by Patrick J. Burns (Grade 5, 8:00)
The title of this work is not a reference to a fertile desert area, but rather a metaphoric one: a place of reflection, rest, and refuge from the burdens of the world. We all have at least one oasis, whether it be another person, a faith, a pet, a vocation or a hobby – something or someone to whom we can turn for rejuvenation when we need it most.
OASIS was written for the New Jersey Wind Symphony, one of the finest adult community bands in the country, and its director, my long-time friend Chris Wilhjelm. But it’s also dedicated to and inspired by another friend, Todd Stefan, who lost his wife in a tragic accident in July 2014. Before her life ended, Kristen Stefan saved her son and another boy from drowning in Lake Erie during a family vacation. I struggled for three years to write a piece for Todd in Kristen’s memory, and it just so happens that OASIS became that piece.
All of my music is deeply personal, and OASIS is no exception. The music, meant to transport you to that special and unique place in your mind and spirit, is lyrical, colorful, pensive, sometimes dramatic, but always mysteriously inviting. I invite you to listen actively, and to imagine freely.
Patrick J. Burns January 28, 2018