Desert Dances

Desert Dances was commissioned by the Jack and Terry Mannion Middle School Wind Ensemble, Henderson, Nevada, Phillip Haines and Melissa Sawyer, directors. The ensemble gave the premiere at their District Festival on 7th March 2018.

Henderson is a city in Clark County, Nevada, just southeast of Las Vegas and surrounded by desert; this was the inspiration for the title.

Desert Dances opens with a lively introduction, mostly in 3/4, which pervades the faster sections of the piece. This subsides to introduce a slower dance featuring a solo for oboe, which expands to a full-band climax. The introduction soon returns and leads to the main theme of the piece, a waltz-like melody on horns and euphoniums. This is again played by the full ensemble. A short bridge passage follows, which leads to a legato central theme. This is played twice and heralds the return of the main theme and a short coda which closes the work.