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for concert band

When my wife’s uncle - heck, he was my uncle too - passed away at 58 from Pancreatic Cancer, I knew I wanted to write something in his honor. Uncle Tom was the life of the party and the cornerstone of the family. His passing left something of a void in all who knew him and I guess this is my way of coping with it. I sat down to write this piece numerous times and never got anywhere. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the poem on the memorial card from his funeral that I knew where they inspiration would come from.



Do not stand
By my grave, and weep.
I am not there,
I do not sleep—
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints in snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle, autumn rain.
As you awake with morning’s hush,
I am the swift, up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the day transcending night.
Do not stand
By my grave, and cry—
I am not there,
I did not die.



The idea of the sun rising again after darkness struck me. In dealing with the loss of someone we love, we experience many emotions - highs and lows. The opening half notes in the clarinets represent the notion of trying to lift your spirit, only to be knocked down. This scalar passage eventually ascends to the fifth, before once more descending. The plagal cadence at the end is a more personal nod. You see, Tom was somewhat religious but not overtly. I feel like a final ‘amen’ would probably suffice for him, no hymns necessary. 


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