Ghost Town Triptych was written in 3 fully flexible parts for the Beginning Band Adaptable Series, edited by Mary Cogswell and Robert Ambrose. This music is available exclusively from Murphy Music Press, and each movement may be purchased individually or as a whole set.
In southwestern Pennsylvania, about an hour’s drive east of Pittsburgh, there is a hiking trail known as the “Ghost Town Trail” that connects a series of old ghost towns that were once bustling homes to coal mines and mills as recently as the early 1900s. Now the towns of Wehrum, Scott Glen, and Lackawanna, to name a few, are no longer inhabited, and their buildings and roads are slowly being reclaimed by nature. However, their history is forever etched into the landscape, with some impressively large structures still standing. Each movement of this triptych is inspired by a part of this historic area of Pennsylvania’s Blacklick Valley.
The first movement, All Aboard the Hoodlebug, is inspired by the old passenger train known as the Hoodlebug that was common in the area. The towns relied on railroads that cut through the mountainous and difficult terrain. Listen for the train crossing bells as you take a trip from one town to another.
Laurel Run is the name of one of the picturesque streams that flows into the river that runs by each of the ghost towns, Blacklick Creek. With frequent rapids and waterfalls, the waterways seem often at the same time serene and agitated, and they feed the lush greenery and diverse fauna that fill the valley. This lyrical song is an ode to the natural beauty of this region.
Some of the only surviving structures from the old ghost towns include immense iron furnaces. These 30-foot high brick structures were used to produce iron, up to 600 tons each year. The Buena Vista Furnace is one of two of these furnaces that are still standing. The clanging of metal and a quick and aggressive melody set the tone for this movement. The three sections of the ensemble play rounds, taking turns imitating each other’s melody, as if you can hear the ghosts of the iron workers singing as they tend to the furnace.
Movement 1 - All Aboard the Hoodlebug: 1'20"
Movement 2 - Laurel Run: 1'40"
Movement 3 - Buena Vista Furnace: 1'10"
Total Duration: 4'10"
Flexible Band Instrumentation (3 fully flexible parts):
- C Treble clef: Flute/Oboe
- Bb Treble clef: Clarinet, Trumpet, Tenor Sax
- Eb Treble clef: Alto/Baritone Saxophone
- F Treble clef: French Horns
- C Bass clef: Bassoon, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba
- 4+ Percussion: Mallets (Glockenspiel), Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Triangle, Tambourine, Susp. Cymbal, Anvil (or a brake drum, or a loud metallic found percussion instrument, like a cast iron pan.)
Flexible String Instrumentation (3 fully flexible parts):
- Required Percussion: Anvil (or a brake drum, or a loud metallic found percussion instrument, like a cast iron pan.)
- Optional Percussion: Mallets (Glockenspiel), Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Triangle, Tambourine, Susp. Cymbal
- Piano (optional)