Journey Into Diablo Canyon

David Shaffer
Birch Island Music Press, 1999


Journey Into Diablo Canyon (1999) is a relatively schizophrenic programmatic piece attempting to depict life in one of those really hot desert canyons. While the piece only goes through three different keys, it transitions through tempos like they’re going out of style. In addition to the tempo per second routine, there are also solo opportunities in the flute, alto saxophone 1, alto saxophone 2, and bells.

Performance Notes

Journey Into Diablo Canyon (1999) was commissioned by the Northern Kentucky Band Director’s Association and dedicated to the 1998 Northern Kentucky Select Band.  The premiere performance was held on March 23rd, 1998, with the composer conducting.

Musical Challenges

Tempo transition, tempo transition, tempo transition, tempo transition.  Solo, solo, solo, solo, solo.  Key change, key change, key change.  Style change, style change, style change, style change, style change.

This is an exciting piece that your students will love to play, but there’s very little repetition or consistency from section to section.  Because of this, and the length of  the piece, it’s almost like you’re preparing extra pieces for your festival performance.

Also, articulation matters!

About the Composer

David Shaffer was born in Columbus, Ohio and attended Grove City High School, Grove City, Ohio. He holds a Bachelor Degree from The Ohio State University and a Master of Music Degree from Miami University (Ohio). Mr. Shaffer has taught in the Hamilton, Ohio; Northridge, Ohio; and Wyoming, Ohio schools. Mr. Shaffer has been associated with the Miami University Marching Band for 30 years as Graduate Assistant Director (1978-80), Assistant Director (1980-97) and has been the Director for the past 11 years. Under his direction, the Miami Band has performed twice at the University of Michigan, West Virginia University and the University of Cincinnati. In 2000 and 2005, the Miami Band performed a combined half-time show with the Ohio State University Marching Band. The Miami Band has performed for seven regional Bands of America Contests and is currently hosting one of these yearly events at Miami University. In 2003 the Miami Band performed as the “Santa Band” in the 77th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

In addition to his involvement with the Miami University Marching Band, Mr. Shaffer has over 250 compositions and arrangements in print. His compositions have been used at clinics and music festivals around the world and have been placed on contest required-performance lists in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Mr. Shaffer has been the recipient of the ASCAP Standard Award in Music Composition for 18 years.

Under the direction of Mr. Shaffer, the Wyoming High School String Orchestra performed as the opening group at the 1984 Mid-West National Band and Orchestra Director's Clinic in Chicago. Additional Mid-West conducting appearances were in 2000 and 2001 when Mr. Shaffer guest conducted his compositions with the Robinson School Band, Fairfax, Va., and the South Central Middle School Band, Carterville, Ga.

Mr. Shaffer is in demand as a conductor for new music reading clinics, music festivals, and music education seminars. During the Summer of 1986 and 1992, he served as instrumental director for the Saskatchewan School of Fine Arts. In February of 1997 he conducted a program of his music, with the China Youth Corps Band in the National Concert Hall, Taipei, Taiwan. Mr. Shaffer is a past adjudicator for Drum Corps International and Drum Corps Midwest and has judged championship events for both organizations.