Subtitle: For School Ensemble
3 O'Clock Mix uses a flexible instrumentation. All that is required is a large ensemble of student players. While any pitched instrument may play any non-percussion part, it works best to arrange players into categories of high, mid and low-range instruments.
- High, Parts One-Four. Oboes, clarinets, soprano saxophones, trumpets or violins. Parts One and Two require the ability to play slightly more complicated syncopated patterns.
- Mids, Parts Five-Seven. Any combination of clarinets, English horn, alto and tenor saxophones, trumpets horns and violas.
- Lows, Parts Eight-Ten. Any combination of bass clarinets, bassoons, baritone saxophones, horns, trombones, baritones, tubas, cellos and basses.
- Ringers. Percussion or keyboard instruments with slow decay: including any combination of glockenspiel, crotales, tubular bells, vibraphone, handbells, harp, celesta, or piano.
- Pulse. Instruments requiring no breath: including any combination of xylophone, marimba, piano, keyboard or pizzicato strings.
- Desk. School desk struck with drumsticks
- Chair. Plastic or wood school chair; two pitches required
- Book. Large textbook
- Chalkboard. Stuck with an eraser and drawn upon
- Bass drum/Tam-Tam
None discovered thus far.
Written in 2012 on a commission organized by the Bowling Green University National Band Association Student Chapter, and including school bands from the Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan, this four-minute work denies any easy description, but might fall under the category of a “program piece.” It exemplifies all the compositional craftsmanship and character of the composer’s more advanced works, but within a very accessible technical level.
There are 10 flexibly arranged parts, ranging in tessitura from High (parts 1-4) Middle (parts 5-7) and Low (parts 8-10). Percussion parts are provided for two sets of “Ringers” (resonant pitched), two sets of “Pulse” (dry/secco pitched), and four percussionists playing on Desk, Chair, Book/Chalkboard, and Bass Drum/Tam-Tam/Eraser.
The program, or scenario, that propels the musical concept is that at the end of the school day (3 o'clock in this case) the students begin to explore musical sounds on the “found objects” in the classroom. This then leads to others in the class that begin to explore musical motives on their instruments, building on the sounds that are heard around them. This kind of written out “MIX” is all quite naturally developed within the piece, but one of the exciting opportunities with this work is that the players could be invited to make up some of their own motives so as to take the piece in a new direction. Another, quite natural, adaptation could come from extending the time of some of the early developmental sections so as to make the work seem more improvisatory rather than in standard four-bar phrases. Some theatrical elements (such as the slamming shut of a textbook three times at the end of the piece) seem completely natural, but other things like drawing lines and dots on a chalkboard will need some thought so as to make sure what is seen/written makes sense. The piece certainly works as written, however.
This building of the two intervals can be related as the simple melodic invention of the students as they begin to “improvise” at the end of the school day. All of these fundamental elements (sustained tones, scales, intervallic relationships, repeated eighth notes in differing styles) can be rehearsed with the percussionists rehearsing areas of the background “grooves” at the same time. None of the grooves are particularly loud (except from “H” to “I”) and will provide time support and interesting character to the fundamental exercises in the winds.
All of these special elements, and the ingenious craftsmanship of the composer to combine basic music fundamentals in an interesting and inventive manner makes 3 O’Clock Mix a mini-masterpiece for young players. In the right context, it would also provide a delightful program piece for advanced bands as well.
- Program Note from WASBE
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Granite Ridge Intermediate School (Fresno, Calif.) Symphonic Band (Jose Vargas, conductor) - 15 February 2019 (2019 CASMEC Conference, Fresno)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- 3 O'Clock Mix (2012)
- 1861 (2004)
- As the scent of spring rain (2003)
- Avenue X (2005)
- Blow It Up, Start Again (2012)
- Climbing Parnassus (2008)
- Concertino (flute solo, chamber winds, and piano)
- De Profundis
- Moon by Night (2001)
- Novel Romance (2018)
- OK Feel Good
- Pi’ilani and Ko’olau (2019)
- The Rivers of Bowery (2005)
- Single (2013)
- Sowing Useful Truths
- Symphony No. 1 (2009)
- Tender Hearts (2019)
- Uncle Sid
- Jonathan Newman website Accessed 18 February 2019
- Perusal score
- Ripley, James, "New WASBE Series: Suggested Repertoire from Around the World for Developing Bands." WASBE, February 2023. Web. Accessed 4 February 2023