Keveli Music Chamber Publication

Bois de la Paix


Clarinet and Piano


Kevin M. Walczyk

Duration: 5'40"
Bois Cover Page (360x480) New

Bois de la Paix was commissioned by clarinetist SSgt. Joseph LeBlanc of the "President's Own" Marine Band. Bois de la Paix (Wood of Peace) is in reference to 4,000 trees that make up a wood planted for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. The trees are dedicated to the American veterans who fought in the Ardennes, Belgian combatants and all the civilians and military who died in the winter of 1944-45. The Wood of Peace is laid out to recreate the UNICEF emblem: a mother and child, symbol of human tenderness. This design is only visible from the air.


Joseph LeBlanc, live performance from the University of Oklahoma

Clarinetist Gunnery Sergeant Joseph LeBlanc joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in September 2005. Gunnery Sgt. LeBlanc began his musical instruction at age 10 on saxophone and switching to clarinet at 19. After graduating in 1999 from Moanalua High School in Honolulu, he attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 2003. Gunnery Sgt. LeBlanc also pursued graduate studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He studied with Donald Sinta and Fred Ormand at Michigan, Cincinnati Symphony principal clarinet Richard Hawley, and Allen Won of New York. Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Gunnery Sgt. LeBlanc performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio and the Honolulu and Detroit Symphony Orchestras. In 2012, he performed Carlo della Giacoma’s Fantasy on Themes from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana.

506hole copy

Listed as an exceptional cultural heritage since 2017, the Bois Jacques (Foy, Belgium, adjacent of Bastogne) was the stage of fierce fighting between German and American soldiers during the second world war. Foy, in December 1944, was under German occupation. American troops stopped German forces from taking the town of Bastogne. In January 1945 the 101st Airborne Division launched an assault that would free Foy marking the last offensive German forces would muster.

Traces of this battle can still be seen – both on some houses in Foy and in the Bois Jacques where strange holes have resisted the passage of time. Dramatized in the HBO series Band of Brothers, the fox holes were originally dug by American soldiers of the 101st Airborne during the battle of Bastogne. Composer Kevin Walczyk visited this site with two veterans of the battle, Sgt. Don Malarkey and Lt. Buck Compton, both of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. The visit would inspire two compositions by Walczyk – Bois de la Paix and Symphony No. 2 – Epitaphs Unwritten.

For the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, 4,000 trees (Bois de la Paix – wood of peace) were planted near Bizory, Belgium outside of Bastogne as a tribute to the embattled victims. At the root of each tree can be found a plaque commemorating the name and division of the American veterans who travelled back to this site to inaugurate it. The trees are arranged so that the UNICEF logo (a mother and child) can be seen from the sky, a symbol of universal love and peace.