On September 11, the West Point Band and the United States Military Academy’s Cadet Glee Club will return to Trinity Church Wall Street for its annual 9/11 memorial concert, this year entitled, “A Celebration of Service.” While last year’s 9/11 concert celebrated the people of New York City — showcasing works like Leonard Bernstein’s Our Town and Aaron Copland’s Quiet City — this year’s concert will celebrate the strength and sacrifice of the men and women who serve our country.
For this 15th anniversary of 9/11, the West Point Band will premier 15 one-minute works that honor the contributions of those men and women. In a unique collaboration, the West Point Band joins contemporary music organization, Vox Novus to present Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame: A Celebration of Service. The West Point Band will premiere 15 one-minute pieces created by composers who were responding to the theme “service” and what it means to all different kinds of people: military, first responders, community service, and everyday kindness.
Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame is a project whose purpose is to promote a greater variety of contemporary music to audiences hungry to hear what living composers are writing today. Vox Novus is a new music production and promotion company established in 2009. Through concert programs such as Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame, Vox Novus seeks to empower composers, musicians, and community music creators. The Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame project has presented world premieres of over 1,200 works by composers around the world performed by over 100 musicians since its inception. In 2012, the West Point Woodwind Quintet gave the world premiere of Fifteen-Minutes-Fame: Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
The following 15 composers will have their works premiered by the West Point Band: James Anderson, David Avshalomov (winner of the 2014 American Prize), Sy Brandon (recipient of the 2018 Thor Johnson Memorial Commission), Steve Cohen, Harrison J. Collins, Cindi Hsu, Nicholas Ryan Kelly, George David Kieffer (whose fanfare was selected for the Los Angeles Special Olympics in 2015), Alan Kinningham, Anthony O’Toole, David R. Peoples, James Peterson (whose work Moving Images Suite was featured at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards), Bradley Sampson, Richard G Smith, and R. Andrew Yates.
As soldier-musicians, we in the West Point Band are committed to serving our local and national communities and to act as ambassadors for the United States Military Academy and the Army. But as classically trained musicians, we are also deeply committed to exposing our audiences to great music, both new and old. (While you don’t hear a lot of teenagers blasting say, Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe or Gustav Holst’s First Suite for Military Band as they drive down the highway, I guarantee you that those are pieces well worth blasting.) We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame program, because by promoting today’s composers, we are insuring the permanence of tomorrow’s concerts for future audiences.
The concert will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, September 11th at Trinity Wall Street and is free and open to all. We hope you will join us.
Words by Staff Sgt. Natalie Wren