By Joseph Compello
This is a great march for a band that has a weak horn section (whether in regard to instrumentation or ability level) and strong woodwinds and snare drummers.
According to the conductor’s score:
Joseph Compello, a native of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, holds degrees in music education from the Peabody Conservatory and Towson University. His background as an instrumental music teacher in Maryland includes 10 years as a high school band director and 21 years as a beginning band instructor. Throughout his teaching career he composed numerous works for his students. In 1991 his music came to the attention of Andrew Balent who decided to publish many of Compello’s classroom-tested pieces in Carl Fischer’s Sound Spectacular Band Program. Recent performances of his music at the U.S. Navy Band’s Clinic for New Music and the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic indicate that his skill as a composer for young instrumentalists is steadily gaining national recognition. As a performing musician, Compello has played trombone and euphonium with a wide variety of ensembles. His works for young bands are consistently among the top sellers in the Carl Fischer catalogue.
The Royal Regiment is a concert march in the European tradition. It is taken a little slower than the popular American marches of John Philip Sousa. The beginning and end feature snare drum, piccolo, and clarinet solos that fade in and out so that it feels as if the band is marching toward you and then marching away.
This piece has very demanding parts for the snare drummer, piccolo, flutes, and first clarinets, while the rest of the band’s parts are very manageable.
The snare drum part must be broken down and learned precisely at a slow tempo before trying to play it at tempo with the band. Otherwise there will be issues with the cleanliness of accents vs. taps vs. grace notes, especially at low dynamics. I suggest handing the part(s) out to the snare drummer(s) a few weeks in advance of the winds starting to work on it. A field drum would be preferred (NOT a marching snare drum, especially not with a kevlar head). Having multiple snare drummers to add to the fading effect of the beginning and ending is ideal. You could include both field drum and traditional concert snare drum if you have multiple drummers. While most concert band pieces should be played with a closed or buzzed roll, it is my opinion as a percussion performer that a more open rudimental roll would be appropriate for this piece, especially if playing a deep field drum. Either roll style would be appropriate, depending on the preference of the conductor, the skill level of the performers, and the type of drum(s) being used.
Note the “hand over bell” direction in the trumpet parts at measure 17. It makes a big difference! If you do not have a strong baritone section, consider adding a tenor sax cue at measure 17.
The brass will probably need to play a softer dynamic than written at measure 33 to balance with the clarinet melody.
Measures 75-78 are one of the coolest things you will ever get to do in a march: a huge crescendo and ritardando into a caesura before a fortissimo statement of the main themes. It is too much fun!
For the fade-out at the end, Mr. Compello offers the option of repeating or alternating the clarinet and piccolo solos in measures 115-122. The way it is written works great, but if you want to experiment with it, an alternate option I suggest is repeating 115-122 with the clarinet holding the F as if he/she is not taking the repeat.
- Bavarian Trails March by Joseph Compello
- March of the Belgian Paratroopers by Pierre Leemans
- Southwestern H.S. Band – April 15, 2016 (ISSMA Festival, Senior Division, Group IV)