Commissioning Program

The commissioning program of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma has made a significant impact on band music in America. This joint program was conceived by Kappa Kappa Psi Grand President Hugh E. McMillen (Alpha Iota) 1951-1953, who felt the organizations should offer something constructive to college and university bands. Brother McMillen saw in the National Intercollegiate Band and its sponsoring fraternity and sorority the perfect vehicle for a lasting contribution to the field of concert band literature. He proposed a program to commission a special work for concert band by a noteworthy composer in Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma’s name.

World premiere renditions have been a highlight of National Intercollegiate Band concerts since 1953. Leading musicians have been commissioned by the fraternity and sorority to compose numbers for this purpose. Such noted works include Francis McBeth’s The Seventh Seal, Claude T. Smith’s Symphony #1 for Band, and Fisher Tull’s Prelude & Double Fugue. Several of these composers have also served as guest conductors.

The commissioned work demands the highest in technical proficiency and musicality, as well as being of sufficient merit to rank with the best in the concert band music genre. The commission is offered by Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma to someone demonstrating proven abilities in composing for band or to someone who should be encouraged to write for concert band.

Both organizations have presented the college and university bands of the nation with more solid evidence that they are “Building Better Bands.” Since its creation, the program has been responsible for more than 23 new pieces of band literature and has come to be considered of prime importance in our national program of Service to Music.

Commissioned Works for Band

1953 Ballet for Band – Don Gillis
1957 Symphonic Songs for Band – Robert Russell Bennett
1959 Prelude and Dance – Paul Creston
1963 Symphonic Essays – Clifton Williams
1965 Symphonic Requiem – Vaclav Nehlybel
1967 Study in Textures – Gunther Schuller
1969 Songs of Abelard – Norman Dello Joio
1971 The Seventh Seal – W. Francis McBeth
1973 Concerto for Trumpet and Wind Orchestra – Karel Husa
1975 Let Us Now Praise Famous Men – Martin Mailman
1977 Symphony #1 for Band – Claude T. Smith
1979 Prelude & Double Fugue – Fisher A. Tull
1981 LUX: Legend of Sankta Lucia – Mary Jeanne van Appledorn
1983 Stars and Stripes Variations – Robert Jager
1985 Chorale Prelude: “Mein junges Leben hat ein End,” Op. 61 – James Barnes
1987 Overture Alfresco – Jerry Bilik
1989 Symphonic Canticle – David R. Holsinger
Athenian Festival – Anne McGinty
1991 Hymn Variants (based on “Lasst Uns Erfreuen” (1623)) – Alfred Reed
1993 Daystar Symphonic Variations for Wind and Percussion – James Curnow
1995 A Tuning Piece: Songs of Fall and Winter – David Maslanka
1997 Rondo Jubiloso – John Zdechlik
1999 Unusual Behavior in Ceremonies Involving Drums – Daniel Bukvich
2001 Mourning Dances – Timothy Mahr
2003 Bandancing – Jack Stamp
2005 The Seasons – Philip Sparke
2007 Celestial Dancers – Eric Ewazen
2009 Two American Canvases – Mark Camphouse
2011 Repercussions – Adam Gorb
2013 Redacted – John Mackey

Though not considered a part of the commissioning program, the following works should also be familiar to every member of our organizations. Each was composed by an individual close to the Fraternity and Sorority, and presented to us as an expression of this appreciation for the work of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma.

1931 Kappa Kappa Psi March – J. DeForrest Cline
1934 Kappa Kappa Psi March – Bohumil Makovsky
1961 National Intercollegiate Band March – Richard Franko Goldman
1971 Tau Beta Sigma March – Donald I. Moore; Commissioned by Ladine Bennett Housholder
1992 Crest of Allegiance – Robert Foster; Commissioned by Elizabeth Ludwig Fennell
1999 From This Wilderness – Roland Barrett Culloden – Julie Giroux; Commissioned by Lt Col Alan Bonner, USAF (ret.)
2000 an American Elegy – Frank Ticheli Commissioned by the Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi
2001 “Come, memory…” – Donald Grantham Commissioned by Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma