Grade 1 1/2 (2:00)
|Gary P. Gilroy|
49er SPIRIT! was composed for young musicians in their first years on their musical instruments. It is a salute to the many who came to the great Sierra Nevada mountain range in California in the mid-1800s to seek their fortune in gold. The sacrifices they and their families made were extreme as they traveled for months and months to arrive at the exciting yet dangerous setting that would become their home as they worked to become rich. Many miners died on their treacherous journey to California. Many others died while still in their 20’s and 30’s for a variety of reasons related to arduous mining routines and inhospitable conditions - the “Wild West” was a rough place indeed. In some towns, such as Bodie, California, it was common to have at least one death per day from saloon shootouts and other disagreements.
And yet, amidst all the turmoil and suffering in their quest, there were extraordinary men who were able to rise above and succeed in finding their fortune. Small California towns such as Columbia, Murphys, Angels Camp and Sonora were overflowing with ambitious miners and others who knew it was just as profitable to serve the miners. These towns can still be visited today and are filled with myriad historical sites to see and enjoy.
This ambitious and bold new concert opener intends to capture the positive and persistent attitude of the 49er Spirit! The percussionists help create the setting of horses trotting through town after a hard day’s work. And of course, the brake drum solos clearly evoke the thrust of the pickax against the hard California soil and rocks.