Blue Ridge Saga
James Swearingen
Grade 2

James Swearingen’s talents as a performer, composer/arranger and educator include a background of extensive training and experience. He has earned degrees from Bowling Green State University and The Ohio State University. Mr. Swearingen is currently Professor of Music, Department Chair of Music Education and one of several resident composers at Capital University located in Columbus, Ohio. He also serves as a staff arranger for the famed Ohio State University Marching Band. Prior to his appointment at Capital in 1987, he spent eighteen years teaching instrumental music in the public schools of central Ohio. His first teaching assignment took him to the community of Sunbury, Ohio. He then spent fourteen years as Director of Instrumental Music at Grove City High School where his marching, concert and jazz bands all received acclaim for their high standards of performing excellence.

Year of publication: 1990

Publisher: Birch Island Press

Grade: 2

Type of composition: Program music

Style: Slow and broad

Programming suggestions: Eminent composer James Swearingen once again shows the reason for his exceptional popularity as a writer for school bands! This offering utilizes a folk setting that reflects on the beauty and history of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Jim Swearingen has written, and masterfully scored, some of his best themes to date in this composition, which is certain to be considered a significant work.

Solo instruments: Percussion

Anecdotal notes: Percussion part has gong and 4 timpani. Has a wide range of meters and styles. Many exposed passages in clarinets, flutes, oboes, saxes, and trumpets. Use of accents and agogic accents. Agogic accents may be difficult for younger players. Use of marcato at fortissimo dynamic marking may be too heavy for young players who want to impress the teacher and peers.

Discography: In All Its Glory. Washington Winds. Petersen, conductor.

Recording of "Blue Ridge Saga"