Day on the Prairie is a fun, programmatic, three-movement work depicting a working cowboy’s day from sunup to sundown. Written for advanced bands, the piece will make you feel as if you are on the open range!
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 4.5 | Duration: 10:00 total
Alto Saxophone 1
Alto Saxophone 2
F Horn 1
F Horn 2
F Horn 3
Timpani (4 drums)
Mallet Percussion (Bells, Chimes, Xylophone)
Percussion 1/2 (Rainstick, Wind Chimes, Suspended Cymbal, Whip, Crash Cymbals, Hi-Hat, Triangle)
Percussion 3 (Snare Drum, Maracas)
Percussion 4 (Tenor Drum, Temple Blocks)
Percussion 5 (Bass Drum, Cowbell, Kick Drum)
"Sunrise and Giddyup" begins with some soft, beautiful sounds that gradually build to a bright, sunny start to the day, representing the cowboy’s early rise and shine on a beautiful western landscape. The tune quickly morphs into a western theme, which symbolizes the cowboy mounting his horse and commencing his long, hard day of work.
"Cowpoke At High Noon" captures the hot desert prairie in the heat of the day with the slower tempo depicting the cowboy riding a horse slowly in the hot sun. The bluesy main motive is stated first by the horns with low brass and percussion accompaniment. The movement builds to include everyone in a fortissimo section, which may bring to mind the cowboy chasing after an errant calf or yelling to keep his herd together and on the move. The movement ends as the cowboy and herd fade off into the distant horizon on this dusty day (to the sound of a rattlesnake!).
"Barn Dance And Sunset" is an up-tempo movement that leaves the working day behind, beginning with a barn dance based on the folk tune, “Black Mountain Rag.” The cowboy has his fun at the dance while the piece transitions into a return of the bluesy melody from Movement II. It eventually slows to a beautiful, wistful sunset as the dance fades in the distance and then returns to the original western theme, but at a more reflective tempo. Day On A Prairie comes to a majestic finish with the band passing around the main theme and playing big sky chords, all with the support of the entire percussion section. ``As the sun goes down on this vast, open plain, we reflect that today was another beautiful day on the prairie for the hard-working cowboy!