For Wind Band.
This piece is written in honor of Mother Teresa, who was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church on September 4, 2016. This date falls on the eve of the 19th anniversary of her death. She moved to India in 1929 as a nun within the Sisters of Loreto. She served as a school teacher there and worked within her Order to help the people of India. While on a spiritual retreat, she received a "Call within a Call" from God to make an even more extreme commitment to serve the very poorest of the poor in India. With the help of the Church and many spiritual advisors she formed her own Order within the Church called the Missionaries of Charity in 1950. The "MC", as they are called, now number nearly 4,500 Sisters, plus many more Brothers, Priests and lay volunteers. The Missionaries of Charity now minister to the poor and homeless around the world. In 1985 The Secretary General of the United Nations called Mother Teresa the "most influential woman in the world." Then, as now, her example of "Dependence, Detachment, and Dedication" (the focus of her community) have inspired many, many people around the world. I have been greatly humbled and inspired in my own faith by reading about her life, her works, her service, her daily commitment to both study the Bible and to pray.
For Wind Band.
For Wind Band and Chorus.
For Wind Band.
Fortress of Peace was completed in January of 2015, commissioned by the Southwest Community Concert Band, Ray Florenza, conductor. This very fine community ensemble performs in a variety of churches on the southwest side of Chicago, and specifically asked me to create a work that combined traditional hymn tunes in a contemporary wind band setting. The three songs selected were "A Mighty Fortress is our God" written by Martin Luther, "It is Well with my Soul" lyrics by Horatio Spafford and music by Phillip Bliss, and a traditional hymn tune known as "Fairest Lord Jesus" or "Beautiful Savior", and many other names as well.
The first was selected in honor of Pastor Steve Andres, one of the pastors at Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois whose wife unexpectedly passed away at a young age. Our whole congregation watched Pastor Steve struggle with his loss, and since he often led worship, the struggle was often public. Although he was best known among the youth for his exciting renditions of contemporary worship songs, in his time of grief Pastor Steve turned to many of the old hymns of the faith, commenting on how the substance of these older songs helped sustain him. "A Mighty Fortress" was one of his favorites during this time, and I was deeply moved each time I heard him sing it. Steve is now fully restored to ministry at Calvary Church, and preaching and singing more passionately than ever. I included this song as a tribute to him and his willingness to share his journey with the members of our church.