Overture to the Great Hall



Composer(s) / Arranger(s): Shaun Salem

Performance Time: 5:55  |  Grade: 3 1/2  |  Style: Contemporary

The journey of this piece from its inception to publication spans decades. Composed in 1998, “Overture” was the very first piece composed for band, premiered in concert by the Seymour High School band in 1999, and conducted by the composer on his final high school concert.

A decade after its premiere as the composer pursued post-bachelor music education for teaching licensure, a local community band director and college music professor, Dr. Larry Smithee, asked Shaun to write a piece for his band to premiere in their brand new venue. 

Having completed his undergraduate and graduate composition programs, Shaun was curious what could be done with his very first composition with the new knowledge he had acquired through his college studies. Dr. Smithee was delighted at the possibility of hearing a revised version of Shaun’s first piece of music, so they agreed to pursue the composer’s curiosity. 

A new version, “Overture for the Great Hall” was created, commemorating Maryville College’s Clayton Center for the Arts in Maryville, Tennessee, and premiered on the Maryville Community Band’s first performance on their new stage in the Spring of 2010. Three years later in 2013, Shaun’s first publication for educational concert band was then released. 

In honing his craft to support music education standards, Shaun realized the potential of this piece to serve an educational role for the high school-aged band student. In 2018, Shaun began major rewrites to “Overture for the Great Hall” after band director Dr. Eric Simpson asked that Overture be premiered once again, this time to commemorate Maryville College’s bicentennial. Unfortunately, this premiere was cancelled as a global pandemic shut down arts organizations across the world. 

The origin story of this work is a journey of determination, curiosity, and perseverance. It is the composer’s hope that “Overture for the Great Hall” offers a performance experience unlike any other. Performing in the grandeur of the Clayton Center is an opportunity that one hopes every musician can experience. Enjoy the work that began this composer’s journey, and may it inspire every musician to come to persevere and enjoy success in music performance.

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