Dance Celebration

Robert W. Smith
Belwin-Mills Publishing Corporation, 2000


This entire piece uses the first series of notes taught in most instrumental method books.  The band should be prepared for the piece once they have been introduced to the Bb concert scale and rhythmic values including whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes.

In an effort to provide a “mature” musical experience and to provide as many teaching opportunities as possible, the composer has included expression markings throughout.  He suggests using this as an opportunity to teach or reinforce style markings, dynamic levels, dynamic shaping, and

The percussion section, using a variety of instruments, plays a very important role throughout the piece.  Smith strived to provide a viable musical experience for the percussion without the use of rolls or sixteenth note patterns.  Of particular importance is the timpani (written for two drums and two fixed pitches).  He suggests assigning the student with the strongest sense of pulse to this part.  Also, the triangle and tambourine play important roles in this piece.  This provides an excellent opportunity to teach good fundamental technique on these instruments in the early stages of development.

The bass clarinet has been used as a member of the clarinet choir in the introduction as well as serving the traditional role of tuba double.  This is an attempt to allow the color of this wonderful instrument to be featured. However, the presence of bass clarinet is not required for a successful performance.

Performance Notes

Dance Celebration (2000) was inspired by Robert W. Smith’s attendance at his daughters’ very first dance recital during the spring of 1999.  His youngest (Madison) performed in a beginning ballet movement ensemble that served as the creative seed for the introduction of this work.  His oldest (Savannah) danced in a more contemporary style that led to the celebratory (and energetic!) body of the piece.  This piece was composed for the “very beginning ensemble” for performing during the first year of instruction.

Musical Challenges

Mr. Smith has written this piece so well that the musical issues seem to solve themselves!  The flowing 16-bar introduction gives the feel of being slower than the rest of the piece because of its strong 2/2 feel.  The conductor may want to experiment with conducting the introduction in  2/2 and switching to 4/4 at measure 17 when the band enters the “dance” section of the piece.  The trumpet and oboe counter-melody at measure 29 (repeated by oboe and clarinet at 45) may need a little extra rehearsal just for comfort.  Measure 53 is an excellent opportunity to allow the low brass section to open their sound, maybe even beyond the marked mezzo forte dynamic.

In all, this piece is very well written for a young ensemble, but gives the impression to the audience that it is a much more challenging work.  Students love to play it, and audiences love to hear it!

About the Composer

Robert W. Smith (b. 1958) is one of the most popular and prolific composers of concert band and orchestral literature in America today. He has over 600 publications in print with the majority composed and arranged through his long association with Warner Bros. Publications and the Belwin catalog. He is currently published exclusively by the C. L. Barnhouse Company and is the Vice-President of Product Development for C. L. Barnhouse and Walking Frog Records.

Mr. Smith's credits include many compositions and productions in all areas of the music field. His original works for winds and percussion have been programmed by countless military, university, high school, and middle school bands throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. His Symphony #1 (The Divine Comedy), Symphony #2 (The Odyssey) and Africa: Ceremony, Song and Ritual have received worldwide critical acclaim. His educational compositions such as The Tempest, Encanto, and The Great Locomotive Chase have become standards for developing bands throughout the world. His numerous works for orchestras of all levels are currently some of the most popular repertoire available today. His music has received extensive airplay on major network television as well as inclusion in multiple motion pictures. His
“Into The Storm” was featured on the CBS 2009 Emmy Awards telecast as the HBO production of the same name received the Emmy award. From professional ensembles such as the United States Navy Band and the Atlanta Symphony to school ensembles throughout the world, his music speaks to any audience.

As a conductor and clinician, Mr. Smith has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, South America and Australia. He has recently completed the production of Symphony No. 3 (Don Quixote), the fourth in a series of compact disc recordings of his best-known works for concert band. In addition,
he is co-creator of the Expressions Music Curriculum. This comprehensive Pre-K through 12 music program includes Band Expressions, an innovative new approach to teaching music through the band.

Mr. Smith is currently teaching in the Music Industry program at Troy University
in Troy, AL. His teaching responsibilities are focused in music composition, production, publishing and business.