Musical portrait of a sunrise, starting from the last gleam of starlight in the predawn blue, through the golden hour and into the full light of day. This lyrical piece includes nine percussion parts.

Daybreak was featured at the 2023 MBDA Young Band Literature Session as a part of the Minnesota Music Educator’s Association Midwinter Convention.

Concert Band | Grade 2 | 4:00

Performance materials are available on J.W. Pepper:

Commissioned by Fergus Falls Secondary School
Joshua McGowan, conductor

About the piece

Daybreak is a musical portrait of a sunrise. In the beginning of the piece, the mallet percussion connote the stars twinkling in the predawn sky. The opening flute line softly heralds the first hint of the emerging day, gently reinforced by the whole woodwind section as the light grows. As the brass enter, the sun rises high enough to illuminate a westward hill or the top of a tall tree, bathing it in golden light, though the viewer themself is still in shadow. Finally, the first direct rays reach across the horizon, bringing warmth and fullness of light for the day to come.

The piece is dedicated to Denise Wiese in celebration of a long career in music education. Denise taught for thirty-eight years, including thirty-three at Fergus Falls.


Special thanks to Josh McGowan for contacting me about writing this piece, and for many years of friendship. For the inspiration for this music, and for any joy that it may bring to its performers and audiences, I give all glory to God.

Daybreak was premiered on May 19th, 2022 by the Fergus Falls 8th Grade Band, Joshua McGowan conducting.

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