In accepting this commission, my thoughts were to create a work that incorporated the rich history of Chautauqua and its pure, innocent, rural Americana experience. Seeing its heritage was grounded in a nondenominational understanding of God, which incorporated both secular and spiritual experience, it seemed fitting to arrange a work that bound these two ideals into one work. The arrangement opens with a stately expression of valor, dignity, and innocence lost - developing gently through a series of tonal and textural adaptations of the hymn tune until it finds a stately tutti expression for the ensemble. But the end is delayed by the arrival of a false cadence at rehearsal D, which embraces a ‘river dance’ with a variety of percussive features. The idea here is one of ‘beauty from ashes’ and ‘joy coming in the new mornings dew.’ The reeds are now used to express the bagpipe above the thrusts of the percussion. Soon, the hymn tune is heard again, supported by the rhythmic dance in reeds, brass, and percussion - now filled with the joy of community participation. Each counter-melodic line is somewhat of a statement now – and, must be heard in its uniqueness. It is as if the birds have begun to sing again, each in their own language, of the wonderment surrounding the new day. Hope has once again sprung upon the community through music. Take your time through the reminiscent, Americana moments, and enjoy the dance thoroughly!
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