Lyrical concert piece with prominent roles for solo trumpet and all woodwind principals. Three themes alternate as they build toward a climactic statement and calming resolution.

Concert Band | Grade 4 | 6:00

Available for purchase on J.W. Pepper:

Written for Scott A. Jones – conductor, mentor, friend – on behalf of the musicians of the 2011-2012 Concordia College Band

About the piece

Gratitude was written as a gift for Dr. Scott Jones, at that time director of bands at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. The motivation to create it came from his announcement (during my senior year of study there) that he had accepted a position as associate director of bands at The Ohio State University, his alma mater. He was (and continues to be) tremendously inspiring to all who played under his direction, and we in the Concordia community were happy for him, though sad to see him leave. The title comes from the subject heading of his emails to us after a concert well-performed, a single word that encapsulated the more detailed review that was to follow: “Gratitude”.

Formally, the piece comprises three alternating themes. The first (A) is introduced by solo trumpet and oboe in wide, open melodies, as if to convey the bold solitude at the start of a new journey. The second (B), incorporates the clarinets and saxophones in a more stepwise line, again alternating with the solo instruments as a reminder of the supportive community, both of the present and of the future. The third (C), is the pure statement of gratitude from the whole community, first stated in the brass, then with the full ensemble. In all, the thematic sequence is ABCACBA, with a short coda on “B”. Like waves on the ocean shore, the momentum of the piece rises toward and falls away from each statement of “C”, then rises again for the final majestic statement of “A”. The coda features the oboe one last time, now in a state of contentment in contrast to the restless leaps of the beginning.

Gratitude was presented to Dr. Jones at the final Concordia Band rehearsal of the 2011-2012 school year, conducted by Foster Beyers, director of the Concordia Orchestra. Its first public performance was April 7th, 2015, with Andrew Boysen, Jr. conducting the Nashua High School District Band for the Nashua Plays festival.

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