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

Performance Time: 1:51  |  Grade: 1 1/2  |  Style: Contemporary

Wildfire! was composed in the summer of 2013 after the composer witnessed the power and devastation of a fire out of control. The composer writes:

It was Thursday, July 4, 2013 when I was visiting a former colleague/band director, Roxanna Macheel, at her new retirement home on Lake Chelan, Washington. We were sitting on her back deck facing the lake when we saw a small puff of smoke coming from across the lake where there were no roads and just a few homes that were accessible only by boat. Roxanna immediately called the fire department and it was not long that a boat showed up with firefighters. The fire was moving quickly but what we saw was mostly just smoke. Soon a helicopter arrived with a huge container attached. It was amazing to see the talented pilot get water from the lake and drop it in just the right spots. We could also see the firefighters through a scope Roxanna had, as they did what they could with their shovels and other equipment. But the driving force of the wildfire made all these efforts seem quite minimal and the fire spread rapidly and relentlessly. Hours later the fire was going stronger than ever and as the sun set and darkness filled the sky it now became much easier to see what was really going on. The mountainside glowed all over and it was clear that this wildfire was out of control. The wind was intense that night which made the firefighting efforts that much more demanding. It was a powerful experience to me to see this devastation taking place firsthand and I found it frustrating to know that I could do nothing to help matters. Even the talented firefighters faced a nearly impossible task. This wildfire was intense, driving and all consuming! I compose this work in honor of the men and women who fight fires throughout our world.

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