Going For Gold



Composer(s) / Arranger(s): John M. Bliss

Performance Time: 7:19  |  Grade: 2 1/2  |  Style: Contemporary

Going For Gold is a musical celebration of California’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and pioneering spirit.

The work’s driving rhythms, expansive themes and sparkling orchestration evoke images of the Golden State: a land where gold is both in the air (magical sunsets over the Pacific Ocean) and in the ground (its Gold Rush legacy). California is also famous for gold over the water (the Golden Gate Bridge), over the airwaves (gold records from its music industry) and even Olympic gold (home of many athletic champions and host of more than one Olympiad).

Along the way, Going For Gold also recounts events which influenced California’s history: the arrival of the transcontinental railroad, the ascent of Hollywood and the advent of the semiconductor.

And, from Wild West showdowns to miners’ hoedowns, the work also honors the people who shaped California’s destiny. Particularly notable are its unsung heroes: the tribes who first settled its lands, the founders of the missions and the immigrants who laid the tracks.

Each musical passage has a distinctive color and character, yet there are intrinsic similarities among the themes and textures. Their ever-evolving recurrences and combinations are woven throughout the work like a golden thread which ties the eclectic episodes into a cohesive whole.

Going For Gold was commissioned by the California Band Directors Association on the occasion of its golden anniversary.  It subsequently received first prize in the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Music In The Armed Forces composition competition.

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