The title, Inner Sanctum, was derived from feeling the commissioning ensembles feels about their bandroom: a safe, sacred place free of all of the distractions of the outside world. The piece begins with a sense of nostalgia and reflection before moving into a faster uplifting section driven by the piano and keyboard percussion. Your students will be begging you to play this one over and over.
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 3 | Duration: 4:30
Bb Clarinet 1
Bb Clarinet 2
Bb Clarinet 3
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone 1
Eb Alto Saxophone 2
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet 1
Bb Trumpet 2
F Horn 1
F Horn 2
Percussion 1 [2 Players] (Snare Drum, Bass Drum)
Percussion 2 (Suspended Cymbal, Wind Chimes, Finger Cymbals)
Inner Sanctum was commissioned and premiered by the Brooklyn Center High School Concert Band in 2007. Before I began composing, I met with the band to see what direction they wanted their piece to take. In the end, they decided that they really wanted the piece to be personal to them; they wanted it to tell their story.
Like many band programs, Brooklyn Center’s band program has experienced its highs and lows. In 2002, there were less than twenty students left in the program, verging on the level of extinction. This is when the turnaround began. The students of that band overcame tremendous difficulties and took the program to new heights. The pinnacle of their achievements came in 2006 when they were honored with a GRAMMY Signature School Enterprise Award, an award received by only two institutions in the country that year.
The opening of Inner Sanctum is both simply set and sparsely orchestrated, reminiscent of the band of 2002. It unfolds slowly, often interrupted but not deterred. Eventually the tempo increases and the piece takes on a lighter, more optimistic feel. This music represents the band a few years later; things have improved and the program has a definite direction. Things continue to build in this fashion until measure 78, affectionately named by the students in rehearsal as the “BC GRAMMY Chord.” This chord literally spells out, “BC GRAMMY” if you cycle the letters through all of the musical pitches: B=Bb, C=C, G=G, R=D, A=A, M=F, Y=D. This can be clearly seen in the piano part of that measure.
While the GRAMMY Award certainly validated all of the hard work needed to achieve it, it also raised new questions and insecurities. The students wondered how they could even top this achievement, or simply rebound from the emotional letdown that naturally followed. In the end, the students learned that while this was a great honor, they cannot live in the past and must continue to work hard to ensure success in the future. The piece ends as uncertain as it began, meant to emphasize that the story of the Brooklyn Center Band Program is far from finished; it is, in fact, being written and revised each and every day.
The title, Inner Sanctum, was derived from feeling the Brooklyn Center Band feels about the bandroom: a safe, sacred place free of all of the distractions of the outside world.