by Jeremy S. Martin (Grade 5, 12:45)
FIRST SUITE FOR BAND was commissioned by the Tennessee Tech University Band Alumni Association to commemorate Professor Joseph W. Hermann’s 20th year as Director of Bands at TTU. Musically, the composition itself was created as a celebration of the collegiate experience. As an undergraduate at Tennessee Technological University, I took great pride in learning about the school and its history. While contemplating this work, I visited the campus in Cookeville, TN for the first time in nearly ten years. The smell of the maple trees, the sight of the purple & gold flowers, and the sounds of the Derryberry Hall clock tower immediately took me back to the excitement of the campus environment. While my time as a student at Tennessee Tech is an experience I will always cherish, my fondness for my own alma mater is a type of affection shared by most anyone who has endured the trials of higher education. As students we cheer for our team, wear our school’s colors, and live our lives around campus events; years later as alumni we recall those experiences with overwhelming nostalgia. It is this devotion – and those experiences – to which this work is dedicated.
Movement I: March
The suite begins with a traditional march as a tribute to the military-related background shared by a large number of our nation’s universities. Many of these institutions were founded in the 1800s (or even earlier) as military preparatory academies. While most of them no longer have any direct military affiliation, the march is a nod to this common foundation.
It must also be noted that as a young clarinetist, Joseph Hermann played principal clarinet in Karl King’s band in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and is a fervent supporter of the rich heritage of marches found in our wind band repertoire. No work dedicated to Joe would be complete without a march! Finally, the euphonium solo at the trio is a nod to the TTU Tuba Studio, and may be played either as a solo or – for the more daring! – as a euphonium section soli.
Movement II: Tradition
The second movement represents the pride shown by collegiate students as they gather after graduation so sing their alma mater, or by alumni who reunite to share fond memories. As a dedication to Professor Hermann, this second movement is a setting of two alma maters that are unique to their respective schools: the “Tennessee Tech Hymn,” and “The Drake Hymn” from Drake University (Hermann’s own alma mater).
Movement III: Homecoming
The third movement is designed to capture the sights, sounds and excitement of Homecoming Day – mainly the action and excitement of the homecoming football game. Most notably there is a “kickoff” at measure 28, a “punt” at measure 71, and lots of up-and-down motion that (like a close game) switches frequently from heroic to nail-biting; in this movement the listener should feel free to interpret these dramatic moments with their own imagination. Throughout the movement, melodic fragments of both the Tennessee Tech and Drake University fight songs are used, and extensive percussion provides a hint of marching band to the overall atmosphere.
Jeremy S. Martin
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