Seas Between Us (grade 4)
Seas Between Us was commissioned by the Wakefield High School Band Boosters (Raleigh, NC), for the Wakefield High School Bands, Joshua K. Potter, Director, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the opening of Wakefield High School. The piece was premiered on May 18, 2010.
When Joshua asked me to write a piece for this occasion, he also wanted to make sure that I understood his students and the traditions that the band had developed over the past decade, so that I could compose a piece that would be meaningful. The first item that he mentioned was that they closed every winter concert with Charles Wiley's Old Scottish Melody (an arrangement of Auld Lang Syne) and that this tradition tied everyone in the program together. The second item he mentioned was that the marching band used a setting of Salvation is Created as their warmup and that this piece described the band more than anything, with one student describing it as "beautiful, moving yet strong; it is intense and almost triumphant but always focused."
These two melodies became the musical building blocks for my own work and, although neither is quoted overtly, the references to both are clear. The structural arc of the work is inspired by the words of the fourth verse of Auld Lang Syne, which includes the phrase "seas between us," which caused me to consider the ways in time and circumstance would take each of these band students away from each other. No matter how distant they became or how rough the water between them, each would always have a shared connection to every other former member of the Wakefield Bands.