Triumphant Celebration!



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

Performance Time: 5:57  |  Grade: 4  |  Style: Contemporary

“Triumphant Celebration!” was commissioned by the California Music Educators Association, Capitol Section, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of their High School Honor Band. It was premiered on January 7, 2017 at Rosemont High School, Sacramento, California by the CMEA Capitol Section High School Honor Band.. It is the third and final movement of the three works that make up A California Gold Rush Trilogy, all commissioned by the CMEA, Capitol Section and composed by Gary P. Gilroy. 

Since moving to California in 1977 as a young college student, Gilroy has been fascinated by California history. The westward movement of ambitious Americans looking to find their fortune in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains changed many lives. Gilroy’s fascination with the Gold Rush history began with a college course that required him to drive through many important Gold Rush locations while listening to pre-recorded cassette tapes detailing each area’s most important sites and features. California State Highway 49 is a treasure that runs right through many of the important towns that made history with their production of California gold. 

“Triumphant Celebration!” is a tribute to all who took part in the California Gold Rush, but it is especially a celebration of those who survived and flourished as a result of their participation in what was surely a very challenging time in their lives. The work begins with eerie percussion effects that represent the strange new world. The solo woodwind lines are as thought provoking as the life of the miner might have been. Large and uncomfortable intervals create a pensive and passionate mood in these sparse opening measures. Eventually the melodic material gives way to a more predictable meter in three-four time, and most sections make a statement of one theme or another during this flowing segment of the composition. 

An unusual transition takes the final tonic note (F) from this section and increases it tremendously through dynamics and scoring until it gives way to the new tonality of D. This new material, which is very forceful and should be played quite aggressively, represents the arduous work the miners did under extreme conditions. Blasting rock and working in both very cold and very hot weather conditions took its toll on the men and women of the day. This segment grows in intensity until it peaks with a very dissonant arrival before moving back to the tonality of F. 

The next section of the composition is very energetic and intense. The marimba provides new energy with a crescendo that is joined by the piano and xylophone to establish the new feeling. This energy continues through the end of the work in a relentless manner, always pushing ahead, moving towards the final climax, which arrives after a flourish from the crotales that glistens brilliantly like gold itself. The combination of the crotales, bells, xylophone, hi-hat and the piano in the upper tessitura provide a sparking and glistening background for the closing moments of this celebratory work. B-flat major is the arrival point as the work comes to a rousing climax.

Percussion part assignments should consider the following: Both mallet parts will require some four-mallet playing but those sections are actually quite simple and very repetitive for the most part. The 4-mallet section on the bells should be played with four brass mallets if possible. While the Mallet II part is slightly more difficult, both parts are challenging and will require solid players. 

Percussion I through IV parts should each be played by one person. Percussion I should be proficient at hi-hat playing because the foot will need to be able to perform frequent open and closed requirements. This player should have some fast hands as well. Percussion II & III both have ample demand, but are not as demanding as Percussion I. Percussion II should use a well-rosen-ed cello or bass bow on the gong. Percussion IV is the easiest part of all the Percussion parts. It should be noted that some instruments can be shared such as the bass drum and the gong (or tam tam). 

The Timpani part requires the player to be very proficient at tuning changes. The first measure is only meant to display the opening tunings for all four drums. These four notes should not be played in the first measure. The timpanist must also be very proficient with treble clef mallet playing because they will play a very important role with the crotales in the closing measure of the work in addition to some chime work earlier in the piece. There are three measures that ask the timpanist to use a “superball mallet” during a descending glissando. Please purchase the larger superball mallets (larger head) and hold the mallet towards the end as the player gently rubs it around the outer edge of the drum. The player will feel the ball coming off the drum slightly creating a bit of a rumble sound. All of this happens as they gliss from the top end of drum number 4 to the lowest pitch of the same drum. It creates a wonderful descending effect that sounds much like a “groan.”

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