James Swearingen

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James Swearingen
File:James Swearingen.jpg
Background information
Occupation(s) Composer
Website Official Site

James Swearingen is an American composer and arranger. He holds a Masters Degree from the Ohio State University and a Bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and is Professor of Music Emeritus, Department Chair of Music Education at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.

The music he writes is part of a small genre known throughout American high school band classes as Concert Literature, generally two- to six-minute-long pieces played for high school band concerts. He is a recipient of numerous ASCAP awards.


He is currently one of several resident composers at Capital University and also serves as a staff manager for The Ohio State University Marching Band. Prior to his appointment at Capital in 1987, he spent eighteen years teaching instrumental music in the public schools of central Ohio. His first teaching assignment took him to the community of Sunbury, Ohio. He then spent fourteen years as Director of Instrumental Music at Grove City High School, where his marching, concert and jazz bands all received acclaim for their high standards of performing excellence.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Swearingen manages to be very active as a guest conductor, adjudicator and educational clinician. Appearances have included trips throughout the United States, as well as Japan, Australia, Europe, Canada and The Republic of China.

Swearingen's numerous contributions for band have been well received by school directors, student performers and audiences worldwide.[citation needed] With over 450 published works, he has written band compositions and arrangements that reflect a variety of musical forms and styles. Many of his pieces, including 81 commissioned works, have been chosen for contest and festival lists. He is a recipient of several ASCAP awards for published compositions and in 1992 was selected as an Accomplished Graduate of the Fine and Performing Arts from Bowling Green State University. Most recently, he received the 2002 Community Music Educator Award given annually by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. He is a member of numerous professional and honorary organizations including Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA),[1] MENC: The National Association for Music Education, American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA),[2] Phi Beta Mu,[3] Pi Kappa Lambda, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. In March 2000, he was invited to join the American Bandmasters Association.


Many of Swearingen's most popular band compositions have been recorded by The Washington Winds and are available on compact discs from Walking Frog Records.[4] His recordings include In All Its Glory, Exaltation, Panther in the Sky, Celebration For Winds And Percussion, The Light Of Dawn, and the newest release, Flight of Valor.


Fanfare and triumph IHymn for a Child I

Title Published Grade Length(in minutes) Description
In All its Glory 1989 4 6:03
All Glory Told 1995 3 6:30
An American Portrait 1998 3 6:00
And the Angels Called 2005 3 6:58
Ashton Overture 1984 2 4:00
Aventura 1984 3 5:47
Baywood Overture 1991 1 3:24
Beautiful Savior 2003 3 2:47 A celebration through the singing of hymns.
Blue Ridge Saga 1990 3 6:27
Bring It On Home 1993 3 From the first note of the slow and bluesy introduction down to the very last note of the solidly scored rock section, Jim Swearingen’s “Bring It On Home” is a true gospel rock classic. Features a combo within the band of Tenor, Trumpet and Trombone that sets up the full tutti sections. This exceptionally appealing chart sounds much harder than it is and is sure to be a favorite at concerts and contests for years to come. Exceptional!
Big Brass Attack 1987 3
Boogie Down 1981 3
Breakthrough 1995 3
Brookpark Overture 1983 2.5 3:18
Bunker Hill Overture 1994 2 3:33
Carnival Del Soul 1991 3 Jazz piece accompanied with styles of Latin funk rock
Carolina Legend 1991 2 4:09
Celebration and Dance 1991 3.5 5:36
Celebration for Winds and Percussion 1999 3 5:56
Centuria 1986 3 5:29
Chesford Portrait 1982 3 6:19
Children of the Shrine 2000 3 2:33
Clark County Celebration 2007 2 4:32 Describes the wondrous events and happenings in Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada.
Color Of The Guard 1980 3
Comin’ Alive 1988 3
Covington Square 1985 3 5:06
Crosswinds march 2007 2 2:03
Crunch Time! 2007 2 1:58
(The Legend of) Danny Boy 2000 3 2:20 Features solo cornet/trumpet and exposed woodwind section
Dawn of a New Day 1993 3.5 5:55
Denbridge Way 1979 3 4:54
A Distant Light 2009 2.5 2:28
Eiger (Journey to the Summit) 2007 3 5:37 When John Harlin III lost his father John Harlin from a tragic incident of falling down from the mountain Eiger, Harlin III decides to accomplish his father's dream by climbing up the mountain himself 40 years later.
Entrance of the Tall Ships 2001 2 2:13
Exaltation 1978 3 4:57
Fired Up 3
Firenze 3
Flight of Valor 2003 3.5 6:14 Written as a memorial for the victims of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, during the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Follow the River 2004 3 3:24 Based on the novel by James Alexander Thom, the young woman escapes from the Shawnee Indians and tries to find her way home by following the Ohio River.
Forever Shining 2010 3 6:00 This composition takes its inspiration from a special group of people who touched the lives of the East Mecklenburg High School (Charlotte, North Carolina) band program. This emotional work is beautifully written and scored to evoke the many emotions of life's joy.
Freedom’s March 1998 1
Get On Down 3
Go For It 3
Gotta Get Down 3
Grand Canyon Overture
Heroes and Glory 1
Hip Stick 3
Hot Samba Nueva 3
How Firm Thy Friendship Commissioned by Pat West (Meeks) of Lima Shawnee High School in remembrance of Todd Rosebrock, a Shawnee alumnus and band member who was killed in 1994 at the age of 20 by a hit-and-run driver. Todd was a junior at Ohio State at the time, and themes from its alma matter can be heard in the piece.
Ignite the Night 2004 2.5
Instant Concert
In the Presence of Heroes
In the Wake of Spring 2002 1.5 2:02 Written in dedication of a local teacher at Hilliard Memorial Middle School.
In the Winter of 1730: A River's Journey 2003 3 5:16
In Time of Triumph
Into the Joy of Spring 2001 3.5 6:14 Contains three movements, with the first movement in the fury of winter and transitioning into the second movement, spring. The third movement is celebrating the joys of Spring.
In Quest of Uluru 2002
Invicta 1981 3 6:00 This is a very moving piece that has a great flow to it.
Jubilance 1997 3 4:42
Just Do It! 1992 3
La Fiesta Brava 1985 3
Legacy 1996 3 5:27
The Legend of the Nighthawk
The Light Eternal 1992 4 7:35 Depicts the Four Chaplains who sacrificed their lives during the World War II on the sinking USAT Dorchester.
The Light of Dawn 1998 2.5 4:27
Majestia 1983 3 6:15
Majestia 1987
Excalibur 1992 1.5 3:33
Make a Joyful Noise! 2004 3 6:21
Mambo Cubano 2009 2.5 1:53
Montero 1980 3
Nightflight 2008 4 6:35 While traveling by air, the composer was able to view three distinctive scenes of the city of Miami, Florida that are all musically portrayed in this significant and creative new work. High energy, driving tempos, memorable themes, Latin percussion and contemporary harmonies all combine to create a remarkable and exciting three movement suite. This wonderful composition is destined to become a standard in the repertoire of wind band literature.
Northpointe Fantasy 2005 2.5
Novena (Rhapsody for Band) 1980 3 5:44 Features a soli by a Clarinet, an Alto Saxophone, and a Piccolo.
Ol' Glory March
Panther in the Sky 2004 2.5 3:35
Park Street Celebration 1980 2
Prelude and Energico 1996 2.5 4:12
Proud Spirit 1990 3 3:16
Of Pride And Celebration 1987 3 6:27
Seagate Overture 1988 3 7:37
A Song of Hope 2002 2 2:35
In Times of Triumph 2002 3 5:35
A Vision of Majesty 1998 4 7:30
When Kings Go Forth
Where the River Flows 1994 3 7:12
Windemere 1990 2.5 3:29
The Distant Castle

Grading Scale

According to Swearingen's web site, he grades the difficulty of performing his compositions using the following scale:[5]

  • 1 - Easy (for first year beginning bands)
  • 2 - Medium Easy (for second and third year bands)
  • 3 - Medium (for intermediate or early high school bands)
  • 4 - Medium Difficult (for most high school bands)


External links