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
- Glockenspiel (extended range with high F required)
- Marimba (5-octave)
- 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
- Audio: Reference recording. Western Kentucky University (Gary Schallert, conductor)
- Audio CD: Western Kentucky University Wind Ensemble (Gary Schallert, conductor) - 2017
- Texas: IV. Complete
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Scott Hagen) - 15 September 2023
- Syracuse University (N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Jerry Junkin, conductor) - 13 April 2023
- Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.) Wind Ensemble (Brent Echols, conductor) - 24 March 2023
- Honors Performance Series Symphonic Band (Jason Noble, conductor) – 4 February 2023 (Carnegie Hall, New York)
- University of Georgia (Athens) Honor Wind Ensemble (Alfred Watkins, conductor) - 22 January 2023
- Santa Monica (Calif.) College Wind Ensemble (Kevin McKeown, conductor) - 11 December 2022
- University of South Florida (Tampa) Festival of Winds Honor Band (Amy Acklin, conductor) - 3 December 2022
- Leon High School (Tallahassee, Fla.) Symphonic Band (Lee Commander, conductor) 2 December 2022
- University of Delaware Wind Ensemble (Lauren Reynolds, conductor) – 14 October 2022
- University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Wind Orchestra (Elizabeth Peterson, conductor) - 1 May 2022
- Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Jason Gardner, conductor) - 25 April 2022
- University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Mb., Can.) Wind Ensemble (Jacquie Dawson, conductor) - 22 April 2022
- University of Toronto (Ont., Can.) Wind Symphony (Jeffrey Reynolds, conductor) - 7 April 2022
- University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) Symphonic Winds (Lindsay Sandberg, conductor) - 8 March 2022
- Texas Community College Band Directors Association (TCCBDA) Symphonic Band (Eric Wilson, conductor) - 12 February 2022 (2022 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
- Naperville (Ill.) North High School Wind Ensemble (Zachary A. Taylor, conductor) - 9 December 2021
- York University (Toronto, Ont., Can.) Wind Symphony (Bill Thomas, conductor) - 5 December 2021
- Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green) Wind Ensemble (Gary Schallert, conductor) - 20 February 2016 *Premiere Performance*
Works for Winds by This Composer
All Wind Works
- Candor (2021)
- Caribana (2021)
- Caribana Afterparty (2023)
- Come Sunday (2018)
- Emma Catherine (Flex instrumentation) (2004/2009)
- The Low-Down Brown Get-Down (2020)
- Moods and Attitudes (2023)
- 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.].