Flint Shards

concert band (Grade 4)

piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes (alternate, flutes), 2 bassoons, 3 clarinets in Bb, bass clarinet in Bb, soprano saxophone (alternate, clarinet in Bb), 2 alto saxophones, 3 trumpets in Bb, 2 horns in F, 2 trombones, euphonium, tuba, double bass (alternate, tuba), timpani, 4 percussion*

1: xylophone
2: marimba
3: wood block, bass drum
4: tam-tam, suspended cymbal, glockenspiel


Commission generously supported by ArtsKC Regional Arts Council.

Commissioned by Baker University, Bethel College, Cottey College, Derby High School, Fort Hays State University, Garden City Community College, Garden City High School, Goddard High School, Hays High School, Lost Springs-Centre School, McPherson College, Missouri State University, Norton Community High School, Pittsburg High School, Rossville Junior/Senior High School, Sacred Heart Junior/Senior High School, Shawnee Mission East High School, Smoky Valley High School, Tabor College, Topeka High School, University of Kansas, and University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Commission organized by Peter Lillpopp of Fort Hays State University.

Premiered March 3, 2019, by Fort Hays State University Symphonic Winds, directed by Peter Lillpopp.

The Flint Hills is a region of Eastern Kansas and Central Oklahoma dominated by tall-grass prairies and rolling hillsides. These hills are part of an ancient geologic formation that has since eroded, leaving a layer of flint that speckles the ground. This formation, laid down in the Permian Era, is visible in cutaways that expose layer upon layer of limestone and shale. In Flint Shards, woodwind textures create stratified patterns that match these layered patterns. These textures grow in intensity or fade away, but always maintain vertical distance. The brass maintain an ever-present flow, like the rolling hills, over which these layers emerge and dissipate. With each section, layers emerge with greater intensity, underscored by rhythmic energy.

Flint Shards was commissioned by wind ensembles in the Kansas and Missouri region. It only seemed natural to reference this local geography, particularly a stretch of the I-70 corridor I have driven countless times. The geology and implied history of this area is fascinating.