“Lost Woods Fantasy” by JaRod Hall

Nick Pierce • Great Music ReviewsNovember 2022 • November 13, 2022

JaRod Hall’s “Lost Woods Fantasy” is a wonderful grade 1.5 piece, and it was my students’ favorite last year. With melodic writing for every section—including percussion—and an epic, cinematic sound, it’s easy to latch on to and exciting to practice. A slow, mysterious opening invites the listener into the Lost Woods,  followed by an epic chase by something unseen. The opening material returns as we escape the woods and wonder what “it” was. 

As our programs continue to recover from the last two years, the newer Flex Band version of the piece is particularly valuable. The original full band scoring has been reduced to 3 wind parts, playable by any combination of instruments, while the percussion parts are left intact. A piano part has been added to cover the vitally important mallet parts and to support the harmonies throughout. Using this version, I was able to effectively perform the piece with just four elementary band students (second year players): two trumpets, a clarinet, and a pianist, all between 4th and 6th grades. The piece was a challenge they embraced joyfully, and I personally look forward to performing it again with another, perhaps slightly larger, ensemble.

Nick Pierce is an educator, conductor, and low brass player in Colorado. He has taught all levels of music, from elementary general music through collegiate ensembles and conducting classes. This fall he begins a new position as the band director and music teacher at Platte Canyon High School and Fitzsimmons Middle School in Bailey, CO. 

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