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Shenandoah (arr Thomas)

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Omar Thomas

Traditional, arranged by Omar Thomas

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 7:15
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Folksong
Publisher: Omar Thomas
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $125.00   |   Score Only (print) - $35.00


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 I-II
F Horn I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbals (2; with and without sizzler)
  • Vibraphone

Players snapping fingers


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Shenandoah is one of the most well-known and beloved Americana folk songs. Originally a river song detailing the lives and journeys of fur traders canoeing down the Missouri River, the symbolism of this culturally significant melody has been expanded to include its geographic namesake -- an area of the eastern United States that encompasses West Virginia and a good portion of the western part of Virginia -- and various parks, rivers, counties, and academic institutions found within.

Back in May of 2018, after hearing a really lovely duo arrangement of Shenandoah while adjudicating a music competition in Minneapolis, I asked myself, after hearing so many versions of this iconic and historic song, how would I set it differently? I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it, and before I realized it, I had composed and assembled just about all of this arrangement in my head by assigning bass notes to the melody and filling in the harmony in my head afterwards. I would intermittently check myself on the piano to make sure what I was imagining worked, and ended up changing almost nothing at all from what I’d heard in my mind’s ear.

This arrangement recalls the beauty of Shenandoah Valley, not bathed in golden sunlight, but blanketed by low-hanging clouds and experiencing intermittent periods of heavy rainfall (created with a combination of percussion textures, generated both on instruments and from the body). There are a few musical moments where the sun attempts to pierce through the clouds, but ultimately the rains win out. This arrangement of Shenandoah is at times mysterious, somewhat ominous, constantly introspective, and deeply soulful.

- Program Note from Omar Thomas

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Blythewood (S.C.) High School Wind Symphony (Quintus Wrighten, conductor) - 18 March 2020
  • California State University, Los Angeles Wind Ensemble (Emily Moss, conductor) – 13 March 2020
  • West Virginia University (Morgantown) Wind Symphony (Scott C. Tobias, conductor) – 9 March 2020
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Winds (Gabriela Gomez-Estevez, conductor) – 3 March 2020
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Concert Band (Daniel J. Farris, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • University of Texas (Austin) Texas Concert Band (Trey Lockett, conductor) – 1 March 2020
  • Western High School (Russellville, Ind.) Concert Band (Brian Caldwell, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony I (Curran Prendergast, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) University Band (Lance Sample, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) Concert Band (Tyler Austin, conductor) – 25 February 2020
  • The Crane Wind Ensemble (Potsdam, N.Y.) (Brian Doyle, conductor) – 22 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Eastern Division Conference, Philadelphia, Penn.)
  • James Logan High School (Union City, Calif.) Wind Symphony (Adam Wilke, conductor) - 21 February 2020 (2020 CASMEC Conference, Fresno)
  • University of Texas Arlington Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) – 21 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southwestern Division Conference, Norman, Okla.)
  • Texas Woman’s University (Denton) Wind Symphony (Carter Biggers, conductor) – 19 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southwestern Division Conference, Norman, Okla.)
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert Band (Corey Pompey, conductor) – 18 February 2020
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, University Band (Cole Hairston, conductor) – 18 February 2020
  • Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, O.) 11-12 High School Honor Band (Elizabeth Peterson, conductor) – 15 February 2020
  • Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Symphony (Caroline Hand, conductor) – 8 February 2020
  • Western Carolina University (Cullowhee, N.C.) Wind Ensemble (Margaret Underwood, conductor) – 8 February 2020
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Ensemble (Andrea Brown, conductor) – 3 May 2019 *Premiere Performance*

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