VOX NOSTRA (Gr.4)
For Symphonic Winds & Narration
Duration Approximately 8:45
FULL SCORE / 2 1 1 3 (+Bass) Alto (2), Tenor, Bari / 3 2 3 1 1 / Timp Perc (5)
Commissioned by the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association, District III, for theOxford High School Wind Ensemble, Jim Gibbons, Director. Dedicated to the studentslost on November 30, 2021, and the survivors who bravely carry on.
On November 30, 2021, a mass shooting occurred at Oxford High School in the Detroit exurb of Oxford Township, Michigan. Four students were killed and seven people were injured, including a teacher. Shortly afterwards, I was approached by the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association (District 3) and asked to compose a piece of music for the Oxford High School Band, to commemorate the lives of the deceased, and honor the survivors. This work is the result of several dialogues I held with Jim Gibbons (the Oxford Director of Bands), the students at Oxford, and the incredible community of music directors in the state.
I initially struggled with finding the right approach for this piece, as there were so many important and complex points of view about the subject matter. It was important to me that the voices of the Oxford students themselves were represented, and included in the performance, hence the title "VOX NOSTRA" (OUR VOICE in Latin) . The resulting work juxtaposes the students words of anguish, anger, and despair against the consonant and reflective harmonies that honor the lives of the deceased. It offers the listener an opportunity to experience this range of emotions; disbelief, sorrow, anger, regret, but also healing, and ultimately, hope.