The Time That Is Given

The piece begins with a somber, evocative trumpet solo, developing into a theme carried by the entire band. Soulful swells and falls invite reflection on the beauty of life and the pain of loss.

Concert Band | Grade 3 | 9:00

Performance materials available for purchase on J.W. Pepper:

Commissioned by the Staples-Motley High School Band
Dan Spandl, conductor
In memory of Paul Peterson

About the piece

The Time That Is Given is written in memory of Paul Peterson, a student from Staples-Motley High School who lost his life in a tragic snowmobile accident February 29th, 2020. It was commissioned by Dan Spandl, Paul’s band director and a friend of mine from Concordia College.

Dan first contacted me about a memorial piece shortly after the accident. I was immediately moved and eager to serve in any way I could, but something else caught my attention. The very next weekend, I was planning to attend a men’s retreat with our church at Camp Shamineau, located just outside Motley. I drove up before the rest of the group and was able to meet with Dan personally, processing grief together, reminiscing, and laying the foundation for the piece’s concept. As I got to know Paul Peterson, I began to see an uncanny resemblance between the two of us. We share a first name, but other identifiers link our stories as well: only child, active in church, a star trumpet player in a rural high school band. I don’t believe in coincidence and instead saw the hand of God at work. I felt absolutely compelled to create this piece, to offer some small measure of healing to the Staples-Motley community and those who knew Paul best.

As Paul’s instrument, the trumpet features prominently in the piece. Twice it plays a solo line that is subsequently developed by the band. The first opens the piece optimistically but soon grows into a mournful dirge. After this expends itself, the second trumpet solo rises in uncertainty. It is echoed gently by the flute before transforming into a beautiful tune floating effortlessly over a lush texture, like soaring among the clouds. Finally, the initial theme returns but is this time redeemed, building toward a cathartic release in the full band. A horn melody ends the piece in a spirit of quiet reflection.

The title is inspired by a line of dialogue in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic tale The Lord of the Rings, a shared interest of the Peterson family, Dan, and me. No one wishes for the tragic loss of a loved one. But when we face it, we can choose both to remember the time we shared, and to honor their legacy in the future by continuing to live well with the time that is given to us.

The Time That Is Given was premiered May 21st, 2021 by the Staples-Motley High School Concert Band, Dan Spandl conducting. Ty Peterson performed the trumpet solos in honor of his son.

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