UNT Wind Symphony, Eugene Corporon
Featured in "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Vol. 9"
Bb Clarinet 1/2
Bb Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Bb Trumpet 1
Bb Trumpet 2
Percussion 1 (Snare Drum, Bass Drum)
Percussion 2 (Tambourine, Triangle)
Percussion 3 (Wind Chimes, Suspended Cymbal)
Percussion 4 (Bells, Xylophone)
Gate City Snapshot was commissioned by Brent Davis and the 2011-12 Mendenhall Middle School 8th Grade Band. When I initially talked with the students (whiles they were 7th graders), I asked what sort of extra-musical inspiration they would want the piece to be based upon. We settled generally on the idea of trains, but more specifically on The Depot – a historical landmark in downtown Greensboro, NC. When built in 1927, it was the biggest, most elaborate station ever built in North Carolina with 90 trains passing through every day. For this reason, Greensboro was nicknamed the “Gate City.” Also opening in 1927 Greensboro was the Carolina Theatre – a 2,200-seat vaudeville theater that was considered to be the finest of its kind between Washington D.C. and Atlanta. This being the end of the vaudeville era, The Carolina Theatre quickly transitioned into a movie theater and was the first in the state to show “talkies,” including “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson. One of the most famous songs to come out of the movie was "Blue Skies" (1926) by Irving Berlin. Its chord progression provided the harmonic foundation for Gate City Snapshot.
Gate City Snapshot opens rather reflectively, transporting us to another era – Greensboro, NC in 1927. Imagine the excitement of hopping on a southbound train from Virginia to North Carolina to go to the movies at this spectacular new vaudeville movie theatre. Now imagine that you've fallen asleep on the trip and awaken inside the movie on a runaway train. Do you have what it takes to stop the train in time before it hits the end of the line? "Gate City Snapshot" plays out like the soundtrack to an adventure movie, complete with the Hollywood ending.