Allentown Fantasia (Chikin’s Ded), or, Lady Blumenthal’s Puffe

for piccolo, flute, trombone, tuba, bass banjo, viola, bass, conductor (doubling on timpani)

Commissioned by Nicholas Handahl and Nathan Frantz for the Luzerne Music Center

duration: 4 minutes

Premiered on July 18th, 2012 in Lake Luzerne, NY by Julietta Curenton, piccolo, Nicholas Handahl, flute, Jason Stein, trombone, Jacob Wade, tuba, Anthony Lanman, bass banjo, Nathan Frantz, viola, Stephen Pfeifer, bass, Kenny Bean, conductor and timpani

Allentown Fantasia was written in two days, July 15-16, 2012 at the Luzerne Music Center in New York. It was commissioned to commemorate Nicholas Handahl’s trip to Allentown, which legend has it, contains a population with the same last name, and few teeth. Nic and his companion saw a sign in someone’s yard – “Farm Fresh Eggs”. They decided to investigate. Nic approached the house, knocked on the door, and a toothless woman answered. Nic inquired, “We’re interested in buying some eggs.” The woman reportedly responded with, “Chikin’s DED!!!”, and slammed the door in Nic’s face.

A year later, Nic purchased a bass banjo (which is unbelievably heavy) from a gentleman for $200. He decided to commission a piece for it in commemoration of that momentous occasion. I put out a call to the faculty of the Luzerne Music Center – whoever wanted to participate, that’s what the ensemble would be. I received seven responses, wrote the piece in two days, and premiered it two days after that.