Groovy Loops

Grade 5(+)–4.5 minutes

Premiered by the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble in Carnegie Hall, New York on April 9, 2013 conducted by David McKee


I wrote the original Groovy Loops for saxophone quartet just a few years after college. After writing a piece, I usually move on to other projects and try to leave older ones alone, even if I later think of some things I could’ve done differently or better. I have also shied away from rearranging pieces for instrumentation that differs from the original, since I typically consider the orchestration or color of a new piece as inseparable from other musical elements like melody, harmony, or texture.

But for some reason, ʻGroovy Loopsʼ is a piece I’ve revisited a couple of times. A few years ago, I arranged it for string orchestra so I could devote more time to explore the unfamiliar territory of string sounds and less on writing new material. Once that was done, I once again put the piece aside I figured I was done tinkering with it. Deep down, however, I always thought it would work well in a full band setting.

I got the chance when Dave McKee wrote me and asked if I had a short piece for the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensembleʼs upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall. I didn’t feel like I had anything in my catalogue that would appropriately fill the spot, but offered up the suggestion to arrange an older piece. It seemed appropriate for a number of reasons: the ensemble was looking for a piece to buffer a slow piece from a full symphony, there was only a few minutes to spare before the program became too long, and since I had only a month to meet deadline, the option of writing something completely new was dangerous to say the least.

In adapting a saxophone quartet for wind ensemble, I obviously expanded the color palette, but also added a few moving lines, percussive effects, and richer harmonies that were unavailable to the smaller ensemble. I also added a couple of modulations to accommodate some specific instrumental range issues. Finally, I lengthened opening and closing sections and incorporated silences that “bookend” the piece a little more substantively than the original.

This arrangement is dedicated to my mentor, teacher, and friend David McKee.

Note: This work is available for purchase from Kjos Music.

3 thoughts on “Groovy Loops

  1. Hi

    I just listed to Groovy Loops. Nice piece. We’ll see if we can program that for the Montgomery Village group if we can get some stronger percussion…

  2. We are performing Groovy Loops (a new piece for us) on Feb. 25th for our 25th Anniversary Concert, featuring trombonist Harry Watters. We’re enjoying it, and our audience will too! Carlsbad Community Church, Carlsbad, CA 2pm Sunday Feb. 25th Coastal Communities Concert Band

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *