Runner-up in the 2014 Duluth Symphony Orchestra Young Composers Competition
ca. 4 minutes
I have always been a fan of American History and wanted to write a piece which depicted a historic time, event, and most importantly, folk song. When I combined the three together, I created a story describing a family and their journey across America on the Oregon Trail titled Shenandoah, Our Home.
The story begins with a family packing in preparation to say their goodbyes. The family says goodbye to loved ones and friends which takes a toll on both the children and parents (measure 1 - 15). Although difficult, the family begins their journey across the 2,000 mile trail in hopes for a better life. While traveling along the trail they encounter other families, play games in the wagon, and tell stories to pass the time (measure 17). As the sun begins to set they pull the wagon to the top of a hill to view a beautiful spectacle (measure 25).
With the evening upon them, they begin to set up camp while dinner is being prepared (measure 28). As dinner is served, they all sit around the campfire. The family reminiscences of past memories while dreaming of the new life in the west (measure 38). But as the fire dies out the family knows that they must go to bed in order to continue the journey tomorrow. Once the children are tucked in soundly, the father turns to his candle, gives it a gentle blow, and falls asleep (measure 43-48).
It is a new and glorious morning as the sun pokes out. The family is excited and ready to set off once again (measure 50). The journey continues with a little more energy with the belief that the new settlement is soon to come (measure 58). As they see their new home in the distance, the children jump out of the wagon and race ahead (measure 68). To the parents' surprise, the children stop. When the wagon reaches the children, the parents can now see why they stopped....they made it, their new home was right in front of them. The family walked through the town soaking in all the new sights, sounds, and people, happy to have made it safely (measure 78).
The family moves into their new house and just as the last item is placed in its new spot, the father looks to the family and says, "This is Shenandoah, Our Home."