Vale, Brother Augustine!



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

Performance Time: 2:50  |  Grade: 2  |  Style: Contemporary

Vale, Brother Augustine! was composed for the Firebaugh Middle School Advanced Bands of

Firebaugh, California, Natalia Mia Tomasello, Director.

The composer wrote the following about this composition:

Natalia Tomasello was a fine musician student at Fresno State during my years as Director of Bands at Fresno State. Her dedication to her first teaching assignment was admirable and I wanted to write a short tune to offer to her and her hard-working Firebaugh students. I also wanted to compose something in memory of one of my best high school friends who passed away unexpectedly.

Mike Martin was one of my closest friends during my high school years at Lancaster Catholic High School (PA). Mike, his brother Joe, and I, were all members of the French horn section in our band. The two Martin brothers were a very powerful and positive influence on me during those youthful times. They were devoted Catholics with a strong devotion not only to the teachings of their faith but also to always “doing the right thing” and conducting their life in a first-class manner. I am eternally grateful to them for the positive influence they had on my life.

In his freshman year of college Mike experienced some rough times and at one point nearly died. Soon after he would move to California and we became house mates for a number of years. Mike’s life in the west flourished nicely as he worked intensely in the field of computer programming. But once again, Mike faced a near death situation as he struggled with cancer that would take several of his ribs and hospitalize him for an extended period of time. After cheating death a second time and recovering from the cancer, Mike turned back to his faith more intensely than ever, gave away all of his earthly possessions and entered the religious life.

Mike Martin became a Brother in Massachusetts where he dedicated his life to the Catholic church. For the last 20 years of his life Mike lived as a Maronite Monk of Adoration at Most Holy Trinity Monastery in Petersham, Massachusetts as Brother Augustine. He began his novitiate in 1996 and made his final profession in 2001. On Christmas Day of 2016 Brother Augustine died of a heart attack.

This short composition for young band begins with a solo chime note followed by several chant-like statements from selected reeds, French horns, trombones and baritones. A glorious celebration of Mike's life here on earth follows as the tutti band enters in a most regal manner.

The title is a salute to Mike and his love for the Latin language. Anyone who hung out with Mike during his high school days would remember him constantly citing the “Latin word” for whatever might be the topic of our choice. He loved his Latin studies and took great pride in the fact that he was able to take four years of Latin classes during our time at Lancaster Catholic. “Vale” in Latin means “farewell.” With this composition I offer my“farewell” to Mike/Brother Augustine. Until we meet again!

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