I recently had the honor of being commissioned to write an arrangement of “By the Sea of Crystal” for the Lee High School Senior Band in Wyoming, MI. This is the location where I completed my student teaching. This was commissioned to celebrate the graduation of the senior class of 2015, and in memory of David E. Gabrielse. David, the father of director Kevin Gabrielse, passed away in early February of 2015. He was called “Grandpa G” by Lee’s band students. “By the Sea of Crystal” was his favorite hymn.
I entered college with an interest in writing music for wind bands, particularly for middle and high school students. I decided that before I would attempt an original work, I would do an arrangement of a tune I really liked, to acquaint myself with writing for the medium without the difficulty of also writing original material for the ensemble. The result, Oh Shenandoah, can be heard in MIDI below. My old high school band once sightread it, and it was thrilling to hear my arrangement be played! However, unless there is interest, I won’t be publishing the work, mostly because Frank Ticheli’s version is about as close to perfect as one can get. But I had a lot of fun writing this arrangement, and I am proud of the result!