Grade 4–5.5 minutes
Premiered by the Maroon Hokie Honor Band, January 2009 in Blacksburg, VA with the composer conducting
This piece was written for and dedicated to Ben Parks, director of bands at Pulaski Middle School, Pulaski, Virginia. Ben let me crash on his hotel room floor at the Virginia Music Educators In-Service Conference after I showed up in town immediately following graduation from an Army course in South Carolina. I tried writing a Grade 3, but this one turned out more difficult than I planned.
Though this score was written for Ben and his group, I must also tip my hat to Claude T. Smith. He was one of my most influential teachers, even though we never met. His influence is more apparent in this piece than in any of my others; there are times I think it sounds like something he would have written. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Praeludium is a sincere tribute to a composer of endless rhythmic and harmonic invention.