I. Comin' to Town
- Performer(s) Dale Warland Singers, Dale Warland, conductor
This piece is a three-part collection based on poetry by American pioneers. The texts are full of a kind of raw energy, swashbuckling attitude and profundity of heart and commitment characteristic of those settlers west of the Hudson. I had also looked at the more erudite essays of Coleridge-Taylor, Thoreau and Emerson, but chose the rougher stanzas because the primitive voices, the pioneers, were profound simply in the way they expressed the nature of their experiences. The first piece, Comin’ to Town, is about cowboys after a month on the range -- bawdy, rowdy and raucous. The second, Beneath These Alien Stars, is about the bonding of the human spirit to the land. The third piece, A Hoopla, depicts a barn dance and vocalists circle ‘round the instruments, stomp, clap, and generally perform with abandon, vigor and boisterousness. The Settling Years was commissioned and premiered by The Singing Sergeants and the United States Air Force Band for the 150th anniversary of the Music Educators National Convention.