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Cycles, Op. 101 (2018)

For Concert Band

Live Performance:

Virtual ensemble of past and present NMRHS band students; Joe Clark, conductor; Kyle Kashiwabara, audio; Jack Low, video

Duration: 6'18"

Instrumentation:

  • Piccolo
  • Flute 1
  • Flute 2
  • Oboe 1
  • Oboe 2
  • Bassoon 1
  • Bassoon 2
  • Contrabassoon
  • Eb Clarinet
  • Bb Clarinet 1
  • Bb Clarinet 2
  • Bb Clarinet 3
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Soprano Saxophone
  • Alto Saxophone 1
  • Alto Saxophone 2
  • Tenor Saxophone
  • Baritone Saxophone
  • ---
  • Bb Trumpet 1
  • Bb Trumpet 2
  • Bb Trumpet 3
  • Horn 1
  • Horn 2
  • Horn 3
  • Horn 4
  • Trombone 1
  • Trombone 2
  • Trombone 3
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • ---
  • Violin
  • Double Bass
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Harp
  • Timpani
  • Percussion 1: Bongos, Maracas
  • Percussion 2: Triangle
  • Percussion 3: Sleigh Bells, Tambourine
  • Percussion 4: Snare Drum
  • Percussion 5: Suspended Cymbal, Toms (4)
  • Percussion 6: Mark Tree, Bass Drum
  • Percussion 7: Tam-tam
  • Glockenspiel
  • Xylophone
  • Vibraphone
  • Chimes
  • Marimba

Program Notes:

"I was interested to learn that there's an 'Epic Quotes by Mr. Bielik' Facebook page yesterday. [...] They weren't even very good. I've said much better things."

-Mr. Bielik

"Oh, Joe. You're like a court stenographer. I need to watch what I say, lest it be written down immediately... under a page protector."-Mr. Bielik

Jason Bielik's leavetaking from North Middlesex Regional High School came as a surprise to all of us. The move (to become music director of the Medfield school district) was logical, and circumstances necessitated the timing. However, the last time a band director left the district (M. Kevin Tellier), a big ceremony was staged to honor his career. Right after the news broke, Thomas Giuffre and Alison Roush approached me to see if we could field a similar event. I didn't think this was a good idea, both from a practical perspective of timing and given that I didn't feel Mr. Bielik would appreciate being honored at a large public ceremony the same way Mr. Tellier had.

However, we quickly came up with the idea of doing a virtual band project. Mr. Bielik and I agree that the ultimate goal of a high school music teacher of any stripe is to allow students to develop the skills they need to continue making music after they graduate - not to send students to high-powered conservatories, not to pump out professional musicians, but rather to allow them to partake in one of the most fundamental human activities. There seemed to be no better way to honor Mr. Bielik's eleven years at North Middlesex than to put together a virtual ensemble of alumni spanning his career at North Middlesex.

As I began writing, several disparate motives came to mind, but the overall form and direction of the piece remained elusive for quite a while. Eventually, I realised the connection between the form and the shape of a band program. When you arrive at a new program, you see both where the band is as well as where you want it to be. One of the many jobs of a band director is to bridge that gap, to gradually reveal to the ensemble what they are capable of achieving.