Lullaby And Dance For Duane



Composer(s) / Arranger(s): Gary P. Gilroy

Performance Time: 6:10  |  Grade: 5  |  Style: Contemporary

Lullaby and Dance For Duane was commissioned in memory of Mr. Duane Weston (June 21, 1929 – December 14, 2013) by the Tulare & Kings Counties Music Educators Association for the 2015 TKCMEA High School Honor Band. The composition was premiered with the composer conducting on January 25, 2015 in Porterville, California.

The composer writes the following about Mr. Weston and the composition: 
“Duane Weston was a great friend and colleague and I am most honored to compose this work for TKCMEA in his memory. My own children had the opportunity to play under Mr. Weston’s baton at the Lake Sequoia Music Camp for many years and they always loved the experiences he offered. I worked closely with Duane many years ago when he conducted the premiere of one of my earlier works, Celebration at Lake Sequoia, which was commissioned to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the popular music camp. 

The work begins with nothing but the soft and relaxing sounds of bamboo wind chimes. Bowed crotales establish the tonality of the first section of the work before the piano begins a simple pattern for the lullaby. The first two statements of the lullaby theme are heard in the flute and then the French horn, respectively. This is my nod to the family of Duane and Anne Weston: their youngest daughter, Deniece, plays flute and their son, Dwight, plays French horn, as does their great-grandson, Branson Vowel. The lullaby is meant to offer the listener a time to reflect on the sweet and innocent beginnings to life as we know it and the importance of family. This simple lullaby is for Duane and his family. 

When I met with Ann Weston to gain some insight and inspiration for this composition she stressed to me that she hoped the work would feature the timpani since Duane often played these important drums throughout his career. Being a percussionist myself, I found many occasions to feature the timpani in this work. It is essential that the timpani part is covered by a fine player who not only has a good understanding of timpani, but one who also handles crotales and chimes with equal confidence.

Percussion is featured throughout this work. A total of at least seven percussionists should be utilized and no percussion part should ever be considered “optional” for best outcome. It is notable that the very first crotale entrance should be played with cello bows (two players on this first entrance in measures 3 & 4). 

The dance portion of this work begins at measure 76 and it should be thought of as a “Dance of Celebration” of the wonderful life Duane Weston lived. It is meant to evoke intense energy and plenty of passion, much the way Duane lived his life. It is lively, very rhythmic and somewhat unpredictable. Beat three of measure 79 should be considered a musical exclamation point as is the entire measure 82, making it obvious that the percussionists will have plenty to say in this work. 

As the dance of celebration continues, develops, and recapitulates, the timpani and other percussion voices are often used to emphasize phrase endings or create transitions. Measure 177 makes use of a small fragment of the dance melody overlapped and layered rhythmically in many voices to create a pad or backdrop for the presentation of the first and final phrases of the Alma Mater of Roosevelt High School. The first phrase of this wonderfully majestic chorale is presented in slow motion in the brass and low woodwind voices as the relentless Weston-like energy of the fragments continue before they eventually subside and yield to the final phrase of the Alma Mater, now played by all of the wind voices.

Once again, a timpani solo serves as a transition back to the up-tempo energy of the dance theme for a brief recapitulation before the low brass and woodwinds present a short fragment of the Fight Song from the College of the Sequoias at measure 211. A short coda leads to the final measures. The final statement comes from the timpani and other percussion who end the work with one final and very bold exclamation point in measure 229.

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