Lift Your Banner Skyward was commissioned for the Sam Barlow High School Symphonic Band (Gresham, OR) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the school’s existence and to celebrate a half-century of music excellence.
In an effort to create a work with greater meaning, significance, and intent for the celebrated occasion, nearly all of the harmonic constructs and key centers of the work are derived from the school’s namesake, “Sam Barlow” by use of a musical ciphering process that transposes letters to musical pitches. The work’s primary melodic structures are derived from three separate, two-measure fragments of the Sam Barlow High School Alma Mater. These fragments are presented throughout the work guised in various compositional treatments, including distinct tempi, styles, registration, and contrapuntal textures. The brief, slower interlude features a trio of soloists from the trumpet, horn, and clarinet sections that soon gives way to a return to the lively, celebratory music that begins the work. The work’s title, Lift Your Banner Skyward, comes from the Sam Barlow High School Alma Mater’s lyrics.
Lift Your Banner Skyward is dedicated to the two individuals who have served as Sam Barlow High School’s band directors during the institution’s first 50 years – Paul Nickolas and Charles Bolton, and to all of the student musicians whose lives have been enriched through their teaching and passion for music.