One of Michigan's most popular tourist attractions can be located at the beautiful, luxurious area of Mackinac Island. Attracting thousands of tourists every summer, the natural wonders of this place and its hidden spectacles are a sight to behold, offering something new to everyone who travels there. The Straits of Mackinac is such a musical venture, evoking one idea of spending a day or two on the island with the rich and vibrant colors of the concert band as its palette.
Focusing on the ferry ride traveling to its main destination, the first theme for this trip conjures up a sweeping palette of colors and sounds full of spirit, adventure, and wistfulness. Matched by a second theme characterized with even more yearning, the excitement and energy begins to grow larger as the ferry draws nearer to the island. Harmonic tension is matched with rhythmic excitement and layered textures of melodic fragments, contrapuntal statements, and percussive action. All of this builds to an exciting conclusion and the promise of a great adventure at Mackinac when the ferry finally arrives to its stop.
My sincerest thanks to Connor Fetting and the Michigan State University Campus Band for a fantastic premiere performance.
"If possible, don't be afraid to experiment with different instrumental combinations when performing this work! These experimentations can be used as a learning tool for you and your performers for how color and texture can change with even the smallest difference in orchestration (example: have the flutes play alone at a particular passage, then clarinets or saxophones, then a combination of these families. What are the differences in timbre? Does it affect the mood or emotion of the piece, and if so, how?). Use this piece, in that regard, as an endless sea of experimentation and creative possibilities for you and your performers.
With all of this in mind, this arrangement of THE STRAITS OF MACKINAC should be used as an opportunity to demonstrate how music isn't just chord progressions, electronic samples, heavy-metal grooves, or even just simply dots on a page. It's how that music is brought to life with what we have available; what we can create from it; how decisions of musical intent, listening to each other, and hearing these new sounds/colors/textures can impact our perceptions of the piece; and finally, how we can use these skills for any performance situation, no matter what the instrumentation, style, or genre may be."