Suite for Marice

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Price: $215.00

Suite for Marice

Duration: 11 minutes 30 seconds

Grade: 5/6

Premiere: November, 2002, Houghton College Symphonic Winds, Houghton, New York, Gary Stith, conductor

Suite for Marice was written on commission from the Houghton College (NY) Symphonic Winds, Gary Stith director. It is a musical biography of the life of Marice Stith, the Cornell University Director of Bands for over thirty years.




I. Childhood Sweetheart “Dancing With Shirlee” (3:30)

II. Spiritual “A Voice in the Wilderness” (5:00)

III. Cake Walk “Marice Goes to Work” (3:00)

This piece was a pleasure to compose! Knowing both the Stiths personally added to the fun. Marice has both a light-hearted wit and a great depth of character which gave me a great variety of options. The first movement is an infectious dance infused with jazz rhythms and harmonies. Because Marice was a trumpet player and Shirlee played the clarinet, these two instruments start the dance as a solo duet. The work builds representing their industriousness both at work and as they raise their family. After a tumultuous climax, the dance shifts to an other- worldly transformation shifting their dance into the afterlife. Since Marice is a very spiritual man, his favorite hymn-tune There’s a Voice in the Wilderness Crying  is featured in the second movement. The second movement has an optional section where the band or a chorus may sing the tune. It may also be successfully performed without singing. Cues are provided.

The final movement is based on the well-known Cornell University Alma Mater tune. Since Marice was a practical joker, the music is full of humor. Some listeners have called it a humorous mix of Ives with cartoon music (think Dudley Do-Right!). The last movement has been performed many times as a stand-alone number.