Mark This Day
for chorus and wind band
Commissioned by the Salem School District in Salem, NH for the opening of the Seifert Performing Arts Center, and in loving memory of Ben B. Barbagallo.
Salem High School is where it all began. I had signed up to take an elective course in music theory—building upon the music lessons I had taken from my mother at the piano since age 7. One day, I was playing one of my Beethoven works on the piano in the chorus room, and I was tapped on the shoulder. I looked up, and Marty Claussen was there, and he said, “You should join the band.”
I can’t remember how I responded—probably something like “I should?”—but I do know that a few months later, I was picking up mallets and playing on marimbas and xylophones for the first time, learning the music for the upcoming marching band field show (“Les Misérables”). A few months later, I joined the high school chorus with Ellen Bosch, the first singing experience I had outside of church.
To be asked to write a work for this institution, to help to dedicate the new performing arts center, and to come full circle from my time as a student to my work now as a tenured faculty member at one of the greatest music schools in the world—this is humbling to me in the highest degree. I am honored and grateful to share in the dedication of the new Seifert Performing Arts Center, a place that I hope will inspire many young musicians just as I was.
Mark This Day is a work of occasion, pomp, and celebration. Using the Welsh hymn tune HYFRYDOL, the music grows from its quiet and mysterious opening to the fiery fortes of the conclusion.
I am grateful to Lauren Peithmann, Jared Cassedy, and Mike Delahanty for making this project possible, and I am honored to dedicate this work to Marty Claussen, Ellen Bosch, and my mother Eileen, for starting me down this joyous and wondrous road of music.
Mark this day and room, we say
As it resounds by night and day.
Mark these walls so firm and strong,
Home to all who sing along.
Mark these doors as we pass through
To play and dance and grow anew.
Mark us now, and hear our call
As we join our song for all.