Magnolia Star

From Wind Repertory Project
Steve Danyew

Steve Danyew

General Info

Year: 2012
Duration: c. 6:15
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Steve Danyew
Cost: Score and Parts - $199.00   |   Score Only - $60.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II-III
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone I-II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bell Tree
  • Bongos
  • Chimes
  • Conga
  • Crotales
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle
  • Whistle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Magnolia Star was a train that ran from New Orleans to Chicago with the famous Panama Limited in the mid-20th century. This work evokes train travel with driving rhythms and train-like sonorities, and also uses the blues scale.

- Program Note from publisher

When I was playing saxophone in my middle school jazz band, we started every rehearsal the same way –- with an improvisation exercise that our director created. It was a simple yet brilliant exercise for teaching beginning improvisation and allowing everyone in the band a chance to “solo.” As a warm-up at the opening of each rehearsal, the whole band played the blues scale ascending, resting for one measure, descending, and resting for another measure. During the measures of rest, each member of the band took turns improvising a solo. Looking back, this exercise not only got the band swinging together from the start of rehearsal, but it made improvisation, a daunting musical task to many, seem within everyone’s abilities.

This experience was my introduction to the blues scale, and I have long wanted to write a piece inspired by this group of pitches. In Magnolia Star, I explore various ways to use these pitches in harmonies, melodies, and timbres, creating a diverse set of ideas that will go beyond sounds that we typically associate with the blues scale. I didn’t want to create a “blues” piece, but rather a piece in my own musical voice that uses and pays homage to the blues scale. Nearly all of the pitches used in Magnolia Star fit into the concert C blues scale. It is interesting to note that embedded within the C blues scale are both a C minor triad, an E-flat minor triad, and an E-flat major triad. I explore the alternation of these tonal areas right from the start of the piece, and continue to employ them in different ways throughout the entire work.

Another influence was trains and the American railroad. The railroad not only provides some intriguing sonic ideas, with driving rhythms and train-like sonorities, but it was also an integral part of the growth of jazz and blues in America. In the late 19th century, the Illinois Central Railroad constructed rail lines that stretched from New Orleans and the “Delta South” all the way north to Chicago. Many Southern musicians traveled north via the railroad, bringing “delta blues” and other idioms to northern parts of the country. The railroad was also the inspiration for countless blues songs by a wide variety of artists. Simply put, the railroad was crucial to the dissemination of jazz and blues in the early 20th century. Magnolia Star was an Illinois Central train that ran from New Orleans to Chicago with the famous Panama Limited in the mid-20th century.

- Program Note by composer



State Ratings

  • Texas: IV. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) Band (Peter Haberman, conductor) - 12 February 2023
  • Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) Concert Band (Cory Near, conductor) - 11 November 2022
  • University of New Mexico (Albuquerque) Symphonic Band (Brett Penshorn, conductor) - 3 October 2022
  • Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond) Wind Symphony (Robert M. Schwartz, conductor) - 5 May 2022
  • University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls) Wind Ensemble (Danny Galyen, conductor) - 12 April 2022
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mason St. Pierre, conductor) - 1 December 2021
  • University of California, Los Angeles, Symphonic Band (Travis J. Cross, conductor) – 10 March 2020
  • Perrysburg (Ohio) High School Wind Ensemble (Scott Schleuter, conductor) - 9 March 2020
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Symphonic Band (Isaiah Odajima, conductor) – 2 March 2020
  • Loveland (Colo.) High School Concert Band (Kyle Freesen, conductor) – 2 March 2020
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert Band (Corey Pompey, conductor) – 18 February 2020
  • Southern Adventist University (Collegedale, Tenn.) Wind Symphony (Doug Penner, conductor) – 15 February 2020
  • Texas All-State Concert Band (Robert Ambrose, conductor) - 15 February 2020 (2020 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) Symphonic Band (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) - 15 February 2020 (2020 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Lakeview High School Wind Ensemble (Hilary Patriok, conductor) - 25 January 2020 (Severance Hall, Cleveland)
  • Lakota West High School (West Chester, Ohio) Symphonic Winds (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) – 23 January 2020
  • University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Wind Symphony (Michael Butler, conductor) – 12 December 2019
  • Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Symphony Band (Chris Chapman, conductor) – 3 December 2019
  • Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster, Penn.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Brian Norcross, conductor) – 8 November 2019
  • NorthWinds Symphonic Band (Kansas City, Mo.) (John Bell, conductor) - 5 May 2019
  • University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Man., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Jacquie Dawson, conductor) - October 13, 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Belongia, Daniel A. "Magnolia Star." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 731-738. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.
  • Steve Danyew website