Selections from "Suite of Old American Dances"

From Wind Repertory Project
Robert Russell Bennett

Robert Russell Bennett (setting. James Curnow)

General Info

Year: 1950 / 2005
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $75.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


1. Western One-Step - 1:30
2. Wallflower Waltz - 3:00
3. Cakewalk - 1:45

N.B. The three movements may be published and available separately.


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute (div.)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
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
Tuba (String Bass)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone (optional)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Carefully adapted from the original classic, this edition is designed for younger players. Three of the original five movements: Western One-Step; Wallflower Rag and Cakewalk are featured in this new setting.

- Program Note from publisher

Suite of Old American Dances was inspired after the composer heard a performance by the Goldman Band in 1948. The original title was Electric Park, an amusement park Bennett went to while growing up in Kansas City. Each movement of the work is based on a dance from the beginning of the 20th Century.

Suite of Old American Dances demonstrates that folk music can be both entertaining for listeners and musically substantive for performers. This rhythmically challenging piece is suitable for both high school and university ensembles, and select movements can work well for strong honor bands. Extended syncopated lines, frequently disjunct melodies, and parallel ninth and eleventh chords give this piece a ragtime sensibility that audiences generally enjoy.

- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band

The Cakewalk dance originated on the Southern plantations, where slaves often imitated their plantation owners. The dance of “strut” was danced to jig-like banjo/fiddle music, usually done by a couple who, with a backward sway, strutted in a medium high step or low kicking fashion. Plantation owners would encourage their workers by presenting prizes for the best couples. The prize was often a cake, usually shared with the other participants. The men would often dress in long coats with high collars and the women in frilly gowns, to mimic their owners.

The Western One Step included in the Suite of Old American Dances, is a somewhat misleading title. As Frederick Fennell points out, “The composer informed me that this is also a dance known as the Texas Tommy, an obviously bright-eyed tune with an equally bright-eyed tempo.” Little is known about the Texas Tommy, one of the obsolete forms of the one-step. This dance, from the early 20th century, is believed to have originated in brothels and saloons, where ladies of the evening were known as “tommies.” There is a record of the Texas Tommy appearing in the New York Lafayette Theatre production of Darktown Follies in 1913.

Although the beginning of the 20th century represented a new cultural era, replete with new dance steps, the time-honored tradition of the Wallflower Waltz still reigned as king of the ballroom dance scene.

- Program Note by Edward Higgins


State Ratings

  • Michigan: Senior High C


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Works for Winds by This Composer