Light Cavalry Overture (slow)

arr. by Paul Jennings

This unique arrangement of Franz von Suppé's most popular work reminds us that there are a lot of older tunes that we may recognize, but whose title we may not know. The work was written just after the end of the Civil War in 1866, but even if we lived in that era, we would have rarely seen the operetta which contained it. Still, since that time the overture has been played and recorded countless times by orchestras and bands all over the world. Even if it's not familiar to you at the beginning, by the time you get to measure 9, it should be.

To bring it to today's younger students, we created this setting for kid-friendly instruments: kazoos, soprano recorders, Boomwhackers®, and a small bucket band made up of soprano and bass buckets. You can use any or all of these to work in your performance, or add other percussion instruments as you like with our blessing. Note that you will find a score and an extracted kazoo part in this magazine. All parts are available as free PDF downloads on our web site. Also there, you will find extracted audio recordings of just the student parts being played together as a demonstration. It's easier to hear how the parts should sound and fit together. For ease of distinction, we are calling them student mixes.

Performance Notes - One of the more challenging parts of the piece is the change of tempos and time signatures from bar 6 to bar 7. We end the opening with a sustained note headed into 6/8 time, and technically, no one need play during bars 7 and 8. Odds are, though, that once your players have heard this natural transition a few times, they should be comfortable with it.

Also, you will note that there are a few optional parts for kazoos. These are either divisi notes or sections that might seem a little too difficult for some players. Use your judgement in these cases how much, if any, you will have them try to perform.

Kazoos - When performing with kazoos, the most important thing to remember is that even though they are humorous instruments, they are still musical instruments. Playing them with a serious air will make the humor more obvious. At bars 27 and 31, for instance, the dotted quarter notes should be powerful and accented in contrast to the moving line which follows.

Decide ahead of time what syllables students will use when playing for the best effect. For longer notes, we recommend "ta." For faster moving parts, it's usually easier to tongue "doo" or "doot." Also make sure they are humming, not blowing, into the correct end of the kazoo. That is the wider end, closer to the wax membrane. (Which is unfortunately the opposite of the way our military cows are playing them on the cover of this issue. Oops!)

A Challenge! - In addition to the main tempo provided for our primary tracks, we have also included a faster challenge tempo (tracks 16 and 33) to give your performers something to choose as a special goal for the future. If you know that you have stronger, more mature players, you may want to start with this one, using the regular (slower) tempo for rehearsal.

Helpful How-To's - On our web site, you will find some helpful downloadable PDFs for making your own kazoos (if you're so inclined) as well as working with a bucket band. Note also that you can purchase kazoos, recorders, and Boomwhackers® from our web site. That's MusicK8.com

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.