Across the Great Plains

From Wind Repertory Project
William Owens

William Owens

Subtitle: The Pony Express (1860-1861)

General Info

Year: 2017
Duration: c. 3:00
Difficulty: III+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00; (digital) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $8.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass 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-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Wind Chimes
  • Xylophone (3.5 octaves)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The awe-inspiring legacy of the Pony Express comes alive in this audacious musical tale of one of America's greatest institutions. Conceived from a single rhythmic motif, this adrenaline-fueled work yields heroic melodies, brilliant runs and a beautifully contrasting 3/4 section. This one promises thrills for all, so get ready for a wild ride.

- Program Note from publisher

“The mail must go through.” This simple four-word creed was the unswerving mission statement of one of America’s most legendary (though short-lived) institutions, the Pony Express. Spurred by the ever-looming threat of Civil War, the Pony Express was born from the need for faster communication with the West. The service began in April 1860 when riders left simultaneously from St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Consisting of horse riders carrying saddlebags of mail across a 2000-mile trail, any given trip averaged ten days and covered approximately 250 miles in a 24-hour period. In time, the service would eventually grow to over 100 stations, 90 riders, and roughly 500 horses. The Express rider’s journey was fraught with hazards and danger, as job advertisements would read: “WANTED: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred...” The service proved itself astonishingly efficient during its time, losing only one delivery. With the advent of the Pacific Telegraph in October 1862, the tenacious Pony Express would be rendered obsolete after a glorious 19-month run.

- Program Note from Arbor Creek Middle School Honors Band concert program, 22 December 2017


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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