A Sacred Suite is a three-movement work inspired by traditional American shape-note songs. The first movement is a fanfare, the second is a beautiful slow tune found in the Southern Harmony singing book called Consolation, and the third is a rollicking 6/8 that combines two tunes, "True Happiness' from Southern Harmony and 'How Firm a Foundation.'
Genre: Band | # of Players: Standard
Level: 3 | Duration: 7:20
Clarinet in Bb 1/2
Clarinet in Bb 3
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Trumpet in Bb 1
Trumpet in Bb 2/3
Horn in F 1/2
Mallets (Chimes, Bells, Xylophone)
Percussion 1 [2 players] (Snare Drum, Maracas, Bass Drum, Claves)
Percussion 2 (Suspended Cymbal, Woodblock, Cabasa, Tambourine)
Percussion 3 (Crash Cymbals, Triangle, Wind Chimes)
A Sacred Suite is a three-movement work that uses American songs from the shaped note singing books Southern Harmony and Harmonie Sacra and an old English hymn. The first movement, “Spirit of the Ages Fanfare,” begins with a fanfare motive that is passed around the brass and leads into O God Our Help in Ages Past by William Croft. A short fugal section pays homage to two great composers of past ages and sort of plays into the idea behind the title. The movement is 76 measures long, like in the “Spirit of 76!” (bad pun!) The second movement features a euphonium solo in a Holst-like setting of the beautiful Southern Harmony song, “Consolation.” The third movement combines “True Happiness” from Southern Harmony with Joseph Funk’s “How Firm a Foundation” from Harmonie Sacra into a rollicking 6/8 allegro. There are also short tributes to Holst and Grainger. A Sacred Suite was commissioned by the 2006 Orange County (Orlando, FL) Public School Ninth-Tenth Grade Honor Band and premiered by the ensemble January 21 with the composer conducting.
The work is dedicated to the composer’s parents. “My mother has been a church organist since before I was born and I have many fond memories of her opening up the pipes and letting it rip. My father, a music educator and composer, taught me how to orchestrate and to appreciate counterpoint.”