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String Orchestra

Deadly Nightshade: Theme on a 3rd Grade Rhythm 
~4:00, Grade 4
Deadly Nighshade - MHFB Strings
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Performed by the Mile High Freedom Bands Strings

Inspired by my 3rd Grader class

This viola-feature piece, as the subtitle may suggest, came about because of this rhythm that one of my 3rd grade classes made up.





I personally thought this was one of the coolest 8-beat rhythms I had come across and so I told my class that I was going to save it and make something out of it. Once I did, I showed the piece to them, and they got to pick out and vote on a name for the piece. I was committed to naming it whatever they voted for, so for a little while, I was afraid this piece was going to be called “Deadly Chicken Nugget”. But the top three contenders ended up being You’re Next, The Night You Die, and Deadly Nightshade, with Deadly Nightshade winning the vote by 2 points. Honorable mentions include El Muerto, Hypnotize, and Nightmare.


Coquí - 3:30, Grade 3
Coquí - Amber Sheeran
00:00 / 00:00

This little nocturne was written after my travels in Puerto Rico. The place where I stayed in the El Yunque National Forest, there were little Coquí frogs that would sing their song from dusk till dawn. This piece uses an ascending leap to imitate their call during the warm, lively nights in the rainforest. This piece is available through Murphy Music Press at this link. (

Brazen Autumn - 3:00, Grade 3.5
Brazen Autum - MHFB Strings
00:00 / 00:00

Performed by the Mile High Freedom Bands Strings

A piece written for the CSU Concert Orchestra, the University's non-audition chamber orchestra. Originally a clarinet duet, I re-imagined this piece for an additional three voices. In this piece I envisioned the golden-brown leaves of fall turning in the wind. Written in the key of C, it often alludes to other keys and modes, yet mostly stays true to the original tonic, except for one change to Bb Major. This piece is available here at Murphy Music Press. (

Under the Ashes and Smoke - 1:50, Grade 1-1.5
Under the Ashes and Smoke - Amber Sheeran
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A grade 1-1.5 string piece in F# Phrygian. With this piece I envisioned the darkness from ash and smoke that occurs after a volcanic eruption. I focused mostly on changes of dynamic and style within this piece, choosing to keep the fingerings and rhythms straight forward and simple. 

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