Hi, I’m Bob. I write music.
I’m the retired Chief Arranger for The United States Air Force Band in Washington DC, the premier musical organization of the US Air Force. I served with the Band for my entire 20-year career, and I had the privilege and pleasure of writing custom arrangements and original works for the military’s finest musicians. I wrote for every ensemble the Band supports – wind band, orchestra, chorus, studio orchestra, strings, jazz ensemble, brass band, chamber groups – and I covered a lot of ground stylistically.
I’ve also done a lot of writing outside of my former day job in the military. Several of my pieces for school bands at all levels are published by Carl Fischer. Most of them are on at least one state performance-assessment literature list.
I love to have fun with seasonal music. My duet arrangement of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” – written for cello virtuoso Yo Yo Ma and ukulele phenomenon Jake Shimabukuro – appears on Ma’s 2008 CD Songs of Joy and Peace (it’s track 21). And it's safe to say my big-band arrangement of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (published by Pro Jazz Charts) is one of my biggest hits.
I also write for marching bands. I’ve written for my college band, the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, since 1981, when I was still a member. I’ve written for many other college and university bands as well, including South Carolina, Auburn, Valdosta State, Wake Forest, Nebraska, Wyoming, Central Florida, and Louisville. At the high school level, I’ve written contest shows for the Pickerington (OH) Central High School Marching Tigers every year since 1986, and for the Pride of Herndon (VA) Marching Band since 2012. Whether you’re looking for show tunes, stands tunes or a complete competitive program, I can help!
I grew up playing drums, and I still like to play a little. When the American Rogues – an insanely energetic and fun-to-watch Celtic band fronted by my friend Nelson Stewart – can’t find anyone else to play drums, they’ll hand me a pair of sticks, remind me which end to hold, and make me promise not to injure anyone like last time. I also orchestrated this arrangement of The Gael for them.
I can’t wait to share some music with you – or better yet, to write some music for you!
Thanks again for stopping by. I’d love to know what led you here – please leave me a note and say hello!
All content on this site copyright © 2015 by Robert S. Thurston