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

Jon Burr is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, bandleader, bassist, and educator from Yonkers, NY.. and a Finale user since 1996. As owner/operator of Arranger for Hire, he serves music arranging and production customers from around the world. A veteran touring bassist, his performance credits include Tony Bennett, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Eartha Kitt, Rita Moreno, The Hot Swing Trio, Stephane Grappelli and many others. Arranging customers have included the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Chilean Astronomy Society, The Milpitas Community Concert Band, The Honey Taps, The Montclair Kimberly Academy’s annual musical, and many others. He writes for and leads his own ensembles, including the Jon Burr Quintet. His arrangements for Swedish YouTube artist Kim Andersson have received over 5 million views on Facebook and YouTube.

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