Canadian Train Ride (2014)
for Concert Band (Fl/Cl/Alto Sax/Tpt/Tbn/4Perc)
commissioned by Alan Danahy
Written for Alan Danahy and the C.C. Pinckney Elementary School Band in Columbia, South Carolina, this piece presented me with the challenge of creating age-appropriate music for a non-standard collection of instruments.
The request was for a crowd-pleaser with the potential for integrated arts education. Canadian Train Ride references Canadian geography and quotes national tunes Land of the Silver Birch and O Canada - plenty of fodder for young inquiring minds.
In a few senses, the players actually get to drive the train. Rich with driving rhythmic forces, players are definitely taken on a ride. And taking full advantage of Michael's skill with interactive music, the piece begins with the band (and the audience) chanting "chooga-chugga," speeding up the train as it heads off across Canada!