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Zagging in a Zigging World

I think it’s safe to say that I can be something of a contrarian. (Duhh!)  So – when I decided it was time to introduce a new line of orchestra arrangements (after considering it for years), it should come as no surprise that these charts tend to zag when the rest of this world is zigging.

Now – when I began my little online self-publishing venture (another zag in a world of zigging), the first offerings on my website were eight orchestral hymn arrangements. At first glance, these arrangements were all quite traditional. And yet they all zagged.  For in the world of church orchestra music, where arrangements were uniformly built around a rhythm section, these arrangements were symphonic (using no rhythm section). What’s more, none of them incorporated any popular Praise songs, making these hymnal-based arrangements even “zaggier.”  Admittedly, I knew I was limiting my market by making these choices. By the same token, I was also banking on the idea there was little or no competition in this arena. I think the years have proven me right on both counts. In the years since, those eight arrangements have expanded to some sixteen, plus three or four original symphonic compositions – all quite zaggy in their own right.

Now, I am re-entering the Pop Orchestra world with a new line of arrangements for the Modern Orchestra. First, I say “re-entering” because I’ve written for the rhythm-based pop orchestra for many years.  Second, I labeled this line of music for the Modern Orchestra because to me, “modern” hearkens to the cool music of the 50s, 60s, & 70s – prior to what is now known as Post Modern.

My first three entries into this line are now available here at the site. Even though they are all rhythm-based pop orchestra charts, they all tend to zag when others are zigging. These arrangements call back to jazz and pop sounds that pre-date the first release of Taylor Swift, U2, or even Bruce Springsteen. And true to form, none of them have any reference to any popular Praise song.

Yeah, I know I am being obstinate in my musical choices.  But – these charts, I think, are way more fun to play.

POOR, WAYFARING STRANGER. This is a nod to one of my earliest arranging influences, Henry Mancini. I always loved the sound of his harmonies and the structure of his chord voicings.  And the marimba lick that establishes the mood in the intro was inspired by a similar marimba line of Mancini’s.

JERICHO. This is something of a Hollywood Orchestra Meets Big Band treatment. It’s fun.  It swings.And you can almost hear the walls come tumbling down.

THE OLD 100TH (Doxology). I always liked the funky, rock instrumental recordings of the 1970s. Not a lot of hymn tunes can fit that style, but the Doxology holds its own in just such a power situation, both melodically and thematically. And I hid a bit of “Holy, Holy, Holy” inside it for good measure.

Please give them all a listen. If you’re in an orchestra, show them to your conductor.  If you know musicians in an orchestra, send them a link to these. I hope you enjoy!

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