Well, I heard from my band-director friend this weekend. He's also a folk musician, and had some advice (abridged slightly):
"The on-line catalog at the Chatfield library is a little weird; use the "keyword" line to search for stuff. Do a search for "folk" and you'll get over 160 answers; some will be suitable but others won't. You'll have to wade through them all. If you copy and paste interesting results into a blank document, you'll have a record of what you're interested in..."
"...as for specific pieces based on folk music, the English Folk Song Suite by Vaughan Williams, the Second Suite by Holst, and the pieces by Percy Grainger are all part of the standard band repertoire... but may be too substantial for a smaller or less-advanced group."
"Look for pieces by Clare Grundman - he's written several excellent band arrangements of traditional tunes, and they're more accessible to less-skilled bands. I particularly like his "Kentucky 1800" - a nice, well-written medley of several traditional Appalachian tunes. Unfortunately, Chatfield doesn't seem to have a complete copy of this. He also wrote four different "American Folk Rhapsody" pieces."
"There are some arrangements by Harold L. Walters which are interesting but very easy to play; two of them, "Country And Western" and "Hootenanny" ...are either Totally Stupid or make for amusing crowd-pleasers, depending on your mood (I think they're stupid). Some of his other arrangements are a little less, um, insipid; I like his "Deep River Rhapsody" and "American Folk Suite."
"There are also some folksong arrangements by James Ployhar... I think these are pedestrian and academic... less interesting to play and listen to. Your mileage may vary."
"For all these guys, just put the last name in the "keyword" line; don't try to find them by using "composer" or "arranger" because you'll get poor results."
"For sources other than Chatfield, unfortunately the commercial music-publishing world has little interest in "traditional" band music... the few companies who publish band music tend to have only academic music with (my opinion) little musical interest."
"By the way, don't be put off by the phrase "Military Band" in British publications; this is the same thing as what Americans would call a "Concert Band" with mixed brass and woodwind instruments, as differentiated from the "Brass Band" which consists of a specific number of brass instruments only. There's a long story in there, but it might not be helpful right now."
"I hope your friend finds this useful!"
So there you have it. I think he has even more information, but didn't want to overload people. I can probably get more from him if it's needed.
-melinda from Albany