Our World for Wind Ensemble
Grade Level: 5
Duration: 14 min
Premiere Date: March 10th, 2019
Movements: 1. Prelude
2. Our World
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University of Wisconsin-Madison University Band,
Cole Hairston conducting
World Premiere, Live Recording
University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble,
Cole Hairston conducting
In December of 2015, a shooting took place in San Bernardino, CA that claimed the lives of 14 people and injured 22 others. Within recent years, this kind of thing has become somewhat “normal” in America. In June 2016, there was a shooting at a night club in Florida that left 49 people dead and 53 injured. In October of 2017, there was a shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead and 851 injured. In February of 2018, a shooting took place at a high school in Parkland, Florida leaving 17 dead and 17 injured.
Over the last four years, I have found comfort and hope in the music of David Maslanka. A portion of this piece is an homage to the Bach chorales of which David was very fond of. I use the melody and harmonization of the Bach Chorale, “Come Sweet death” from Bach’s 69 Sacred Songs. I also used this same chorale in my recent piece, “Missoula” for Saxophone Quartet.
This piece is expression in its purest form. It is an emotional plea for peace - Peace that knows no limits. There were many times over the three years of composing this piece where I gave up. I felt that nothing I could do or write could ever bring peace to this world. But there is a quote from David Maslanka’s “Hymn for World Peace” that, on several occasions, gave me hope and determination to finish this music.
“Music making opens hearts and creates peace in individuals and communities. This is a powerful step as musicians that we can take.”
-David Maslanka, Hymn for World Peace – (used with permission from David)
This quote sums up this whole piece in a very simple but meaningful way. We as Musicians have the power to spark peace in this world. And, it is my job to further this effort. I hope this music does justice for an important message.
I respectfully dedicate this music to the victims of these horrific shootings and to their families. I would also like to dedicate this music to Aaron Feis, a coach from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who died shielding students from gunfire in the February 2018 shooting.
- program note by Casey Thomas