Composed 2009 for Concert Band, adapted 2018 for Marching Band
The House on the Hill was premiered on May 12, 2009 by the Fillmore Central High School Concert Band. It was rewritten in 2018 for marching band.
Meizhou Bao was the first product of the Symphonic Composition Project. As I was looking over the students’ work, I found one that had written some of her excerpts in 3/4 and others in 4/4. None sounded great on their own, but I combined a couple measures from different exercises she wrote and got the main melody for Meizhou Bao. Once I had that main statement, the rest of the song came quickly. The students voted on the title of the piece, and ended on this one, which means “panther” in Mandarin. I’ve since learned that it is also the name of a Chinese tugboat and a Chinese action movie.
On and off for the next seven years I toyed with the idea of adapting the piece for the field. Of course, 7/4 is not a common time signature for marching band, so it took a lot of careful adapting to make the piece work more easily outside, including breaking it into three movements. There are still several uses of 7/4 in the show, and the second movement is slowed to add contrast. Fortunately my students were up to the challenges of the music and the marching, and the end of the second movement became a pep band favorite.
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