I am eagerly looking forward to spending the day on Monday and Tuesday with the Westmoreland Middle School Concert Band and their director Mrs. Kristyn Cutler. Westmoreland commissioned me a year ago for a new work for the final concert of the year, and on Monday evening, “Pride!” will be given it’s world debut by the Westmoreland Middle School Concert Band. The title of the work takes its inspiration from the motto of their music department at Westmoreland – Performance met with Responsibility, Integrity, Dedication, and Excellence.
When I started working on the piece, the one thing I kept coming back to was to convey to these young musicians the uniqueness of playing in band, the wonderful heritage the American Wind Band enjoys, and to take pride in their decision to be a part of the fine and performing arts. When Kristyn shared with me their department motto, I knew then there could be no other title. While the main melody came to me rather quickly after the title, I wanted to be able to connect this work to the great history of the American Wind Band has enjoyed. There are a number of textural and orchestration choices within the piece that are a bit of a homage to several of the great band masterworks. I hope to talk about this with the students, and inspire them to get a good summer “playlist” that increases their appreciation for all that bands can do.
A live recording will be up later in the week, so do please check back to hear the finished product. I owe Kristyn and her students a debt of gratitude for allowing me to be part of their spring concert and bring some new music to life for young bands.