We Choose to Go to the Moon

From Wind Repertory Project
Roger Zare

Roger Zare

General Info

Year: 2020
Duration: c. 6:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Murphy Music Press
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $150.00   |   Score Only (print) - $30.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
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
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

- President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

In the fall of 2019 when I was asked to write a new wind ensemble work to accompany Mare Tranquillitatis, a piece I had written eleven years prior, I was both thrilled to revisit an older work that has meant a lot to me personally, and nervous to try to find a way to bring ideas from that piece into the present and the future. As I write these program notes, we have not sent a person to the moon in 47 years, but our drive to return there and go beyond is as strong as it has been in recent memory. For generations, we dreamed of traveling to the stars, and during the 1960s, competition with the Soviet Union finally pushed us to achieve manned space flight and travel to our nearest celestial neighbor. As President Kennedy said in his famous 1962 speech, we choose to do difficult things because they are hard, and because the reward is so much greater for achieving them. Putting people on the moon and returning them to earth safely was not without many trials and setbacks, such as the Apollo 1 tragedy; succeeding at this monumental task was a testament to perseverance. This composition is a celebration of the achievements of the intrepid astronauts, scientists, and engineers who made what seemed impossible a reality in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and also a reflection of the excitement surrounding the possibility of returning to the moon and going beyond to Mars in the near future.

We Choose to Go to the Moon opens with the same floating A-flat major chord as Mare Tranquillitatis, but a sudden shift in harmony led by pitch-bending trombones and horns immediately returns us back to the earth. After a few attempts to get going, a continuous flow of notes helps push the music forward while fragmented melodies interject. This music is restless and complex, reflecting the difficulty and dangers of sending people outside the comforts of our planet. A calm middle section features euphonium and bass clarinet solos, with rich harmonies that help the music become warmer and more stable. As the stream of quick notes returns, a contrasting chorale emerges that culminates in a celebratory explosion of sound.

Commissioned by the Rocky Mountain Commissioning Project for the 12th Annual Colorado State University-Pueblo Festival of Winds.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Adam Friedrich, conductor) - 11 September 2022
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Winds (F. Mack Wood, conductor) - 28 March 2022
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Kelvin Jones, conductor) - 7 March 2022
  • Colorado State University Pueblo Wind Ensemble (Alan Mills, conductor) – 15 February 2020 *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works