We all have them. There are just certain songs that hit us right in the feels and switch on the waterworks. For most of us, those particular songs have lyrics that are moving. But for some of us, the instrumental music and how it was written gets us going more than a melancholy country ballad. I want to introduce you to one that describes the former.
In high school, my band director pulled this piece by Frank Ticheli. When I read the title and the dedication, I immediately knew I would love it. “An American Elegy” is, in my opinion, Frank Ticheli’s best piece of all time. It is crafted so well and includes all the right elements to fit the dedication. It was commissioned in memory of the lives lost and in honor of the survivors at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. When we performed it in our 2007 spring concert, the trumpet soloist near the end of the piece went to the back of the room, behind the band, to play his solo. It was then that the tears began to flow. Thankfully, I didn’t have a percussion part for this piece. It’s kinda long, but I hope you’ll take the time to listen to it in its entirety.