Until the Walls and Rafters Ring

Grade 6 | Duration 10:45

The sonic imagery of a phrase from the Iowa Fight Song became the impetus for this work. Until the Walls and Rafters Ring celebrates the many contributions to community and the musical art form made by The University of Iowa School of Music over the first one hundred years of its existence. My graduate work at The University of Iowa gave me an insight into the special nature of the music created at this institution and the remarkable musicians who have brought it to life over the past century.

Commissioned by Dr. Myron Welch, the work was to feature the Iowa Brass Quintet in performance with the UI Symphony Band. I heard this fine faculty ensemble perform many times and was fortunate to have studied with a few of the present and former members. I certainly enjoyed recalling their music making as I composed this work. My three years as a member of the trombone section of the Symphony Band cemented my sense for what this great band could accomplish, as did the opportunity I had in 1990 to compose a work (The Soaring Hawk) for the performance given by Dr. Welch and the Symphony Band at the national convention of the American Bandmasters Association. The writing process wasn’t necessarily easy by any means but it sure was familiar and enjoyable!

Until the Walls and Rafters Ring treats the brass quintet and band as equal partners in celebration. As the musical materials began to emerge, I found myself picturing and hearing a barn dance going on — perhaps solely because of the word “rafters” and having nothing to do with agricultural reference! Rather than fight this inclination, I allowed the music to go down that path upon occasion. This dance music is joined by fanfares, reflective music and noble themes to create a strong sense of pride and accomplishment within the celebration. Ultimately, my hope is that the work will communicate directly these intentions to an appreciative audience as it commemorates the centennial of the School of Music.

This performance is of the premiere in 2007, with Dr. Myron Welch conducting the UI Symphony Band with the Iowa Brass Quintet as guest artists.

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