Crandall Canyon (Solo Euphonium, Concert Band)
Notes by the composer:
"My family to Huntington, Utah in late June 2007. Within a month and a half of our moving to Emery County, a coal mine eleven miles up the canyon from town experienced a severe 'mine bump' that caused a collapse. Miraculously, most of the miners safely evacuated; however, six men were unaccounted for. They were still trapped in the closed-off cavern. The heroic efforts often brought tears during the televised coverage. Prayers ascended from all around, even from many in the community not accustomed to praying. Nevertheless, their safe return was not to be. The rescue efforts ceased after another mine bump injured some of the rescuers, three of whom passed on as a result of their injuries. This devastating series of events shocked the entire community, and every person was greatly affected—even the newcomers. Though I didn’t know these nine men personally, my heart went out to their families. And, yes, even my own family was personally affected; my children’s school registration was postponed, as the secretary at Huntington Elementary is closely related to one of the missing miners. One could not take a walk or a drive without seeing many hand-painted signs on fences and car windows that expressed support: 'We love our miners,' or 'God bless our miners.'
"In August of 2008 (a year after the tragedy), to honor those lost, a grand sculpture entitled 'Heroes among Us' (featured on the front cover) was commissioned and placed in the Huntington Cemetery. This masterwork sparked a desire in me to do something as well. At the time of this work’s premiere, almost a year and a half after the disaster, the families continued to suffer. Their loved ones were not there for Christmas, birthdays, or other important family events. My gift to them was this composition.
"Dr. Greg Benson and the Eastern Utah Wind Symphony, with the College of Eastern Utah, commissioned this composition. They asked me to direct this piece for the band, featuring a guest soloist, Edward K. Mallett, on euphonium. Though I was free to title the work, the instructions I received included that the piece should be slow, with lush melodies. It didn’t take long for me to decide to give something to the families of the lost miners, and to the suffering community. What I have to say, I have said through music. Words are inadequate. This is my gift of compassion and commiseration. Indeed, all those whom the tragedy surrounded shared more or less in the loss. This composition expresses my heart, which goes out especially to the anguished families of Kerry Allred, Luis Hernandez, Brandon Phillips, Carlos Payan, Manuel Sanchez, Don Erickson, Gary Jensen, Brandon Kimber, and Dale Black. May you experience some degree of cathartic healing in this work.
"The introduction is an unusual nine measures in length, in memoriam of the nine whose lives were taken. There is a lot of dissonance; that is, harmonies that clash, depicting the pain felt by all. The 'tick-tock' marimba motifs mark the anxious race against time. At one point there is a series of three brief brass fanfares: Hope, as the rapid and heroic rescuers burrowed through the loose coal in attempts to reach the trapped miners. Three fanfares, to honor the three lost in these noble rescue efforts. As abruptly as the endeavors halted, the music plunges into agony, with bitter, muted echoes of the fanfares; and to replace the valiant march, a heavy death march. Hope diminishes as the cries augment. This harsh reality prevails. Finally, the soloist plays alone, seemingly forsaken by the accompaniment. Just as this piece of music has an end, so do all things mortal. This heartbreak and this piece do not have a happy ending. Life is pain. Those who live know. However, those who die know better. Hope lies in the following silence; the presently unseen that comes after 'the end.' Those nine men are in a better place."
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"Gilded Music Press" was created specifically to make Dr. Daniel Thrower's high-quality music available. Dr. Thrower has been composing music and writing educational supplements for decades. He describes his music as a "personal musical journal". From his work with military ensembles to faculty and students of all ages, his music and teaching materials are created to edify audiences, professional colleagues, students, and himself. Through "Gilded Music Press" the global music community benefits from his excellent research, experience, and creative output. Many have enjoyed and benefited from his work throughout the world, and you will too once you discover his phenomenal products!