Light Unto the Darkness, A

From Wind Repertory Project
David Gillingham

David Gillingham

Subtitle: Homage to the 168 Victims of the Oklahoma City Disaster, April 19, 1995

General Info

Year: 1997 / 1998
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $128.00; (digital) - $128.00   |   Score Only (print) - $58.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet (optional)
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III (I doubling Flugelhorn)
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass (optional)
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Brake Drum
  • Chimes
  • Drum Set
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam (large)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The work is in three main sections, each alluding to a different idea, setting or emotion associated with the disaster. The first section deals with the everyday routine of Oklahoma City which is completely unsuspecting of the terrible fate which is knocking at the door. This fate interrupts the music several times during this section. The cosmopolitan nature of Oklahoma City is suggested through the music with references to the hustle and bustle of traffic, country-western music, jazz music and the mechanistic drone of oil wells in the surrounding countryside.

The ensuing section depicts the disaster itself with loud explosive articulations in the percussion, sinister motives, driving rhythms and unyielding dissonance. The final section begins with a lament by the English horn and a mournful call by the flugelhorn followed by a warm, reassuring melody which culminates the movement.

This final theme is significant in that it is the key to understanding this work. We must all seek to be a "light unto the darkness" -- to find good amidst the evil. The "light" is within the final melody of this work and seeks to call our attention to 168 special, individual, and beautiful souls who are now at peace. They are our "lights unto the darkness."

A Light Unto the Darkness was written for the Mt. Pleasant High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble conducted by Roger A. Sampson, and dedicated to my daughter, Amy. The work is an homage to the 168 victims of the Oklahoma City bombing disaster on April 19, 1995.

- Program Note from publisher

Written for the Mt. Pleasant High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, Roger A. Sampson, Conductor. Dedicated to my daughter, Amy Gillingham, who I love dearly and who continues to inspire me with her talent and perseverance."

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

  • Georgia: VI
  • Tennessee: V


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Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • David Gillingham website Accessed 11 December 2022
  • Gillingham, D. (1997). A Light Unto the Darkness: Homage to the 168 Victims of the Oklahoma City Disaster, April 19, 1995 [score]. C. Alan: Greensboro, N.C.
  • Perusal score