McBeth: Fanfare and Hymn (Band Version)
Fanfare and Hymn
for Wind Ensemble
by Stephen Hill (ASCAP)
SARAHTIM Music Publishing
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Score Reduction / Analysis
McBeth - Fanfare and Hymn: This piece was originally written for the California High School (Whittier) combined Band and Orchestra to perform as the 2014 Graduation Recessional. My colleague, Doug Nordquist, director of Bands at California High School, was informed that the Administration wanted to have a formal Recessional for the end of the Graduation Ceremonies. Doug and I discussed several possible pieces in the established Band repertoire. With three weeks to go before Graduation, I got out my sketchbook where I would jot down musical themes and ideas and took out a tune I had written months earlier and started to compose a recessional sketch. I sent the short sketch to Doug, and he immediately responded with his approval and asked if I could finish it in time. I completed the piece in two weekends, which then left one week for the Band and Orchestra to rehearse it and have it ready for graduation. The piece was immediately accepted by the students. My cherished memory of the evening took place on the way back to the band room after the Graduation Ceremony. As I was walking near some of the students in the percussion section, I could overhear a few of them humming the “Hymn” tune. I consider having members of the percussion section humming a tune that I had written, a very, very, cool honor indeed.
The piece begins with a short fanfare that moves into a lyrical hymn tune. As the piece progresses, there is a slight increase in tempo to the second tune. This second tune is then followed by a brief percussion break. The percussion break was specifically written to give the members in that section, (the ones who usually end up standing around during Pomp and Circumstance), a chance to play something as they might find in a “Drum-line”. The piece returns to the beginning fanfare with a restatement of both tunes and eventually ending with a massive chordal statement that builds from the lower to the upper instruments in a timbre pyramid.
The title, McBeth, is a tribute to my composition teacher, Dr. W. Francis McBeth. It was at Ouachita Baptist University, that I received the personal attention of Dr. McBeth. He showed genuine interest in both my compositions for his class and in me personally. One special memory took place in the hallway while I was on my way to class. Dr. McBeth came up to me and said, “Stephen, I was thinking about your piece last night, and I have an idea for it.” I was very moved that he was thinking about my piece outside of class. He was a very kind teacher and friend. Being from California and going to school in Arkansas, I obviously did not go home on weekends, so Dr. McBeth would often invite me to his house to visit with him. We would talk, not only about music, but faith in God, purpose in life, and also about a love for fishing. We stayed in touch for over thirty years until his passing in 2012.
Composed - 2014