compositions | band | through the horizon (2007)

through the horizon (2007)

Medium: Symphonic Band
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Composed: 2007
Duration: 6:00
Difficulty: Grade 4


Flute 1/2
Oboe (opt.) 
Bassoon (opt.) 
B-flat Clarinet 1/2
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

Horn in F 1
Horn in F 2
B-flat Trumpet 1
B-flat Trumpet 2
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Baritone B.C. (Baritone T.C.) 

Percussion 1 (bells, xylophone)
Percussion 2 (vibraphone, chimes, tam-tam)
Percussion 3 (chimes, bass drum, snare drum, woodblock, crash cymbals)
Percussion 4 (wind chimes, suspended cymbal, tambourine, bass drum)

At a mass meeting in 1954, about 200 citizens representing all sections of Davie County, North Carolina voted unanimously to consolidate the four high schools – Cooleemee, Farmington, Mocksville, and Shady Grove – into one high school, resulting in the forming of Davie County High School in 1956. Through the Horizon was commissioned by the Davie County Band Boosters to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic occasion. The piece was premiered on May 31, 2007 by the Davie County High School Band in Mocksville, NC, directed by Marc Schaub. The title of the piece is derived from the title of the poem, “Walking Through the Horizon” by short story writer Margaret Holley. While the horizon is something we can physically never touch or reach, I like the image of walking through it as a symbol of achieving what seemed to be an unattainable goal.

Two large sections comprise the 6-minute work. The first, Reflection, is a solemn and nostalgic look back to the convergence of the four communities. With a backdrop of sparkling mallet percussion and wind chimes, all of the wind players sing a simple four-note motive representing the four schools. Following the singing, fragments of the main “Celebration” theme are first heard in solo flute and trumpet and then by the entire ensemble building to a glorious climax.

The second section, Celebration, is a bright and joyful look at the present state and future possibilities of the school. The main theme is derived from the rhythm of the words “Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together … Dance all ye joyful, now dance all together,” excerpted from a celebratory poem by J.R.R. Tolkien. All thematic material for the work sprang out of this original theme. Once again, the four schools that came together to form Davie High School are represented, this time by four different incarnations of the “Celebration” theme (see m. 35, 52, 62, and 86).

The work keeps driving towards a conclusion, but cannot seem to reach it. Finally, the singing returns, interspersed with powerful blows in the percussion section, and leads into the final chord in E-flat major.