The Adventures of Wichita Joe and Danny Díaz (big band, grade 2.5)


Run time: 4’+, depending on solos. A fun grade ~2.5 (with a slightly ambitious trumpet part due to the circumstances of its commissioning) big band piece with optional flute part! Great for a middle school band who likes a little challenge or most young high school groups. (Partial perusal available!)


In the spring of 2017, I and several of my peers had the unique privilege of teaching classes at a minimum-security prison as part of an internship. Because it was a not-insubstantial drive from school, we carpooled, and after a wonderful experience working with earnest students, I spent the majority of the drive home observing as we passed through a handful of small towns. On the side of the road about halfway home, a sign proclaimed that this stretch of highway was dedicated in memoriam of Wichita Joe and Danny Díaz. That moment stayed with me—not only were those two of the coolest names I’d ever heard, I was full of questions. Who were they? What lives did they live? And who had them memorialized here?

Time passed, and despite intensive internet searches, I found no clues. Instead, I began imagining them in my head, sending them on journeys through unknown lands and wondering what their real-life personas would think. When Jeremiah Jacks, director of bands at Spring View Middle School, reached out to me as part of his quest to collaborate with gender-marginalized composers, I knew it was time for these stories to take shape. The Adventures of Wichita Joe and Danny Díaz is a brainchild of this curiosity—though I’ll never know their real stories, their names will remain, both on the side of the road near Miami, Arizona and in this piece.

Run time: 4’+, depending on solos.

The Adventures partial perusal (preview before you buy!)

If your ensemble plays this piece and records it, send it my way. Maybe I’ll post it here!

Get a feel for the piece by listening to the MIDI mock-up of it here:

Past performances:

  • 4/7/2019, Heritage Jazz Festival, Orlando, FL
  • 3/20/2019, Sheldon High School, Eugene, OR
  • 5/4/2018 Rocklin Jazz Festival, Rocklin, CA (world premiere)

A word on my large ensemble policy: I am fully aware that the circumstances of your ensemble’s instrumentation and/or your judges’ requirements for festival score submissions may require you to print additional copies of the scores and/or parts you purchase from me. That’s totally fine! Every time you buy a PDF from me, you also buy the right to make as many copies as your ensemble needs—for this performance and in the future. If you need written permission to possess and use additional copies of a score, shoot me an email (either with your initial order or before your performance) or use my Contact form. I’ll happily write you one!


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