Spirit of Aloha, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

Subtitle: Island Dance

General Info

Year: 2015
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $70.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
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-VI, including:

  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Ipu
  • Kala'au
  • Marimba
  • Pahu
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • 'Uli'Uli
  • Vibraphone

Ukulele (optional)

N.B. Information on Hawaiian instruments are found in the Discussion tab, above.


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Spirit of Aloha was born after a trip I took to Honolulu, Hawaii, to work with the Niu Valley Middle School Concert Band and director Wayne Fanning. They had been selected by the American School Band Directors Association to premiere a new work of mine called Open Space. Wayne decided to fly me out to the island ahead of the premiere so we could dive into the piece together and dig into the musical aspects of the music. While there, my wife and I had the opportunity to soak in the beautiful scenery and culture of Oahu. I actually did not work with the band until my fifth day on the island. By that point, I was already incredibly relaxed and in great spirits. On Monday morning, I walked into the band room at Niu Valley Middle School and immediately felt the "aloha spirit" in the students and directors. In fact, it was stunning. I immediately received numerous leis (a wreath of flowers or other objects) and as a welcome to the island and received additional ones when it was time to leave. Students bought chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, Hawaiian coffee (which I am drinking as I write this!) and too many other gifts to mention. However, it was not the gifts that truly affected me. It was the "aloha spirit" of the students and visiting directors. They were so engaged, musical, respectful, spirited and kind. They took risks. They laughed. They poured their hearts into my music and made me a better person as a result of my time with them.

As I returned home, I immediately felt the need to give back to these wonderful people. It is in this "aloha spirit" that I have composed this piece and dedicated it to them. The music reflects my time in Honolulu. While the majority of the music is original, I do incorporate Hawaii Aloha toward the end of the piece. While this song is not the official state song of Hawaii, many consider it to be just as important (much like America the Beautiful). When people in Hawaii sing this song, they often stand up and hold hands. It is a beautiful sight. The music was presented to the Niu Valley Middle School Concert Band immediately after their concert at the American School Band Directors National Convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While they had just premiered a new piece of mine, the dedication was to ASBDA, the commissioning the group. Now, they have their own piece.

There are quite a few authentic Hawaiian instruments that are called for in the music, mostly in the percussion section. Alternate instruments are provided and will still be effective, but I always encourage directors to use as many authentic instruments as possible.

This piece is dedicated to the Niu Valley Middle School Band and their director Wayne Fanning. Thank you for your kindness, generosity, warm spirit and wonderful musicianship. I hope this gift 'in the spirit of aloha' helps you understand just how much I enjoyed our time together. I hope students and directors around the world get to experience the same feeling through this music.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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