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Silent Echoes (2013)
for trumpet and piano
Silent Echoes is a unique piece in many ways. First, it was created through a micro-funded commission. This is one of the reasons for the dedication reading “for many”. In the summer of 2013, I took a family trip to the Grand Canyon; the first time there for all of us. I suggested the idea to my friends in the trumpet world about writing a piece based on my travels, and many (listed below) signed on. Then, while hiking a trail at the North Rim, I spotted a fallen log with holes in it (see back cover), strategically placed so that they resembled notes on a staff. I solicited suggestions from Facebook friends as to what notes they thought were represented. All of those suggestions have been realized in this piece.
However, my impressions of the Grand Canyon were not at all what I thought they might be. Yes, I witnessed the vastness, the grandeur, the colors, and the stillness. But we can’t force our experience; our experience comes to us:
As I mentioned, I was there with family: my wife and myself, my parents, my in-laws, and 7 children (including four of my own and three of their friends/cousins). Given that many of the hikes were quite strenuous, there were many times when my wife and I were left alone with the responsibility of the seven children. Unfortunately, much of the hike was consumed with the fear of one of them slipping – with no chance for saving – and falling off the edge. This increased even more with the fact that it was all THEY could talk about. On top of that, my daughter showed me a book at THE GIFT STORE, called “Death at the Canyon”, which gave very grim and detailed accounts of every known fatality at the Grand Canyon over the last several decades. As a composer, my imagination is supposed to run wild, and this was no exception!
Silent Echoes, therefore, is in some way what might be expected: echoes, open “Americana” chords, and harmonies imbued with color. But it is also a prayerful tribute to those whose lives were lost in the blink of an eye, and how terrifying it must have been to have unanswerable calls for help echo through the walls around them. This is the other reason for the dedication: “for many”.
Listed below are the micro-commissioners who – at the time of this writing – committed to help fund the creation of this piece. I thank them for their trust in me to write something worth their time and expense.
Mark Adler, Richard Ashmore, David Bailey, Rick Bogard, Amy Burmeister, Jerry Cerchia, Michael Chapple, Barbara Chickosky, Eric Davis, Matt “Doc” D’Errico, Willis Dotson, Bryan Edgett, Louie Eckhardt, Kevin Eisensmith, John Ellis, Jim Estes, Mark Flegg, Robert Frear, Kevin Gebo, Ryan Gilbert, Marcus Grant, Jason Grooms, Brittany Hendricks, Michael Hohnbaum, Michael Hull, Lawrence Johansen, David Koch, Will Koehler, Joseph Lill, Doug Lindsey, D. Scott Loose, Stephan Mattsen, Daniel Mendelow, Susan Sievert Messersmith, Jason Mirus, Joe Nibley, Kyle Norris, Merrill Perret, Thomas Ragozzino, Marc Reed, Jason Royal, Richard Rulli, Derek Sanchez, Terry Sawchuk, Judy Saxton, Charles Schlueter, Donald Scott, Pat Shaner, Cathy Sheridan, LeAnn Splitter, Adam Stachowiak, Andrew Stetson, Ron Stinson, Richard Stoelzel, Luke Swanson, Dario Tabales, Stephen Thiel, Mary Thornton, Michael Tiscione, Jacob Walburn, Steven Weisse, Glen Whitehead, Neville Young, Frank Zahn, Bruce Zeiger
Program notes by the composer. July 17, 2013