Hill Country preview

Thank in no small part to a blurb on The Texas Band Director Yellow Board, today has seen a record number of hits to the blog. (Nearly 1,000 unique visitors? In one day? Really? How the… ?) If every one of those visitors bought the piece, I could afford to move to Austin and buy this house. (Warning: if you click that link, you’ll be subjected to not just the virtual tour of the house, but of a synth recording of the Pachelbel Canon in D. ‘Cause what says classy like the Pachelbel Canon?)

A whole mess of people have clicked the preview file that shows “the tune” of the Grade 3 piece I just finished. Rather than have people think that silly piano sketch never got any more interesting, here’s a PDF of the orchestrated version of the tune.

In case you need a percussion key, the percussion scoring is:
Player 1: Timpani, tuned to F, C, Eb, Gb
Player 2: Xylophone and vibraphone
Player 3: Marimba and four tom-toms
Player 4: 3 cymbals (large suspended cymbal, China, and splash cymbal)
Player 5: Tambourine and crotales
Player 6: Tam-tam (struck only with metal triangle beaters, and muted) and 2 maracas
Player 7: Bass drum

If a band doesn’t have enough players, things could be re-shuffled to omit the tam-tam part, and another player would have to cover the maraca part that happens mid-way through the piece. (That maraca part is easy enough that a wind player could cover it, and many of the wind players don’t play in that maraca section anyway. Can you do that? Say, Clarinet 3 doubling on maracas?) Originally, there wasn’t going to be a timpani part, but Chuck Fischer, one of the directors at Hill Country Middle School, specifically requested that I add one. I’m glad I did, as it’s pretty crucial once the piece gets to the big percussion section break.

The other optional instruments are the Eb contrabass clarinet and the double bass. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ll probably cue the oboe parts elsewhere throughout, just to be safe. Keep in mind, before you email me with “middle school kids can’t do this” complaints, that although it’s commissioned by a middle school band, this group has the ability of a high school group.

I’m done for today. I really just want to go take pictures of stuff, but my camera gear is all in the shop being calibrated. When I dropped off the gear — and I took the body and three of my lenses — the woman at Canon asked me what kind of shooting I did. “Are you a wedding photographer?” “Uh, no, I’m a composer. I take pictures of concerts and… food.” “This is some insane gear for a non-pro,” she said.

Again, your band booster dollars at work.


clumpton says

Move to Austin, I make great Mexican Martinis.

-chuck fischer

Brooks says

Hey! Im Brooks, and I play percussion in the Hill Country Middle School Symphonic Band, even as I type this I am listening to the awesome Midi mp3. This has to be the fifth time I have listened to it, I just wanted to say thank you very much for doing this for our school. It is such an amazing song. And GREAT percussion parts! It is so incredible. I just cant wait to preform this infront of a live audiance, I am so exited I just cant wait!
again,Thank you so much.


alex says

YA!!! I agree with brooks. I play the oboe and it sounds like it will be fun to play that middle section. Thank you so much for writing this peice for us. You are a great composer and I am glad you are writing a peice for us.

Sharon says

Hey, I've read your blog for some months now. (So funny about the yellow board thing....)I'm in Austin, UT grad and band director on "hiatus" while home with our little kids. I lamented being out of the loop on new music, university scene, etc and enjoy your blog for a taste of that. And I love the food photos.
When does Hill Country premier your piece?
(I've never had one of Chuck's martinis......but I'm sure they're good.)

Adam says

Hey I love the piece and I can't wait to play it. I am also in the Symphonic Band, but I play the tuba. We all got together in band class today and went into the band office to listen to the piece. Everyone thought that it would be fun and a good challenge.

(Mr. Fischer when were you planning on telling me about the Mexican Martinis :)

Adam says

I looked at the house you put a link to and I know which one it is. On my boat I drive past it sometimes. That would be amazing if you got it. Do you really need 5 bedrooms? LOL

Mark S. says

My friend was an all state maraca player.

Melissa says

You totally need 5 bedrooms 1) us 2) Amelia 3) Sophie and Izzy (all visiting) and then 4) Loki and 5) you guys.

Bear says

Hey! we got the peice this week and I looked it over. The clarinet part is awsome!!~Only wish I could play the contra base :( By the way, I 've seen that house from the lake. It's beautiful. And the fireworks display on the 4th is amazing. Trust me i'm a local! IF you do move in be sure to go out on the lake a lot!

Brooks says

Thanks again for the piece, the preformance at UT was amazing to be in. It will be an experience i will carry with me for the rest of my life(please excuse the spelling and gramatical errors). I cant tell you how much i enjoyed being part of your commision, you are an amazing compozer.
That song was such an impact on the adience, after the concert me and my friend herd a little girl (not much older than 4) singing the tune! Im sure this song will go very far!
Thank you so much Mr. Mackey!


Malvika says

Hello Mr. Mackey!

I'm an alumni from Hill Country Middle School, you could say. I graduated from there 4 years ago, and then moved to Georgia after that. This past year I learned that the feeder middle school (Hopewell Middle) to my high school here in GA chose to play this song and that it was indeed composed for my own middle school. It was such a great coincidence.

Thank you so much for this great song. I have gotten the opportunity to play this song as well in an honor band and it's truly a thrilling and energetic piece. So many dear memories of Hill Country are brought back to me every time I play and listen to this piece. Through your song I was able to feel as if I was back in Austin playing with Mrs. Floyd, and I thank you so much for that. Your song has truly impacted me in many ways.

Malvika (bassoon)

Malvika says

Also, Mr. Clary is my honor band director actually! From FSU. I thought that was cool as well. It certainly seems like a small world! Our concert will be tomorrow.

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