Of Our New Day Begun
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
- Bass Drum
- Crash Cymbals
- Ride Cymbal
- Snare Drum
- Splash Cymbal
- Suspended Cymbal
- Tom-Tom (2)
Players clapping, stamping and singing
None discovered thus far.
When the WKU [Western Kentucky University] Wind Ensemble received the invitation to perform at the conference in early July 2015, about two weeks after the tragedy in Charleston, Dr. [Gary] Schallert [conductor of the Western Kentucky University Wind Ensemble] organized a consortium of 37 university, professional and high school bands from across the country to commission the work.
“I reached out to Omar Thomas to see if he would be interested in writing a piece of music that would pay homage to those who died in the tragic shooting,” Dr. Schallert said.
Thomas said his greatest challenge in creating Of Our New Day Begun was walking the line between his reverence for the victims and their families and his bitter feelings about the perpetrator. “I realized that the most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from both sides of that line -- embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims’ families,” he said.
- Program Note from WKU News
Of Our New Day Begun was written to honor nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015, while worshipping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (affectionately referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina. My greatest challenge in creating this work was walking the line between reverence for the victims and their families, and honoring my strong, bitter feelings towards both the perpetrator and the segments of our society that continue to create people like him. I realized that the most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from both sides of that line - embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims’ families.
Historically, black Americans have, in great number, turned to the church to find refuge and grounding in the most trying of times. Thus, the musical themes and ideas for Of Our New Day Begun are rooted in the Black American church tradition. The piece is anchored by James and John Johnson’s time-honored song, Lift Every Voice and Sing (known endearingly as the “Negro National Anthem”), and peppered with blues harmonies and melodies. Singing, stomping, and clapping are also prominent features of this work, as they have always been a mainstay of black music traditions, and the inclusion of the tambourine in these sections is a direct nod to black worship services.
This work received its premiere on February 20, 2016, at the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Conference, held at The Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Members of the Mother Emanuel AME congregation were in attendance.
This work was commissioned by a consortium led by Dr. Gary Schallert and Dr. Jeff Bright of Western Kentucky University to honor the nine victims and families of the June 17, 2015, terrorist attack on Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC.
- Program Note by composer
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Ferndale (Mich.) Community Concert Band (Edward Quick, conductor) – 5 May 2019
- Towson (Md.) University Symphonic Band (Christopher Cicconi, conductor) – 5 May 2019
- Texas Woman's University (Denton) Wind Symphony (Carter Biggers, conductor) – 30 April 2019
- Columbia University (New York) Wind Ensemble (Jason Noble, conductor) – 25 March 2019 (Carnegie Hall, New York)
- University of California Berkeley Wind Ensemble I (Matthew Sadowski, conductor) – 17 March 2019
- Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Steven M. Knight, conductor) – 8 March 2019
- Colorado State University (Fort Collins) Symphonic Band (T. André Feagin, conductor) - 4 March 2019
- Utah Valley University (Orem) Wind Symphony (Thomas Keck, conductor) – 27 February 2019
- University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Symphonic Band (Randall O. Coleman, conductor) – 26 February 2019
- Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (William Talley, conductor) – 4 February 2019
- University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor) – 18 January 2019
- Cobb Wind Ensemble (Marietta, Ga.) (Alfred L. Watkins, conductor) - 20 December 2018 (2018 Midwest Clinic)
- NYSSMA (Rochester, N.Y.) All State Symphonic Band (Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor) – 1 December 2018
- Belmont University (Nashville, Tenn.) Wind Ensemble (Barry Kraus, conductor) – 28 November 2018
- Denison University (Granville, Ohio) Wind Ensemble (Chris David Westover, conductor) – 10 November 2018
- Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn Vondran, conductor) – 26 October 2018
- Southeastern University (Lakeland, Fla.) Wind Ensemble (William L. Lake, Jr., conductor) - 25 October 2018
- Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond) Wind Ensemble (Derek Stoughton, conductor)- 25 October 2018
- South Carolina Governor's School of the Arts Wind Ensemble (David Hamilton, conductor) – 23 October 2018
- Ithaca (N.Y.) College Wind Ensemble (Christopher Hughes, conductor) – 15 October 2018
- University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) – 21 September 2018
Works for Winds by this Composer
- Come Sunday (2018)
- A Mother of a Revolution! (2019)
- Of Our New Day Begun (2016)
- Shenandoah (as arranger) (2019)
- Omar Thomas website Accessed 1 September 2017
- "WIND ENSEMBLE TO PREMIERE COMPOSITION HONORING VICTIMS OF S.C. CHURCH SHOOTING." WKU News. Accessed 9 February 2016