Rob Grice
Grand Mesa Music Publishers, 2004


Zeal (2004) is an energetic work written in ABA form and geared toward a young ensemble while also well suited for a young audience.  The piece begins at a crisp tempo (QN = 132) and should maintain that tempo for the entire performance.  Mr. Grice employs heavy use of articulation and syncopation throughout the piece to provide energy and drive.  In the first section of the piece, Mr. Grice provides contrast with a rhythmic energized eighth note figure accompanying a calm, flowing, legato melodic line.  In the middle, section (mm37-53), the melodic line remains lyrical, but picks up some of the syncopation of the rhythmic accompaniment from the first section.  The accompaniment in the middle section becomes long, connected chords with a syncopated rhythmic bass line.  There is a slight musical tag (mm81) at the end of the piece to tie it off and build to an exciting final measure for the audience.

Performance Notes

Zeal was conceived as a concert/festival work to be performed by young bands.  The tempo should be vibrant and exciting with much spirit through the entire composition.  Much attention should be given to produce a balanced ensemble sound with the percussion parts not being played too loudly.  At measure 37 encourage the clarinets and the alto saxophones to produce a “warm sound” on the melody.  Be sure to maintain the energy and drive to the last note!

Musical Challenges

There are several musical elements in this piece that could provide a challenge to a young band.  For most instruments, range is not an issue, but the first clarinet part does require the player to go across the break.  The key of g minor is close enough to Bb Major that it shouldn’t be too difficult, but students should be reminded of the difference so that they can listen for a new tonality.  The heavy syncopation and off-set accents will keep a young band counting to keep from falling apart.  Tuning and balancing the low brass chords in the “B” section is important, as well as making sure the rhythmic accompaniment never overpowers the lyrical melodic line.

About the Composer

Rob Grice's compositions have been performed widely within the United States as well as internationally, including Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. His original works and arrangements have been selected for performance at the Midwest Clinic, Society of Wind Instruments (Germany), Texas Music Educators Conference, Carnegie Hall, Bands of America Regional Championships, as well as numerous state and regional events.

His music was featured on Japan's JVC Victor Entertainment BRN Compact Disc Series, a standard interpretive reference source for Japan's school music program. He receives many requests to commission new concert works and creates numerous publications for concert band and string orchestra each year.
Mr. Grice's background as an educator includes teaching instrumental music at the elementary, secondary and college levels as well as teaching orchestration, music appreciation, private piano and various educational workshops as an adjunct professor at the college level. Mr. Grice has served as guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States including a guest appearance at 2005 Midwest Clinic in "Writing, Arranging, and Re-Arranging Music for your Young Band" sponsored by Northeastern Music Publications. His compositions have gained much popularity among music educators and students alike and have been selected for numerous state, national, and international contest music lists.