By Larry Henry,
Alfred Concert Band Composer
Back in the 60’s, if you looked into the percussion section, in the bandroom at Dresden Elementary, you would pick me as least likely to become a composer for Alfred. I started band a year late. But Mr. Crane took time after school to have 8-10 students begin. Three days a week, his Ford station wagon was last car to leave the lot. In seventh grade, I heard a jazz band and begged my director, Mr. Middleton to start one.
Not much music was written back then for young jazz bands, so he told me to write something. Every day after school he taught me what amounted to the first year of college theory and orchestration. Every night, his Chevy was the last to leave the parking lot. At the end of the year, our little 14-piece jazz band performed an arrangement I had written.
During my years as a middle school band director, I became interested in music engraving with Finale. I showed my students the powerful aspects of the program. One day after school, Ryan, a saxophonist, brought me a tune he had written. He wanted to give it to his dad who was celebrating his fortieth birthday. We spent a few hours engraving it and burning a CD. We created a title page and had a pretty nice little present for his dad.
As we were leaving, I was taking some large instruments home to repair. Ryan offered to help carry things to my car. He said, “I know it is the green Dodge. It’s the last one to leave most nights.” Ryan just graduated from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. I wonder how many nights his car will be the last one left in the lot.
How many times have you been the last to leave after games, concerts, and band trips? Yes, you do make a difference, possibly for generations to come.
Compositions by Larry Henry range from the musical stage to the marching field. His Concert Band compositions are published through Alfred Music Publishing. To view his works that are currently in print, click here.