Based on the events of the annual AuSable River Festival, this work musically depicts the festival parade, then the grandeur of the river with the relaxing "river theme". The river theme is interrupted by the Canoe Marathon with its continuous 16th note passages and bass drum "explosion" signaling the beginning of the race. The winners are celebrated before the rousing coda.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4 | Duration: 8:20
Bb Clarinet 1
Bb Clarinet 2/3
Eb Contralto Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Bb Trumpet 1
Bb Trumpet 2/3
Timpani (4 drums)
Percussion 1 (tambourine, chimes, bells, temple blocks)
Percussion 2 (xylophone, vibraphone, crash cymbals)
Percussion 3 (marimba, snare drum, hi-hat, claves)
Percussion 4 (3 tom-toms, bass drum, tam-tam, brake drum, suspended cymbal)
AuSable River Festival seeks to musically depict the events and the excitement of the annual Festival by the same name held in Grayling, Michigan. The Festival is also inclusive of the famous Canoe Marathon, which begins in Grayling on the AuSable River and goes eastward, ending in Osada.
The work begins with the excitement of the festival and parade. The "festival theme" is constructed on an Eb pentatonic scale, which seems to reflect the "open air" ambience of northern Michigan. The duple meter changes to compound duple, suggesting a parade and then returns to the activity of the festival. All of this excitement concludes and segues into a much more calm Ab major and the "river theme" emerges. Again using the resource of the pentatonic scale, the river theme reflects the grandeur of this river and suggests festival participants enjoying relaxing boat rides down its graceful and flowing currents. Following, the river theme is interrupted by the preparation for the great Canoe Marathon by continuous sixteenths in the xylophone and trumpets. The fuse of the cannon is lit ("sss" sound) and the subsequent explosion (bass drum) signals the beginning of the race. The "race theme" is a derivative of the festival theme, but is much more agitated suggesting the excitement and commotion of the event. Underneath the agitation, the river theme emerges. Interrupting the race is a chromatic motive heard in the tuba and low woodwinds, which is an attempt to emulate the so-called "feeders" who bring food and water out to the racers at selected points of the race route. The race concludes with three disctinct articulations of a Bb major chord. A slow, grandioso fanfare in the brass ensues to suggest the ceremony for the winners. A rousing coda follows alluding to celebration and festivity.