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
- Texas: IV. Complete
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Broward College (Weston, Fla.) Symphonic Band (Neil E. Jenkins, conductor) - 25 April 2021
- The Hartt School Omni-Wind Ensemble (West Hartford, Conn.) (Glen Adsit, conductor) - 23 April 2021
- University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Paul Popiel, conductor) - 10 March 2021
- Pittsburg (Ks.) State University Wind Ensemble (Andrew Chybowski, conductor) - 25 February 2021
- University of South Dakota (Vermillion) Symphonic Band (John P. LaCognata, conductor) - 13 February 2021
- Rosemount (Minn.) High School Wind Ensemble (Leon Sieve, conductor) – 7 March 2020
- Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Winds (Kelvin Jones, conductor) – 3 March 2020
- Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Symphonic Band (Isaiah Odajima, conductor) – 2 March 2020
- University of Alabama Birmingham Wind Symphony (Sean Murray, conductor) – 27 February 2020
- Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Terry Austin, conductor) – 26 February 2020
- Capital University (Columbus, Ohio) Symphonic Winds (Jeff Gershman, conductor) – 20 February 2020 (CBDNA 2020 North Central Division Conference, Chicago, Ill.)
- Texas All-State Symphonic Band (Frank Ticheli, conductor) - 15 February 2020 (2020 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Wind Ensemble (Scott Teeple, conductor) – 16 February 2020
- University of Missouri, Kansas City, Wind Symphony (Stephen D. Davis, conductor) – 13 February 2020
- Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russel C. Mikkelson, conductor) – 11 February 2020
- St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minn.) Band (Timothy Mahr, conductor) – 9 February 2020
- Dordt University (Sioux Center, Iowa) Wind Symphony (Onsby Rose, conductor) – 13 December 2019
- Central Connecticut State University (New Britain) Wind Ensemble (Robert Schwartz, conductor) – 4 December 2019
- Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Christopher C. Chapman, conductor) – 26 November 2019
- Texas A&M University (College Station) Wind Symphony (Timothy Rhea, conductor) – 24 November 2019
Works for Winds by this Composer
All Wind Works
- Caribana (2021)
- Come Sunday (2018)
- Emma Catherine (Flex instrumentation) (2004/2009)
- The Low-Down Brown Get-Down (2020)
- A Mother of a Revolution! (2019)
- Of Our New Day Begun (2016)
- Sharp Nine (Flex instrumentation) (2020)
- 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
- Perusal Score
- Schallert, Gary. "Of Our New Day Begun." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 12, Compiled and edited by Andrew Trachsel, 812-825. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2021.
- Temple, Matt. "Promoting Social Justice through 'Of Our New Day Begun' by Omar Thomas." NBA Journal, Summer 2020, 17-22.
- Thomas, O. (2015). Of Our New Day Begun [score]. Omar Thomas Music: [s.l.].