(wind ensemble) 4'00"
Spirited and optimistic, this piece expresses through three themes the energy and satisfaction of working together to accomplish an important task. Level/Grade 3-4.
Listen (Kenyon Wanamingo High School Band, Kenyon, MN; Claire Larson conducting)
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Composer's Program Notes:
I have known Claire Larson for many years through our musical and family connections in our church and community. So quite long before I suggested to Claire that I would enjoy a collaboration with her and the K/W band on a new work, I was well aware of her fine musicianship and also her reputation as a dedicated and nurturing music educator. In more recent conversations with her, I knew that she was particularly enthusiastic for the position she has held at K/W for the past several years. She mentioned the dedication and work ethic of the students in a smaller school setting as one of the reasons that she is so fulfilled.
So it was those qualities of character which are embodied in Claire and her students that I had in mind while I wrote the music. There are three main themes in the piece. The first, heard throughout the introduction and again toward the end of the work, is an upbeat flourish pointing toward an optimistic future. Then follows the “work” theme, busier in nature with shorter note values and a lot of interplay between the instruments as the theme is passed around, indicative of the need and beauty of solving tasks while working together in respectful community with one another. A third more expansive and lyric theme permeates much of the composition to indicate the satisfaction of a job well done, the sense of accomplishment in having worked together to solve an important task.
Original title ideas I had for this work, such as From This Day Forward or The Promise of Tomorrow, sounded too much like soap operas! But I knew that the theme for the entire concert tonight was Innovate, so the title Ignite! finally came to me and seemed appropriate, reflecting the fact that all human innovations or achievements - whether they be in the arts, sports, science and technology, or other fields of endeavor - are sparked by initial exposure to new knowledge and ways of thinking, often during our younger years. This is what we call education and why we value public education of our youth so highly. In my visits to rehearsals the band at KWHS, I definitely witnessed that kind of interaction happening.
My sincere thanks and appreciation to Claire and the students of the band for their dedication in rehearsal and during their personal practice time as they have brought this music to life and offer it for you to hear tonight for the first time.