The title of this is intentionally written in all capital letters: AMEN!
Movements (played without pause)
1. Lively - 4:40
2. Soulfully - 3:45
3. Mysteriously - 4:31
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone II
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
C Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
String Bass (two preferred)
Percussion I-II-III, including:
- Bass Drum
- Splash Cymbal
- Suspended Cymbal
- Tubular Bells
- Whip (large)
None discovered thus far.
AMEN! (2017) was commissioned by the University of Michigan Symphony Band and is a homage to my family's four-generational affiliation with the Pentecostal church. My intent is to re-create the musical experience of an African American Pentecostal church service that I enjoyed being a part of while growing up in this denomination. Pentecostal denominations, such as Church of God in Christ (C.O.G.IC.), Pentecostal Assemblies of God, Apostolic, Holiness Church, among many others, are known for their exuberant outward expressions of worship. The worship services in these churches will often have joyous dancing, spontaneous shouting, and soulful singing. The music in these worship services is a vital vehicle in fostering a genuine spiritual experience for the congregation.
The three movements in AMEN! are performed without break to depict how the different parts of a worship services flows into the next. In the first movement, I’ve imagined the sound of an exuberant choir and congregation singing harmoniously together in a call-and-response fashion. The soulful second movement quotes a gospel song, I'll Take Jesus For Mine, that I frequently heard in many services. The title, AMEN!, refers to the plagal cadence or “Amen" cadence (IV-I), which is the focal point of the climax in the final movement. Along with heavily syncopated rhythms and interjecting contrapuntal lines, this cadence modulates up by half step until we reach a frenzied state, emulating a spiritually heighten state of worship.
- Program Note by composer
AMEN! was commissioned by the University of Michigan Symphony Band to celebrate the university’s bicentennial, with support from the H. Robert Reynolds Commissioning Fund.
- Program Note from University of Michigan Symphony Band concert program, 21 November 2017
This work is very important in the repertoire for wind band, as it is one of the first larger scale works attempting to encapsulate part of African American culture: church. As enslaved Africans were brought to the United States of America, their former religious beliefs were splintered and largely changed to Christianity. Religion and a strong spirituality are deeply rooted to this day in the culture of African American. Inspired by the experiences found in Pentecostal denominations, this work will provide a number of important cultural and historical discussion points for the ensemble and audience.
- Program Note from Teaching Music Through Performance in Band, Vol. 12
(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) - 22 April 2022
- Central Washington University (Ellenburg) Wind Ensemble (T. André Feagin, conductor) – 17 March 2022 (CBDNA 2022 Western/Northwestern Conference, Tacoma, Wash.)
- United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor) - 6 February 2022
- Youngstown (Ohio) State University Wind Ensemble (Michael S. Butler, conductor) - 1 November 2021
- University of Oklahoma (Norman) Symphony Band (Michael E. Hancock, conductor) – 28 February 2020
- Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn D. Vondran, conductor) – 22 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 North Central Division Conference, Chicago, Ill.)
- University of Texas Arlington Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) – 21 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 Southwestern Division Conference, Norman, Okla.)
- University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (Kevin M. Geraldi, conductor) – 21 February 2020
- Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Shawn D. Vondran, conductor) – 6 December 2019
- University of Texas, Arlington, Wind Symphony (Douglas Stotter, conductor) – 22 November 2019
- University of South Florida (Tampa) Wind Ensemble (Matthew McCutchen, conductor) – 17 November 2019
- University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 25 October 2019
- Arizona State University (Tempe) Wind Ensemble (Jason Caslor, conductor) – 10 October 2019
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor) – 8 October 2019
- Lone Star Wind Orchestra (Dallas, Tx.) (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 22 September 2019
- Temple University (Philadelphia, Penn.) Wind Symphony (Patricia Cornett, conductor) – 26 April 2019
- University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Wind Symphony (John R. Stewart, conductor) – 9 March 2019
- Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Rodney Dorsey, conductor) – 5 February 2019
- University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor) – 18 January 2019
- University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 21 November 2017 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
- AMEN! (2017)
- Fanfare for the Soldier (2002)
- Life Motions (2010)
- Reflections (2021)
- Sweet Chariot (2019)
- White Only, Colored Only (2016)
- Alston, Brenton F. "Amen!." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 12, Compiled and edited by Andrew Trachsel, 895-903. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2021.
- Carlos Simon, personal correspondence, November 2017
- Carlos Simon website Accessed 21 November 2017
- The Horizon Leans Forward…, compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 476.
- Perusal score