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Topic: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

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  1. #1

    West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    In 2001 I was asked to write the Alma Mater to West Stokes High School in King, North Carolina. In 2011 I redid the chords and added more percussion. Now just for fun I wanted to hear the song how it sounds with Garritan. I've heard this piece performed during football games, pep rallies, and graduations but never quite like this. Well, here we go.
    ~Rodney

    Samples used, GPO: flute solo, modern oboe solo 1, English horn solo 1, bassoon 1 solo, clarinet solo, clarinet player 1, Eb clarinet solo, contrabass clarinet solo, horn overlay ff, sam f horn section, trumpet solo 1, trumpet 1 player 1, sam trumpet section, trombone solo, sam trombone section, tuba solo 2, cymbals, bass drum, timpani, percussion toys, and tubular bells.

    Garritan sounds for Finale: flute section, euphonium section, VDlite tenorline, bassline, and snareline.

    IO: Orch. Percussion set 2.

  2. #2

    Re: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    It's a really nice arrangement you did for their Alma Mater, Rodney.

    You said you'd never heard it quite like this - When you were working on it in Finale, weren't you hearing it play back like this with Garritan sounds--?

    The recording has that Finale rendering sound, muted, sedate and with limited dynamics, but it sounds fine really.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    It's a really nice arrangement you did for their Alma Mater, Rodney.

    You said you'd never heard it quite like this - When you were working on it in Finale, weren't you hearing it play back like this with Garritan sounds--?

    The recording has that Finale rendering sound, muted, sedate and with limited dynamics, but it sounds fine really.

    Randy
    Hey Randy,

    Thanks for listening. Of all the pieces I've ever written I am most proud of this little song because I am from the city in which the school was built. I know it sounds funny since it's just a simple hymn with simple words but I was deeply honored when they asked me back in 2001 to compose their Alma Mater. I would've went to this school but it was not built in time. I wrote their marching band music for 5 years and worked with the band during the summers also.

    Since hymns are so simple to harmonize, I did not need to hear the piece when I wrote it back in 2001. All you have to do is write a melody, write the words, come up with the harmony, write the bass part, write the alto and tenor lines, add the brass and woodwind parts, add a counter-melody, and augment with percussion. Nothing to it. You could do this all in your head. After I finished "Amazing Grace" I decided to quickly add the "Alma Mater" to the instruments already loaded and simply add more percussion so this was the first time I heard this piece with samples. I've heard it live plenty of times before both played and sung but never with Garritan.

    ~Rodney

  4. #4

    Re: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    What a rousing anthem! I was happy to hear the realization with Garritan. For some reason, a good number of the concert and marching band pieces that I have heard sound like they are being played on an organ, but this one really gave me the impression of the real thing.

    The kind of thing that could become a standard - shades of Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond?

    Very nice. Thanks for the listen.

    Owen
    __________________________________________________ _________________
    My website: www.tunespace.net

  5. #5

    Re: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    Quote Originally Posted by englishgent View Post
    What a rousing anthem! I was happy to hear the realization with Garritan. For some reason, a good number of the concert and marching band pieces that I have heard sound like they are being played on an organ, but this one really gave me the impression of the real thing.

    The kind of thing that could become a standard - shades of Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond?

    Very nice. Thanks for the listen.

    Owen
    My pleasure. Thanks for commenting! When I use Garritan for concert and marching band pieces I have a tendency to cheat to get past the organ sound. I will switch to the SAM brass samples that come with GPO4 in loud sections making the brass louder than the woodwinds. Plus in loud tutti sections I will take away instruments such as oboes and solo brass instruments. I will mix other woodwinds to get saxophone sounds instead of using saxophone samples. That's just some of the stuff I do to cheat the sound.

    Oh yes, I can hear shades of "Loch Lomond" in there also. Celtic music always makes me think of home so I wanted to incorporate that sound in the melody avoiding 4th and 7th scale degrees.
    ~Rodney

  6. #6

    Re: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    ...I did not need to hear the piece when I wrote it back in 2001. All you have to do is write a melody, write the words, come up with the harmony, write the bass part, write the alto and tenor lines, add the brass and woodwind parts, add a counter-melody, and augment with percussion. Nothing to it. You could do this all in your head...
    hehe--well, no, Rodney, I couldn't do it all in my head. Speak for yourself! I have to hear what I'm working on out loud, vibrating in the air, even if I'm just tooting on my Melodica as I've done on occasion.

    Thanks for the reply - Interesting stuff! Back 12 years ago when you wrote this was before you were using Finale - pen and staff paper, ah yes, I've heard my grandad talk about those good ol' days of yore.

    Randy

  7. #7

    Re: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    My pleasure. Thanks for commenting! When I use Garritan for concert and marching band pieces I have a tendency to cheat to get past the organ sound. I will switch to the SAM brass samples that come with GPO4 in loud sections making the brass louder than the woodwinds. Plus in loud tutti sections I will take away instruments such as oboes and solo brass instruments. I will mix other woodwinds to get saxophone sounds instead of using saxophone samples. That's just some of the stuff I do to cheat the sound.

    Oh yes, I can hear shades of "Loch Lomond" in there also. Celtic music always makes me think of home so I wanted to incorporate that sound in the melody avoiding 4th and 7th scale degrees.
    ~Rodney
    That's interesting. Thanks for sharing some of your tricks! When CAMB first came out, I was hugely excited to get a copy, but have yet to hear a demo that makes me think it's worth $150. It's the only Garritan library that has disappointed me. Nice to hear that there are ways! I love the SAM brass samples for loud sections myself.

    "Celtic music always makes me think of home" - that's such a good description! In my case, literally true since I lived for 8 years in Scotland. It certainly does have a sound that creates a warm, tingly nostalgic sensation. Perhaps why St. Patrick's day seems to be more popular in the USA than it is in Ireland! As my (Scottish) piano teacher once said, "Brings a tear to a glass eye!"
    __________________________________________________ _________________
    My website: www.tunespace.net

  8. #8

    Re: West Stokes Alma Mater for Marching Band

    very emotional crescendo with variations in the second part, I loved it: didn't know it's a popular song in USA, it's not in the musical tradition of my country.

    That's why I love the global community we are...

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