Grade 3 1/2 (4:30)
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by space, the stars, and the infinite beauty that results from the inevitable interactions between the stars and space. One of the most familiar of these beautiful events is the solar eclipse, an event that is rare within our own lifetimes, yet practically commonplace when compared to the lifespans of the stars and the galaxy. In the brief amount of time that I have lived, I have never been at the "right place at the right time" to experience anything more than a brief partial eclipse of the sun, an event that, while beautiful in its own right, pales when compared to a total eclipse. So it was with great anticipation that on May 20, 2012 I would finally be able to witness the next best thing: a near-total eclipse - ninety percent, to be exact. Those who lived about 200 miles north of me would experience an annular eclipse - one where the moon blocks out most of the sun, leaving a "ring of fire." In Fresno, I would get to see something just as special (in my own opinion) - an eclipse that left nothing but a crescent sliver of the sun. As the eclipse neared its climax and the sky dimmed to a hazy twilight, I watched all of the shadows around me form remarkable crescent shaped patterns, mirroring the sun's shape. While this was not a surprise (as I had read about this phenomena prior to the eclipse), I was nonetheless taken aback by the unusual intricacy of these patterns. Once again, the inevitable interaction of a star and a few tiny objects in space created an image of infinite beauty. Crescent Shadows seeks to evoke this beauty by capturing the tranquility, mystery, and ecstasy I experienced during this powerful yet infinitely small moment, a moment that will inevitably happen again - but not necessarily to be experienced by me. Commissioned by a consortium of high schools and colleges in Georgia, Nebraska, and Ohio and premiered by the Georgia College Wind Symphony, Cliff Towner conductor, on October 19, 2012.