Enter the Olympians honors the competitive spirit. Although
intended primarily for concert use, it can be used to honor teams and individual
While Composer In Residence of the Meet The Composer Louisville Residency,
I was commissioned to create a new score for the twenty-plus middle school
bands of the Jefferson County Public School System. The work was to be
appropriate for widely diverse bands: interesting to advanced students,
yet accessible to less advanced students or bands with limited instrumentation.
For interest, Enter the Olympians uses pedal tones with harmonies
suspended above them, canonic fanfare motives, other harmonies not common
at this grade level, and a mid-section that features the lower instruments
playing the melody. The work's repetition of essential materials and its
secure scoring style broaden its accessibility.
I've had the pleasure of working with many groups preparing to perform
Enter the Olympians and have had numerous opportunities to conduct
performances of the piece. I'm grateful to all of the directors and students
who have been so enthusiastic about Enter the Olympians, especially
Arthur Luker and Rich Levinson for their experienced advice and guidance.
From 1995-1998, I served as Composer in Residence for the Louisville
New Residency, a national program of Meet The Composer. Partners in the
Louisville New Residency were the Jefferson County Public Schools' Family
Resource and Youth Service Centers, the Family and Children's Agency, New
Performing Arts, the City of Louisville's Youth Alliance, and the Kentucky
Center for the Arts.
Two moments of harmonic interest should be mentioned. The first, in
measure 21 and its recurrence in measure 59, shifts the harmony outside
the home key of Bb to a pedal on E natural, the lowered fifth degree of
the key. The second moment occurs in the fanfare-like coda of the piece
(measures 73 to the end), where major chords in the upper instruments move
in and out of agreement with the pedal tone Bb.
In both cases, the notes are not unfamiliar to the students, but the
resulting harmonies will likely be new to their ears. Rehearsal time should
be taken with these passages to allow the harmonies to settle into the
ears and minds of the students. Practice them slowly enough to allow each
chord to reach equilibrium and sonic resonance, which will improve both
intonation and performance security. Practicing the coda passage
both with and without the pedal tone will also be rewarded.