Piece of the Week: Con Brio by Ralph Ford
April 16, 2014 | by Michael Ferry
Con Brio (March) was commissioned by Con Brio Festivals for the 2012 Whistler Music Festival Mass Band performance. The piece received its premiere in the Telus Conference Centre in Whistler, British Columbia by over 1,800 musicians from the participating bands who attended the three day event. In addition, this piece is dedicated by Con Brio Festivals to the pursuit of excellence in Music Education. Of particular interest, the melody used for the Trio of the march is the traditional Canadian anthem, “The Maple Leaf Forever” composed in 1867 by Alexander Muir (1830-1906).
The march may be taken at a suitable tempo of your choosing, but not slower than 120 bpm and no faster than 132 bpm. The standard march form is utilized in the construction consisting of:
- Four measure introduction
- First strain
- Second strain
- Modulation up a perfect fourth at the introduction to the Trio
- First statement of the trio
- The break-up (or “dogfight”) strain
- Piccolo obligato on the final statement of the melody “The Maple Leaf Forever”
Repeat of the break-up strain ending with a strong final statement
There are several variations with regard to the marked articulations, some include additional stress marked by dynamic indicators. Staccato markings are not only short, but also light in nature. There are optional markings for a ritardando into a Grandioso section at mm.103, followed by a poco accel. to the ‘A Tempo’ at mm.111.
Ralph Ford is Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at Troy University. A native of Panama City, Florida, he has served on the university faculty in numerous areas of expertise since 1986, working mainly as the assistant director, arranger and theory instructor. Since 2001, Mr. Ford has been the conductor of the Troy Symphony Band and Chamber Winds, Jazz Ensemble I, and the director of the nationally renowned “Sound of the South” Marching Band. He is the Chairman of the Board for the Southeastern United States High School and Middle School Concert Band Clinic and Honor Bands, a member of the Board of Directors for the National Band Association’s Hall of Fame of Distinguished Conductors, director of the “Sound of the South” Summer Music Camp and Directors Clinic, chapter sponsor for the Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity, and is active on several university-wide committees.
Mr. Ford’s compositions and arrangements have been commissioned and performed by middle school, high school and collegiate bands worldwide. His music has been premiered at such prestigious events as the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Convention, the American Bandmasters Convention, and the Music Educators National Conference. Mr. Ford’s music is published exclusively by Belwin, a division of Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. (formerly Warner Brothers Publications) where he serves as staff composer/arranger, and has over 130 publications for concert band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, and marching band available worldwide. Additionally, he creates special arrangements and compositions for the Troy band program, and is in demand in the United States and Canada as a composer, arranger, conductor, clinician, technology consultant and adjudicator. In April of 2004, Mr. Ford received the Outstanding Artist Award from the Troy University Chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Outside of the field of education, Ralph has composed, recorded, and produced music, jingles and 3D-graphic designs for radio, television, and video productions. He has won numerous “Addies” in addition to recognition and awards from various agencies and international associations for his creative work in the media field. Ralph is a member of Phi Beta Mu, Music Educators National Conference, the National Band Association, the Troy Rotary Club, Phi Mu Alpha, Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, Sigma Alpha Iota and Delta Chi, among others. He is married to Amanda Ford, the band director at Charles Henderson High School, and they reside in Troy with their daughters, Melanie and Abby.
Ralph Ford bio
Con Brio can be found at Alfred Music