for Concert Band
(see perusal score below for instrumentation)
Duration: ca. 7:30
I began composing Rise in early 2020 at the request of Dr. Jonathan Poquette, Director of Bands at Elon University in North Carolina. As part of this project, we wanted to involve his students in the overall ideas and theme of the work. We shared a survey asking students what they would prefer to see in the piece.
At almost the exact same time, the world was beginning to witness the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a significant impact on the students' responses. As we read through their feedback, we noticed a number of references by the ensemble members to the school's mascot, the Phoenix. The students began mentioning that it might be important to have a piece that would be about all of us "rising" from the challenges facing us and in the process becoming a new and better version of ourselves.
Perhaps Rise does not tell the literal story of a Phoenix rising from the ashes, but this idea was certainly the inspiration for the piece. Moments of turmoil, doubt, hope, joy, and victory are all present throughout the work, sometimes at the same time. When the opening theme re-emerges in the second half of the piece, it is a stronger version of itself on the other side.
Original Photo courtesy of Paul Bulai