neverending rain (grade 2.5 wind ensemble OR four-part flex)

$25.00$50.00

Commissioned via consortium, neverending rain explores how our relationships—and lives—change as we get to know ourselves more completely. For better, for worse, and for weirder, it can feel like standing in the middle of a storm, and in those moments, it helps to know how to dance in the rain. All wind ensemble scores automatically include the flex edition, but for smaller groups, the flex version will be available for standalone purchase at a discounted price.

Description

If your institution is subject to a “Don’t Say Gay”-type policy, please use these program notes:
[please scroll down for alternate notes]

As we grow up, whether we’re thirteen or thirty or fifty or ninety, the things and ideas we value change. Sometimes, it’s not necessarily that they change—it’s that we come to a better understanding of ourselves or something important in our lives. We, in many regards, are exactly the same, but how we approach and navigate the world? That might be drastically different.

Getting to understand yourself better can even be scary sometimes, especially when you worry the world will treat you differently. In these pivotal moments, be they large or small, many of us hope for the unwavering support of our friends and loved ones. Sometimes that support is immediate and strong, but other times, that’s not the case. And in any such scenario, figuring out how to navigate those relationships can be hard. It can feel easier in the moment to diminish ourselves and retreat back in order to preserve those bonds. Sometimes, with people like parents or teachers, that’s a necessary decision—but doing it with everyone, forever? That wears on the soul.

And while some relationships of all kinds may come and go despite our hopes of their permanence, there will always be a few that surprise you. Maybe that guy across the country who you play video games with will be at your fiftieth birthday party! Maybe someone who was a background character in your life will turn out to be one of your best friends! Maybe someone you met in your most boring class will be with you through thick and thin, all the way until the end! The relationships we find in the world often surprise us. While some may have surprise sad endings, we may find unexpected heroes in others. Some may have long, wandering, twisty middles where somebody tries to acknowledge who we are rather than who they thought we’d be. Some may be short moments in time that make us feel alive or prompt more self-reflection. We don’t know where these journeys might take us, or how long we’ll walk the path, but the better we know ourselves, the better we can know each other. And that’s perhaps one of the greatest gifts of all.

neverending rain is a follow-up to a piece I wrote for two people who were pivotally important parts of my life in undergrad. While we mostly wave at each other on social media now (and live in three different states), I’ll never deny that they were two people who have brought exponentially more fun into my life and genuinely changed the ways I think about new adventures. Even though they are no longer active parts of my life, I’m a better person for having known them. Depending on who you are and where you’re at in your own relationships, neverending rain may be reflective, hopeful, or even a little bit sad—and that’s okay. In times of change, sometimes when we look out at the world we see an endless sea of gray. But I promise you: learning to dance in the rain, or even just knowing that’s a great day to curl up and reread a book or watch a beloved show, will make far better memories than just sitting in the downpour.

If your programs and teaching are not censored by your institution, please use these program notes:
As we grow up, whether we’re thirteen or thirty or fifty or ninety, the things and ideas we value change. Sometimes, it’s not necessarily that they change—it’s that we come to a better understanding of ourselves or something important in our lives. We, in many regards, are exactly the same, but how we approach and navigate the world? That might be drastically different.

Getting to understand yourself better can even be scary sometimes, especially when you worry the world will treat you differently. In these pivotal moments, be they large or small, many of us hope for the unwavering support of our friends and loved ones. Sometimes that support is immediate and strong, but other times, that’s not the case. And in any such scenario, figuring out how to navigate those relationships can be hard. It can feel easier in the moment to diminish ourselves and retreat back in order to preserve those bonds. Sometimes, with people like parents or teachers, that’s a necessary decision—but doing it with everyone, forever? That wears on the soul.

When I came out, I learned within a year that many friends and colleagues I’d known for half a decade weren’t so interested in supporting or welcoming me now that I didn’t fit the version of me they’d built up in their heads. It was jarring to experience that shift during what was supposed to be a joyful time of publicly embracing who I’ve come to realize I am, and I would be lying if I told you it was an easy part of my transition. However, that backdrop illuminated a few close friends who were sticking with me no matter what—and as I started to meet new people as myself, the acceptance and overt support I received in those spaces really showed me how much I was valued. Some of these things took a long time to manifest (and there are a few relationships I’m still unsure of years later), but I could not have fully identified these people who would stick with me as I transitioned until I transitioned. And since I took that step, I can confidently say that I know who’s looking out for my wellbeing, not just their ideas of who I should be.

But here’s the thing: this reorienting of relationships happens to all of us at some point or another. It may not be on such a vast scale, but if you’ve ever had a friend decide they’re just not into you anymore, you’ve probably felt something similar. Each of these moments can be acutely painful, no matter their cause! neverending rain is my attempt to speak to these complexities. It’s a follow-up to a piece I wrote for two people who were pivotally important parts of my life in undergrad. While we mostly wave at each other on social media now (and live in three different states), I’ll never deny that they were two people who have brought exponentially more fun into my life and genuinely changed the ways I think about new adventures. Even though they are no longer active parts of my life, I’m a better person for having known them. Depending on who you are and where you’re at in your own relationships, neverending rain may be reflective, hopeful, or even a little bit sad—and that’s okay. In times of change, sometimes when we look out at the world we see an endless sea of gray. But I promise you: learning to dance in the rain, or even just knowing that’s a great day to curl up and reread a book or watch a beloved show, will make far better memories than just sitting in the downpour.

Run time: approx. 4’10”.

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 should I write the name of this piece in programs/posts/etc.?
Answer: In all lowercase (“neverending rain”). This song is intentionally not written with Capital Letter Energy; please honor that by writing it as I’ve written it for your programs and other media.
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 (Calm) Before the Storm?
Answer: If (Calm) is looking at a big life/relationship change before it happens, neverending rain is the view from its midst. This piece is about making the most of the time you have with someone, and rain is about processing and navigating the changes that can disrupt even the most significant parts of our lives. The two pieces can be programmed together or separately, by one group or multiple.

Notes to the director and performers (excerpts):

neverending rain is a piece designed to allow its performers flexibility to choose the most comfortable options for them. This is reflected in various places throughout the score, but especially in the presence of ossia options, the Choose Your Own Percussion setup, and the intentionally open- ended instructions for air sounds. Whether you’re working with middle schoolers or adult professionals, my highest priority is to ensure that each member of the ensemble can engage with the music in ways that work for them—and for the audience. Below are some further thoughts on each of these large topics and additional considerations you may want to incorporate into your performance.

Ossia options: some instrumental parts in neverending rain venture near registers that may not be familiar to some grade 2 ensembles. I’ve included ossia options via small noteheads whenever I’ve identified a moment where players might be more comfortable in another octave. Your performance should tailor these to your performers’ needs. I’ll be thrilled with any route they choose through the lines. If your ensemble is comfortable with playing either line, I invite you to play with the options and consider what might be the most musically impactful choice for your performance!

Percussion setup: neverending rain is intentionally scored down in the percussion section, because I want it to be playable by small groups as well as large ones. However, please diversify your percussion setups to your heart’s content with my blessing! Put multiple people on each part! Choose instruments that you feel would help build up the idea of a storm! Get creative with found percussion or use traditional instruments in nontraditional ways! Though it’s officially scored for thunder sheet, rain stick, and finger cymbals, if your instrumentation is very limited, a bass drum, a suspended cymbal, and a triangle will work perfectly well. (Additional ideas for more elaborate percussion setups provided in full performance notes.)

Air sounds: wind players have diamond noteheads written into their parts at two to three points in the piece: the opening eight bars, rehearsal D to rehearsal E, and the final eight bars. These are listed in the parts as “air/rustling sounds” and can be realized however the ensemble chooses. Whether you’re blowing unpitched air through instruments, crumpling paper, or doing some other delightful thing, you’re shooting for ambient noise that contributes to the rainscape the percussionists are creating throughout the piece. (To help keep everyone in consonant overtone series should actual air sounds be used, I’ve notated everyone’s diamonds on a concert D throughout.)

Many thanks to the consortium members who made this possible:

Anthony Morris
Brian Lukkasson, The Blake School
Derrik Junker, North Crawford High School (Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin)
Dr. Ben Bruflat, Lincoln Memorial University
Grand Rapids Community College
Helen West, Shiprock High School
John F. Kennedy Instrumental Music
Kelly Watkins, Eastern Connecticut State University
Little Mill Middle School Band
Lyon College Symphonic Winds
Michael Stone
Nathan Witte, Gainesville Middle School Bands
Samuel Litt and the Ingleside Middle School Bands
Santa Teresa High School Wind Ensemble
Nolan Hauta, University of Dubuque Concert Band

Known performances:

Got one I’m missing? Let me know!

  • 3/29/2024, Grand Rapids Community College Campus Band, Grand Rapids, MI.
  • 5/22/2023, Gainesville Middle School, Gainesville, GA (formal world premiere).
  • 5/16/2023, Santa Teresa High School Wind Ensemble, San Jose, CA (preview performance).
  • 4/25/2023, Lincoln Memorial University Concert Band, Harrogate, TN (preview performance).

Additional information

Instrumentation

Wind ensemble, Flex ensemble

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