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Unbroken (Standridge)

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Randall Standridge

Randall Standridge

The preferred typography of this title is unBroken.

General Info

Year: 2021
Duration: c. 13:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Randall Standridge Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00; (digital) - $150.00

For availability information, see Discussion tab, above.


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

  • Anvil
  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • China Cymbals
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Ride Cymbal
  • Snare Drum
  • Splash Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Tambourine
  • Tom-toms (4)
  • Triangle (low)
  • Vibraphone
  • Waterphone
  • Wind Chimes
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

During my childhood, my mother suffered a complete nervous breakdown and psychotic break with reality.

Before this happened, there were many warning signs that she was experiencing mental health issues. There were moments when she would cry for no discernable reason, when her mood and character would change in an instant, and moments when she would seem withdrawn from everyone. However, these were infrequent and, as so, we all assumed that she was fine. She was not fine.

Unknown to us, and even to herself, our mother was battling depression. Growing up in the time period when they did, both of our parents had been conditioned to see mental health problems as sources of shame, signs of weakness, and a failing of character. Due to this, they did not seek help even though they both knew something was wrong. The pressure built, the problems multiplied, and finally, one day, it all became too much for her to bear. My mother’s breakdown was so severe that she was hospitalized for over a year. It was a terrifying ordeal as my two brothers, my father, and I watched her battle this crippling illness. However, there are two things that I will never forget from that time. First, I remember my mother’s strength in fighting her way back to us. And second, I remember my father’s unwavering faith and fidelity to her as he stood by her side, kept the household together, and cared for both her and us as best he could.

Their bond did not break.

Our family did not break.

After this experience, the taboo of discussing mental health was removed from our household. My mother was diagnosed with severe depression and, upon returning home, started proper treatment for her condition. Any time she would begin to experience the onset of a particularly bad episode, she sought the help she needed and managed to prevent another such breakdown. As with anyone who lives with depression, she has good days and bad days, but the fear of identifying as a person with a mental health issue and the stigma surrounding it has been lifted. My father is still by her side, supporting her in any way she needs, just as he always has during their 50+ years of marriage.

The title of this work, unBroken, is in reference to three things. First, is a description of my mother, who has learned to manage her illness and thrive in spite of it. Second, it is a reference to our family, and how both my father and mother worked to ensure that it remained whole. My parents are my heroes, and I am not shy about saying it. Their strength and this experience has also made me completely unafraid to utter the following statement:

My name is Randall Standridge, and I live with depression.

Third, many people throughout the world experience mental illness. Too many are afraid of what others will think and what may happen to their relationships, their jobs, and their families if they seek help. They are afraid that they will be seen as “weak”, “defective”, or “broken.” It is my hope that this work may provide a starting place for productive discussions and be another tool that will help knock down the social barriers that prevent those that need help from seeking it. This piece of music is dedicated to my parents, Ron and Shirley Standridge, and to all of the people and families who live with the challenges of mental illness.

Lastly, to those who may be experiencing similar problems, please know this:

You are not weak. You are not defective. You are not broken.

About the work and its thematic content:

unBroken begins inside the mind of the individual afflicted with mental illness. Overlapping pitches and pleasant dissonance reflect the workings of a mind in conversation with itself. The “family” motive, a series of five notes articulated in the piano, is first introduced here (representing my parents, myself, and my two brothers). The “mind” theme, a three-note motive that conveys both beauty and peace (D-flat, C, A-flat), is first heard in the tenor voices and is repeated as the thought cloud develops. However, it becomes distorted by a half step (D-flat, C, A), introducing an element of bitterness. Warning signs and cracks begin to become evident as various thoughts and emotions race and compete with each other until the individual cries out to silence them.

A solo flute introduces the next segment, as the individual tries to navigate the world and their life. The melody (Shirley’s Theme) is hopeful, melancholy, and brave. As it continues, it becomes distracted as the inner mind begins to exert more and more influence on the outer life. A twelve-tone matrix is first heard in the piano, as the individual’s ability to cope begins to waver. A dialogue ensues in which the individual tries to assert their hold on the illness, assuring everyone that they are fine. The theme becomes more and more desperate as the individual struggles to keep themselves together; they make one last herculean attempt before the inevitable break occurs.

The work takes on a sinister, playful character as the individual enters a manic state. The clarinet introduces a new melody which is built on the distorted mind motive and leads the listener through a series of short episodes as the individual’s mood and character change violently. Thoughts rush, leading nowhere, and in a whirl of turmoil and noise, the individual sees the world and themselves through a distorted lens. The atonal matrix and distorted mind motives are combined into a cacophony of rage and destruction as the individual loses control of their life.

In the silence that follows, a lone clarinet sounds, bravely pulling itself from the wreckage. The individual begins the difficult process of acknowledging the illness and beginning to face it. Its strength and its confidence build until it emerges into a fanfare that is simultaneously triumphant and melancholy, able to cope with its problems but aware of the challenges that lie ahead in living with this burden. The main theme returns as the individual resumes their life, unbroken and whole, but changed. The work ends as it began, inside the mind of the individual. There is still dissonance, but the dissonance is pleasant and peaceful. The final crescendo sounds as the individual looks towards the future with hope.

- Program Note by composer

Commissioned by Geoff Despain and the Eastern Arizona College Symphonic Band. Dedicated to my parents, Ronald "Ron" Darrell Standridge and Shirley Ann Standridge.

- Program Note from score


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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