(Calm) Before the Storm (grade 2.5 wind ensemble OR 4-part flex)


Taken from a movement of my trumpet trio RPM(Calm) Before the Storm is an acknowledgment of the uncertainty of our shared futures—and a commitment to making the most out of the time we have with the people we love. With tonal centers in concert B-flat and F, with exactly one F# in some parts, this work is suitable for grade 2.5 wind ensemble; it is also available for 4-part flex ensemble. Run time: approx. 2′. (Perusal score coming soon!)


(Looking for the trumpet trio or brass quartet that uses this work as the second movement? Hop on over to RPM.)

Most people who know me know how much I love traveling, but fewer people are aware of how difficult it is for me to be away from home for any long period of time. I’m a homebody who likes exploring new places, and those two facets can clash pretty extravagantly at times—like when I move somewhere new. This was painfully true the first time I moved to Arizona; I was living away from my family for the first time, and for my entire first semester I was painfully homesick and trying too hard to fit in with people I didn’t have much in common with at all. As I acclimated, the two freshman trumpet performance majors I sat with in music theory quickly became two of my favorite people. They were kind, goofy, killer musicians who were happy to hang out with the lone composition major in the brass studio. We were a ragtag trio, for sure, but with them, I felt like maybe I could get the feeling of home out in the desert, too.

Over time, “home” for me has shifted from a definite place to the feeling of security that comes from being around the people you love. They might be the family you were born into, or they could be folks you met along the way, or a mixture of the two. (“Home” right now is also, by default, wherever my cats are.) Those freshman performance majors were the beginning of that shift, though, and in 2015, I wrote the three of us a piece to commemorate our friendship before our specialty coursework took us further and further away from each other. That piece was RPM, and I built it by creating one movement for each of us. I wrote mine to my liking right away, but four other movements were in contention, built to play on the strengths of one of my counterparts. One late-night reading session later, each of them picked the movement they liked the best, and the final format was born.

The ballad in the middle, though not the movement I wrote for myself, has always been near and dear to my heart. Based off of a tuning exercise I did that year with the fantastic Dr. Alex Wilson, it is short, heartfelt, and a fun exploration of counterpoint when played as a trio. Despite several revisits over the intervening years, including an orchestration for brass quartet, I’ve always felt it deserved a bigger stage than I was able to give it at the time. So now, seven and a half years after its composition and premiere, it reappears once more, this time for wind ensemble.

(Calm) Before the Storm was always an acknowledgement of what might be coming next—the uncertainty of our shared futures. It feels timely to introduce it again amidst a world that faces what seems to be increasing uncertainty each day. Though every performer and audience member will have their own experience of the piece, I hope it serves as a reminder that even when the road ahead is perhaps very foggy and treacherous, we can find meaning and wonder in the world around us. All we have to do is look for it.

Run time: approx. 2′.

(Performance notes available in the score)

Note: ALL wind ensemble purchases automatically include the 4-part flex edition. For smaller groups, a standalone flex option (select “Flex Only”) is available at a discounted price.

Frequently asked: How do I pronounce the name of this piece?
Answer: Either of two ways work for me. You can say every word out loud (I recommend a brief pause after “calm” to make the parentheses almost audible) or omit “calm” entirely. Please always print the entire name in your programs, though.
Is it okay if I add percussion?
Answer: Absolutely! As long as they’re playing the parts in front of them, it’s fine with me. I recommend selecting instruments that will blend well timbrally with what you already have.
How is this piece related to neverending rain?
Answer: If (Calm) is looking at a big life/relationship change before it happens, neverending rain is the view from its midst. While rain is about processing and navigating the changes that can disrupt every part of our lives, (Calm) is about making the most of the time you have with someone, no matter how short or how long. The two pieces can be programmed together or separately, by one group or multiple.

Additional information


Wind Ensemble, Flex Only


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