12 of the Best New Concert Band Arrangements

12 Concert Band Arrangements

This blog comes courtesy of Hal Leonard's director of band publications, Michael Sweeney.

There is no question that the past two years have been particularly hard on school music programs - teachers and students alike. Although valiant efforts were made with virtual settings and distant learning, the most important benefits and rewards of playing music include being part of a group of fellow musicians in person. So you can imagine the excitement (and relief) when music ensembles were again able to meet in a normal setting. Still, as a result of the pandemic, most programs lost numbers and are now playing at a level below what they were prior to the shutdown. It's a gradual process to rebuild these programs and make up for lost ground, but it's an exciting time as students are experiencing again the joys of playing music together.

All of this has affected our approach to publishing as we pivot towards what teachers need in these challenging situations. Music for flexible ensembles is even more important now, although it was valuable format for many schools even before the pandemic. We have also tried to provide a wide variety of styles, including serious works suitable for contest and festival, but also lighter and entertaining arrangements so necessary for keeping students motivated and excited about staying in music.

Our writers have all responded with a focus on music that is both educational and uplifting in nature, with a goal of motivating students and engaging them in the joy of making and sharing music with their peers.

Below is a sampling of some of our recent publications we are particularly excited about as we continue to look for ways to best serve students and educators.

Selections from Encanto

Lin-Manuel Miranda (arr. Paul Murtha)

Concert Band (Grade 3)

From Disney's blockbuster animated feature, here is a terrific medley for the concert stage featuring plenty of Latin excitement. Includes: "The Family Madrigal," "We Don't Talk About Bruno," "Dos Oruguitas," "Surface Pressure," and "Waiting on a Miracle."

Music from Loki

Natalie Holt (arr. Michael Brown)

Concert Band (Grade 3)

One of the hottest shows currently streaming is Loki which continues the ever expanding Marvel universe. Natalie Holt's memorable soundtrack is dramatic and engaging, and here is a powerful arrangement of the main themes for concert band.

Hymnsong from Mannin Veen

Haydn Wood (arr. Robert Longfield)

Concert Band (Grade 3)

Composed in 1933, Haydn Wood's classic work Mannin Veen: A Manx Tone Poem has remained a staple in the wind band repertoire, currently appearing on over 20 state festival lists. The opening segment of the work is based on the folk hymn "The Good Old Way." Robert Longfield has carefully adapted this stunning section as a stand-alone chorale scored for contemporary band instrumentation.

Waltz No. 2 (from Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra)

Dmitri Shostakovich (arr. Michael Brown)

Concert Band (Flex-Band)

This popular waltz melody from Shostakovich's Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra is well-known throughout the world and often used in TV and films. Here is a well paced version scored for flexible instrumentation.

(Risk) Everything for a Dream

Richard L. Saucedo

Concert Band (Flex-Band)

Adapted from his popular work for full band, Richard's beautiful and sensitive composition features a flowing lyric style that builds throughout to a dramatic and powerful conclusion.

Celtic Air and Dance

Michael Sweeney

Concert Band (Flex-Band)

Michael's popular setting of tuneful Irish melodies is available here in an easy flexible format using just 4 parts plus percussion. Ideal for small group settings.

Shakespeare Meets Godzilla (The Good Bard and the Ugly)

Robert Buckley

Concert Band (Grade 2)

This inventive and entertaining piece is a mash-up of two entirely different music styles - Renaissance music and classic horror music. Danger is afoot! Shakespeare, armed with only his quill, must stop an enormous creature from destroying his Globe Theatre. As in an epic film score, the music underpins and adds drama to the heroic tale. The effective orchestration and artful interplay between the two music styles gives this piece the colorful sound and intensity of a much more advanced piece.

Songs of the Sea

Johnnie Vinson

Concert Band (Grade 2)

Sea shanties have long been a source of tuneful melodies and rollicking rhythms. Johnnie's setting for band features a wide variety of styles and textures, and is a great choice for contest or festival. Included are traditional folk melodies from "The Drunken Sailor," "The Bonnie Ship the Diamond," "Rolling Down to Old Maui," and "Wellerman."

Never Gonna Give You Up

Rick Astley (arr. Matt Conaway)

Concert Band (Grade 2)

Recorded by Rick Astley in 1987, this familiar rock hit has remained popular due in part to its prank value! Whether you choose to "Rick-Roll" your audience or just play it for fun, this is guaranteed to bring a smile.

The Mandalorian (from Star Wars: The Mandalorian)

Ludwig Göransson (arr. Robert Longfield)

Concert Band (Grade 1)

Here is an easy arrangement of the powerful and gritty theme from this popular series. Written with modest ranges and no syncopation, this will come together quickly.

You'll Never Walk Alone

Rodgers & Hammerstein (arr. Michael Sweeney)

Concert Band (Grade 1)

Young players sometimes need a lyric piece with built-in emotional points and dynamic variety. This easy arrangement starts softly with just clarinets and F horn on the melody, then gradually builds to a powerful climax.

Curious Cobbler

Michael Oare

Concert Band (Grade 1)

Imagine a slightly confused cobbler and his workshop of curious tools and gadgets. Michael Oare's descriptive and clever work for beginning bands features a tuneful melody and special effects in the percussion section.

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