Robert Clayson, Marimba
Those who know me will be aware of the fact that the Clayson family boasts members of more than one branch of the military. While I have never seen the military as the right career for me, I have always had immense respect for the people who willingly choose to serve in our nation’s armed forces. The Mourning at Fort Polk is a piece that tells the story of a tragedy that happened while my father was getting ready for his first deployment overseas.
One afternoon when he was getting ready to deploy for a tour of Iraq, we got a phone call from Fort Polk in Louisiana, where he was stationed. I answered the phone to hear Dad say, “Put your mother on the phone.” It was clear to me that this was not like the usual daily phone call we had been receiving from him over the past few weeks. After she had spoken to him, my mom told me that one of the soldiers in Dad’s unit had been killed during a routine navigation training exercise.
The events of that day have always deeply troubled me because from that day forward, that family would now be forever incomplete, losing a family member to war who hadn’t yet seen combat. It was a shattering realization that sacrificing all for your country does not necessarily mean dying on a battlefield.
This piece is written with a 5.0-octave feel for a 4.3-octave marimba as a reminder that some things are bigger than ourselves. The Mourning at Fort Polk is dedicated to all of the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. May your service and many sacrifices never be forgotten.
For more information on this piece, please check out my website! www.robertclaysonpercussion.com