Arctic Wars

From Wind Repertory Project
Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages

Subtitle: Rise of the Penguin Army

General Info

Year: 2020
Duration: c. 2:44
Difficulty: I (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $45.00   |   Score Only (print) - $6.00


Full Score
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tom-Toms (medium)
  • Wood Block


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

For my son's fifth grade year, I decided I wanted to write a piece for his band to play at their spring concert. Their mascot is PJ ,the Penguin. I decided to ask the students to all write a short description of their thoughts on the subject matter of the piece. A lot of responses included elements of war and battles, some included thoughts about looking back on their years in elementary school, and of course some included thoughts on a food fight (my own son failed me when he wrote about "hot dog vs. pizza").

In reading al the ideas, it struck me that I was able to combine several concepts into one. Thus, Arctic Wars was born. The title implies power, strength, and might. What particularly strikes me. though. is the subtitle. The way I view it, every student who graduates from Pinewood Elementary becomes part of an ever-increasing penguin army. These are the students who someday will take on the world. They will be innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, leaders, doctors, and more. This is the best type of growing army I can possibly imagine, and is exactly what I want these kids to consider as they graduate. There will certainly be many battles ahead, but with an incredible education and involvement in the arts, nothing is insurmountable for our students as they look to the future.

Arctic Wars was written for Pinewood Elementary School 5th Grade Band in Timonium, Md., Karen Seward, director (and friend).

- Program Note by composer

Dark harmonies create a menacing atmosphere in the opening of this engaging work. As the pace quickens, powerful themes combine with aggressive rhythmic lines, layered with ominous motives throughout. An amazing combination of heroism, uncertainty, and uplifting peaks, this highly imaginative work has it all.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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