The following is from Percussive Notes, Vol.55, No. 1 – March 2017:
Toboggan is a simply delightful work by John Herndon for beginning or intermediate percussion ensemble that depicts a short, fast ride on a small sled. At least ten players are needed, and the piece uses standard percussion instruments that should be found in every band room.
The composer states, “The piece starts by capturing the excitement of finding new-fallen snow. The descent swishes and jingles at high speed through sudden direction changes, patches of rough snow, and the gentle rising and falling of fresh powder. Toboggan ends, as sled rides often do, with a playful crash into a snowdrift.”
The parts are expertly written to accommodate the varying levels of a middle school percussionist while providing a fun challenging experience for all. It is especially excellent that Toboggan gives players a chance to apply some basic technical skills (scales, natural sticking, reading, and dynamics) that most beginning and intermediate percussionists would be working on already.
Toboggan would be a welcome addition to any fall or holiday concert and will help codify important skills for percussionists.