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Chorale and Shaker Dance II

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John Zdechlik

John Zdechlik

General Info

Year: 1989
Duration: c. 8:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Neil A. Kjos
Cost: Score and Parts - $65.00   |   Score Only - $7.00


Full Score
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/Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Chorale and Shaker Dance II is made up of two main ideas. The first is the simple melody found in the opening Chorale. The second melodic idea is the melody from the well-known Shaker hymn, The Gift to Be Simple.

- Program Note by John Zdechlik

The first John Zdechlik Chorale and Shaker Dance, composed in 1971, became a staple of the Grade 4 concert band repertoire. In 1989, Zdechlik decided to create a slightly more modest version of the piece, accessible to high school bands as well as more advanced junior high bands. Since its publication, Chorale and Shaker Dance II has become a favorite with young bands and their directors.

This “big” work for young band is a theme and variations, actually based on two themes. The first theme is a simple, original tune used in the opening chorale. Almost immediately, Zdechlik introduces the next theme, the Shaker dance melody Simple Gifts. Low winds hint at the Shaker melody, then high woodwinds and orchestral bells give way to large brass blocks alternating with high woodwinds.

Following the chorale section, the tempo revs up with a timpani roll and solo alto sax. Zdechlik creates a tour-de-force, full of imaginative variants in melody, harmony, and rhythm. Soloists and small groups play fragments, melodies are interspersed and augmented, then diminished again, and energy builds as bursts of percussion and brass cut through long, linear phrases. The Shaker melody is traded between various instrument groupings.

A cut-time section develops into a more tranquil feel, which leads into “the slow part,” which is not exactly tranquil, but perhaps a bit foreboding. Fresh harmonies abound behind the fragmented Shaker melody. Brass introduces an ascending minor third interval, along with eighth-note triplets. The triplet rhythm continues, intervals getting larger, until finally concluded with the trumpets playing the last questioning triplets, and we are led into a recap of the fast section of the piece.

Again, a timpani roll announces the brisk tempo, and the familiar alto sax, flute, and clarinet fragments make their reappearance. This section builds quickly with recognizable patterns and sequences, but this time, with new developments in the harmonic and melodic workings of the main themes. A feeling of anticipation is created as energy builds with each new addition and familiar refrain.

Finally, in a flurry of rapid trills and powerful statements of the Shaker tune, fragmented as they are, we come to the conclusion of this wonderful piece of concert band music. A timpani solo grows ever slower and slower, until the final chord rings, held out for as long as the band can continue to make a beautiful sound.

- Program Note by Nancy Moser for the Joaquin Miller Middle School Advanced Band concert program, 21 February 2015


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class B
  • Georgia: IV
  • Kansas: III
  • Louisiana: III
  • Maryland: IV
  • Michigan: Junior High AA
  • Michigan: Senior High C
  • Minnesota: III
  • Mississippi: III-A
  • North Carolina: IV
  • South Carolina: III
  • Virginia: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Zdechlik, J. (1989). Chorale and Shaker Dance II [score]. Kjos: San Diego, Calif.