chicago

I have found Jericho to be one of the most effective pieces I have ever had the pleasure to conduct. There is no doubt it makes a lasting impression on the audience. They just kept talking about your piece after our performances. It undoubtedly is the 'hit' of the program.

Program Note by Prof. Terry Treuden, Conductor, Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Jericho is a surround-sound piece employing expanded instrumentation, multiple antiphonal effects, narration, and extensive and unorthodox audience participation. It is based on the Biblical account of the Battle of Jericho (Joshua 6), in which the famed walls of Jericho fell down flat. The work was composed over a 17-month period from October 2004 to February 2005, and was premiered April 22, 2005, by the Valparaiso University Chamber Concert Band under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Scott Doebler.

Compositionally, Jericho makes extensive use of the 15th century melody Veni Emmanuel ("O come, O come, Emmanuel"). It is used to generate motivic ideas, such as the horn and trumpet fanfare figures; it appears as a cantus firmus in the synth bass in the long pedal tones; a three-voice, fifth species harmonization of Veni is used to generate harmonic cycles; and finally it is quoted directly in the last section of the piece as the audience sings the phrase "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.


There is extensive audience participation, including not only unison singing, but also battle chants and a great battle shout at the work's climax. The score contains the following script to be read to the audience prior to the performance.

"The next piece on our program is a bit unusual, so the composer has requested that the following be read to the audience. First, you have probably noticed that musicians are setting up all around you, and as the piece progresses, others will be leaving the stage to take "surround sound" positions. We want you, the audience, to experience what we, the performers, get to experience all the time, being in the middle of the music instead separated from it by traditional concert hall seating.

"But even more than that, the composer and we invite you to join us in performing this work. There are three places in this piece where we need your help, and I will warn you, two of these are a bit out of the ordinary, but we hope you will find it meaningful. Let me explain the three spots in order, and we will rehearse each one with you so that you'll feel confident when its time for your entrances.

"Your first point of participation will come approximately six and a half minutes into the piece. All the drums will begin pounding out unison quarter notes, in a fierce, battle-like manner, and we will ask you to stand and remain standing for the remainder of the piece. The drums will give us a 7 beat introduction and we will shout the words "Jehovah Nissi" [KNEE-see], which means "I AM your victory" or "The Lord is my banner." We will do this twelve times, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. While this shouting is not in the Joshua 6 text, it is used here to indicate that the people of God realize that they have absolutely no hope of victory short of divine intervention, but a recognition that God's power is more than sufficient. You might even want to accent these words rhythmically with a raise armed and clenched fist as one might do in battle. "Jehovah Nissi" [demonstrate arm]. You will know its time to stop when the drums stop and there is a long cymbal roll. Let's rehearse this once. [Begin at bar 176, and run all 12 "Nissi"s through bar 210.]

"The second point of audience participation is a little less traditional than the first [joke]. God's instructions to Joshua were that on the seventh day, after marching around the wall seven times, seven priests were to sound seven ram's horns trumpets, and then all the people, note the word "all," were to give a great shout. We are going to ask you to shout at the top of your lungs for a long time. It can be a very exciting moment if everyone gives it a whole-hearted try. You do it like this: take a deep breath, shout as loud as you can for as long as you can. When you run out of air, take another deep breath and shout again. The shout should last about 30-40 seconds. You will know it is time to shout when the narrator cries out "SHOUT!" Continue to shout until you hear the loud rumble of the crashing of the wall. At that point, try to visualize yourself at Jericho, watching in awe as the impregnable wall crumbles before your eyes under the power of God. We will not rehearse the shout, so just remember, the narrator will cry out "shout," and you can follow the lead of the musicians on stage.

"The third and final segment of audience participation is after the wall falls. The music will get very soft, and when you are cued by the conductor, you will sing the first phrase of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" four times. Then you will sing the second phrase four times, with new words which are in your program, and then return to the first phrase again for another four times. When we do this singing, the horn section will be all around you, playing your notes with you, so you can also keep an eye on them after the slow, soft ending section begins to know when to come in. We will practice two of these phrases now so that you will have a feel for it. [Begin at bar 240 and play through at least bar 250.]

"Thank you so much for rehearsing with us. You may now take your seats and we hope you enjoy listening to, and participating in, this performance of Jericho ."


  • Finalist, 2013 American Prize for Composition - Band Division
  • Jericho was the basis for Ayers' 2007 Ohio Arts Council Individual Creativity Excellence Award

Audio Links

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.

Recent Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Windiana Concert Band (Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conductor) - November 2011
  • Riverbend High School Symphonic Band (Aaron Noe, director) - October 2011
  • Lamont Symphony Orchestra (Lawrence Golan, conductor) - May 2011; Denver, CO
  • University of Portland Wind Symphony (Patrick Murphy, conductor) - March 2011; Portland, OR
  • Chamber Concert Band of Valparaiso University (Jeffrey Scott Doebler, conductor; Rev. Michael Cobbler, narrator) - April 2005 WORLD PREMIERE

Additional Works for Winds by this Composer

Additional Resources