...this too shall pass

ensemble: concert band  
grade: 3                    
duration: 6 minutes
written: 2011 rev. 2014
premiered: July, 8 2012

A big question that is brought up in new music is “how do we write music for our time?” Beethoven wrote his Symphony No. 3, originally, in honor of Napoleon and Shostakovich wrote his 5th Symphony in secret protest against Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. This being said, I have always interpreted writing music of our time as responding to current events that need to be acknowledged and discussed.

Within a six-month period in 2011, there were at least five high profile stories in the media about recent suicides by teenagers, mostly middle school boys. The story for all five was the same, each young man was bullied by their peers so relentlessly that they thought the only way to make it stop was to take their own life. I wrote ‘…this too shall pass’ in response to these events and I wanted to make sure the piece was both accessible and playable by an average middle or high school band. The work is a hymn and a prayer for the end of bullying in our nation’s schools. Bullying occurs every day in every school and it takes all of us to lend a helping hand to those in need.