This was a commissioned work by the <a href=”http://www.mtmorrisschools.org/band/home.asp” target=”_blank”>Mount Morris High School Band</a> under the direction of James Davis. I was asked to write this piece by Mr. Davis in August of 2007, after many emails and discussions about the group personnel I began to write. I wanted to give them a good piece of music that was both challenging yet playable. Tonality in this piece is very prominent, thought I allowed myself to play with a few borrowed chords. I wanted to add a contemporary feeling as well as keeping the concepts of the piece rather simple. Having mostly focused on smaller ensembles as of late I gladly took on the project, with open arms.
The piece was premiered the Spring of 2008 and I am honored that they will be performing the piece in multiple locations! One of which will be the MSBOA Festival.
Program notes written by James Davis: A New Beginning was commissioned by the Mt. Morris Bands. This very challenging work honors the lives of Ken Galbreath and Dennis Anderson, long time music teachers, mentors, and friends in the Mt. Morris School District.
The piece begins triumphantly with brass fanfares and a majestic percussion accompaniment. Despite several tempo changes, this new work for Concert Band never stops churning. Hard at work throughout, moving lines keep the pulse steady. Budding composer, Andrew Neer, captures the life of the music director in A New Beginning. Listeners can sense the urgency, work ethic, determination, and long term vision both Galbreath and Anderson shared amidst the turmoil and tribulations public school teaching, music, and life outside school walls challenged these role models with.
On several occasions Neer’s Beginning reveals the pain and hardship all music directors try to mask while leading the youth to an understanding of art and imagination, of wonder and excitement.
This piece is a beautiful tribute to these two Mt. Morris legends. The title A New Beginning is as much about Galbreath and Anderson as it is about ‘us.’ Now ‘we’ carry their torch and it is ‘our’ job to share the joy of music with those around us…now without out beloved teachers walking beside us, but rather, watching over us.”