Program Notes

Celebration Overture was commissioned by the Thomas S. Hart Middle School Band of Pleasanton, California, Dennis Aquilina, Director, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Hart Middle School. It was premiered by the ensemble at Carnegie Hall in April 2015.

Director Aquilina desired a piece for a middle school ensemble that could open a concert and conveyed a strong energy and spirit. It takes inspiration from Glinka’s Russlan and Ludmilla Overture (1842), as well as Shostakovich’s Festive Overture (1954), featuring a similar structure and the same lively tempos and melodic style contained in those two pieces.

Presented in Eb major, the overture begins with a fanfare, followed by the first melody introduced by solo alto saxophone. The winds take up this melody and the piece reaches a short climax in the middle. A lyrical second melody suddenly appears, although the tempo remains quick. The fanfare returns and leads to a rousing coda. The piece is developed using conventional classical devices of form, harmony, counterpoint, and melodic motives in inversion.

Performance by the Ronald Reagan High School (TX) Wind Ensemble.


Flute 1 & 2
Bb Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone 1 & 2
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3
F Horn 1, & 2
Trombone 1 & 2
String Bass

6 Percussion:


Percussion 1:
Bells, Vibraphone (share w/Perc. 2 & 5), Triangle (share w/other players)


Percussion 2:
Chimes, Vibraphone (share w/Perc. 1& 5), Marimba, Xylophone


Percussion 3:
Snare Drum, Triangle (share w/other players), 2 Tom toms


Percussion 4:
Bass Drum, Triangle (share w/other players), Tambourine


Percussion 5:
Crash Cymbals, Tambourine, Suspended Cymbal, Vibraphone (use Perc. 2’s)

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