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for the River City Brass Band, Music Director Denis Colwell
Sentimental Journey
Bud Green/Lester Brown/Ben Homer, composers
Drew Fennell, arranger


Thinking back, I associate this arrangement with Hot Springs, Arkansas, where I spent several days on tour with the River City Brass Band in the early spring of 2001, and where I worked on the piece. The tune has some recurring train imagery and integrates a bluesy boogie-woogie section into the main part of the tune. Also, there is a celesta which portrays a forlorn music box.

I'd wanted to create a sort of back story for the song to frame the tune itself. I imagined an older woman sitting in her dusty attic, wistfully sorting through boxes and crates, finally discovering a music box (depicted at the beginning of the piece). As she hears the tune the music box plays, memories flood back to her. She remembers joyfully meeting her husband at the train station - just returned from the war. She remembers evenings at the dance hall, and quiet evenings on the front porch listening to the music of their youth on the radio. She fondly considers all the memories of those times with her husband who just recently passed on. As the tune nears conclusion, her thoughts return to the present, and we hear the music box slowly wind down.

I always enjoy playing this piece for a live audience. Invariably, as the last note of the piece rings in the hall, there is a sort of collective sigh from the audience. No one in the audience knows the back story I just described, but somehow the message gets through each time.

  • Sentimental Journey is not published.

  • Hear a short sample of Sentimental Journey by the River City Brass Band, Denis Colwell, Music Director, from the compact disc recording All American*.

*Right click on the link and choose Save Target As... to download the file.

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