From Wind Repertory Project
Harrison J. Collins

Harrison J. Collins

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General Info

Year: 2023
Duration: c. 5:30
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: J Stands for Joe Music
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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Program Notes

Assurance was commissioned from me by Brian Youngblood, my band director at TCU [Texas Christian University]. I’ve been lucky to have a strong professional relationship with Mr. Youngblood, who has commissioned me several times and unabashedly championed my work. Not long after Mr. Youngblood’s mother passed away during my time at TCU, he approached me about composing a work in her honor. When it comes to what this work is about, Mr. Youngblood’s thoughts really say it all; all I can add is that it was an enormous privilege to be entrusted with such a personally significant project, and I am deeply glad that I could do it justice.

- Program Note from publisher

The idea to commission a work to celebrate the life of my mother came to me quickly after her passing. I had commissioned Kevin Day to create a work in memory of my father some years back and was so happy with the process and the result. Kevin Day was a student at TCU [Texas Christian University] when I first met him and programmed his music.

As chance would have it, I would meet ANOTHER student composer at TCU whose music possessed the type of “musical drama” that appealed to me. I had programed the music of Harrison J. Collins with the TCU Symphonic Band and the FWYO [Fort Worth Youth Orchestra] Wind Ensemble and had already worked with him on a commission for the FWYO Wind Ensemble. I was immediately impressed by the way that ensembles embraced his music and the way that his music spoke to me. So, once again, I decided to work with a younger composer because I wanted to be able to work closely with the composer and be “part of the process.” I also did not want to deal with a consortium and doing the fundraising required; I was concerned that there might be too many voices and demands attached to the money coming from so many sources.

As I, once again, considered my family’s history, and my mother’s contribution to her children’s lives, I decided that I wanted the commission to be totally different from the work that I commissioned for my father. The work would not be long and follow a timeline as the work for my father had done. For my mother, I wanted something more expedient and concise. Something more like a musical haiku that communicated something more of a “feeling” than a “timeline of experience” that was the basis for my father’s commission. When I contacted Harrison Collins with the idea, things began to click very quickly! He graciously met with me and had discussions regarding how the work should proceed. We both arrived at the idea of communicating the feeling of “assurance” during the “rollercoaster of life.” The work would be motivated by harmonic progression more than melody. I was also very interested in the inclusion of metallic, tuneful, percussion to create a magical quality.

His first draft was fantastic! He artfully created the harmonic progressions that communicated the feeling of “assurance.” Even better, he moved the harmonic palette in ways that created a “rollercoaster” and then found ways to resolve to the moments of “assurance.” Mr. Collins created a few more drafts to touch up a few details, but in many ways, the first draft has remained basically intact. Mr. Collins, like Kevin Day before him, seemed to possess a type of telepathic ability that allowed him to “get inside my mind.” His ability to write what I heard in my mind’s ear was just uncanny!

Mr. Collins and I finally agreed that the work should just simply be called Assurance. As stated above, I have always considered it to be my good fortune to experience life with my mother and her encouragement and assurance. An often-used quote states, “People might forget what you say, but they will not forget how you made them feel.” Well, that statement just sums up what my mother meant to my life and why I come back to the idea of the feeling of assurance. Mr. Collins has masterfully woven the “feeling” of returning “assurance” throughout the work. I cannot express enough gratitude to Mr. Collins for his work on this project! It is a wonderful feeling to have this celebration of my mother in musical form.

I must also thank my family for their support through the years for the many endeavors they supported me in. Their love and support have always been inspiring. I also want to thank the TCU Symphonic Band for their participation in the process of bringing this music to life. They have been a joy to work with while rehearsing this music. I hope that everyone enjoys this music as much as I have enjoyed the process of the commission and creation with Harrison J. Collins. And now I end with . . . “Thanks, Mom!”

- Program Note by Brian Youngblood


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State Ratings

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  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Brian Youngblood, conductor) – 25 April 2023 *Premiere Performance*

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