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Shenandoah (arr Thomas)

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Omar Thomas

Traditional, arranged by Omar Thomas

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 7:45
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
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbals (4; 2 with 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 by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Cornell College (Mt. Vernon, IA) Wind Ensemble (Joshua W. Neuenschwander, conductor) - 29 April 2023
  • East Tennessee State University (Johnson City) Concert Band (Reilly Fox, conductor) - 18 April 2023
  • University of West Alabama (Livingston) High School Honor Band (Tyler Strickland, Conductor) - 8 April 2023
  • Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) Dorian Band Festival Symphonic Band (Cory Near, conductor) - 27 February 2023
  • University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Wind Symphony (Jeffrey Summers, conductor) — 23 February 2023
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Jason Gardner, conductor) - 26 March 2023
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) - 7 February 2023
  • University of Toronto (Ont., Can.) Wind Symphony (Pratik Gandhi, conductor) – 3 February 2023
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Sarah McKoin, conductor) - 17 November 2022
  • Sinclair Community College (Dayton, Ohio) Concert Band (Michael Berning, conductor) - 13 November 2022
  • Cleveland (Ohio) State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Birch Browning, conductor) – 4 October 2022
  • Cuesta Wind Ensemble (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (Jennifer Martin, conductor) – 11 May 2022
  • Clovis (Calif.) West High School Wind Symphony (Bryan Chesi, conductor) – 22 April 2022 (2022 San Joaquin Valley (Calif.) Concert Band Invitational)
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) Concert Band (Tyler Strickland, conductor) - 6 April 2022
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Elizabeth Peterson, conductor) - 3 March 2022 (87th Annual ABA National Convention)
  • Rutgers University (New Brunswick, N.J.) Symphonic Winds (Todd Nichols, conductor) - 25 February 2022
  • 2022 Eastern Division Intercollegiate Band (Baltimore, Md.) (Caroline Barber, conductor) – 19 February 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Eastern Conference, Baltimore, Md.)
  • Texas 5A Symphonic Band (Damon Talley, conductor) - 12 February 2022 (2022 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • University of Maryland (College Park) Wind Ensemble (Andrea Brown, conductor) – 3 May 2019 *Premiere Performance*

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