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Nights in Tobago


Genre: Band
# of Players: Standard
Level: 5 | Duration: 9:34
Publisher: C. Alan Publications | Copyright: 2012

Download mp3 | Click on images to left for score sample

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Notes & Instrumentation
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  • Notes & Instrumentation

    Drawing inspiration from a poem titled "Calypso," Gillingham perfectly captures the excitement, danger, & celebrations one might encounter while visiting the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. You'll even hear echoes of a calypso band, complete with a steel drum.

    Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
    Level: 5 | Duration: 9:34

    Flute 1
    Flute 2
    Oboe 1/2
    English Horn
    B-flat Clarinet 1
    B-flat Clarinet 2
    B-flat Clarinet 3
    B-flat Bass Clarinet
    Alto Saxophone 1/2
    Tenor Saxophone
    Baritone Saxophone

    B-flat Trumpet 1
    B-flat Trumpet 2
    B-flat Trumpet 3
    F Horn 1/2
    F Horn 3/4
    Trombone 1
    Trombone 2
    Bass Trombone
    Baritone T.C.

    Timpani (4 drums)
    Percussion 1 (crotales, bells, suspended cymbal)
    Percussion 2 (xylophone, vibraphone)
    Percussion 3 (vibraphone, lead steel pan, slapstick, crash cymbals, 3 cowbells)
    Percussion 4 (5-octave marimba, shekere, large tam-tam, 3 brake drums)
    Percussion 5 (5-octave marimba, 3 brake drums, concert bass drum, 2 small bass drums)
    Percussion 6 (2 small bass drums, 4 concert toms, cowbell w/ foot pedal, 2 congas, bongos, ribbon crasher)

    *Duplicate instruments are shared.

    Program Notes
    Nights in Tobago was commissioned in honor of Dr. Larry Snider, Professor of Percussion at the University of Akron. Dr. Snider has been the director of the famed University of Akron Steel Drum Band since 1980.

    Trinidad and Tobago are the two islands that make up the Caribbean Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Both islands are popular venues for tourists. Caribbean music flourishes on both islands and one can hear many local calypso-type bands with steel drums. This work has been partially inspired by the imagined nightlife on the two islands as well as Kamau Brathwaite's poem, "Calypso," from which I extracted the following stanza:

    Steel drum steel drum
    hit the hot calypso dancing
    hot rum hot rum
    who goin' stop this bacchanalling?

    The piece is divided into three sections and is based solely on the melodic material taken from the Caribbean folk song, "Tingalayo" (little donkey). The first section eludes to the rhythms of the steel drum bands indicative of the islands and builds in texture, volume and tempo as the "night life" begins to develop. Ensuing, is a break from the exciting rhythms and music of the steel drums suggesting a quiet walk along the picturesque beachfront. This, however, is interrupted by sinister, violent bursts of percussive dissonance during what began as a wonderful night on the island. Fortunately, the bad is offset by a return to the celebratory sounds of the night with the steel drum again singing the "Tingalayo" tune leading to a spectacular conclusion.

  • Video

    • Nights in Tobago

      ** Please note the change in credit below regarding the composer of this work. I apologize for any inconvenience this has created. Featuring Caribbean rhythms as well as both steel and field drums, David Gillingham's "Nights in Tobago" was originally composed for the University of Akron Symphonic Band. This performance was part of George Edge's final concert as Director of Bands at Grove City (OH) High School. Recorded May 15, 2014 at Grove City HS.
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