Concert Band Arranging Case Study

We heard from David Di Salvo, representing the Milpitas, CA Community Concert Band, with an offer of commission to do an arrangement of “Hot Cross Buns” as a piece within a food-themed program.
In response to his request for some program notes regarding this arrangement, I replied with the following:

When David Di Salvo contacted me about this assignment, my first reaction was “Food! Great!” My second reaction was “wait, it’s a 4-bar tune! What the heck am I gonna do with that?” so I thought about Beethoven and what he did with just 4 notes… (“bum bum bum baaaaam”)… then I said to myself “Wait, what am I complaining about? This is a job here!!”
So, in the spirit of the occasion, I went for the fun of it, and tried some different things in different styles, made some pencil sketches sitting at the piano, and ended up with this kaleidoscopic little mini-suite! I hope it’s as fun for you as it was for me in the writing!
The styles in the piece are:
  • Fife and Drum March
  • Brass Chorale
  • Comedy March
  • Woodwind Fantasy Transition
  • Ballad
  • Fugue
  • Gospel
  • Coda into the Big Finish

Here it is!

About Jon Burr

Staff Arranger Jon Burr is also the site administrator for

Active as a bassist, composer, and arranger since the beginning of his career, Jon's work has appeared on recordings by Chet Baker, Sir Roland Hanna, Mark O'Connor, Barry Miles, Arlyn Valencia, and many others. As a bassist he's performed or recorded with Tony Bennett, Stan Getz, Horace Silver, Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor, Rita Moreno, Barbara Cook, Eartha Kitt, and many others.

Jon writes in a variety of styles, ensembles large and small, with experience in many instrumental configurations. You can hear his work on his websites and Jon Burr Quintet, and is receiving rave reviews from Arranger for Hire customers. His arranging reel is available on request (email us on using the site form). He also writes about cooking at The Improvising Chef.

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