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Super (Em)Powers

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Brian Balmages

Brian Balmages


Subtitle: For Symphonic Orchestra or Symphonic Band


General Info

Year: 2020
Duration: c. 4:30
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: FJH Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $130.00; (digital) - $130.00   |   Score Only (print) - $9.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe
Bassoon
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
Harp
Timpani
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Ocean Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone

String Orchestra (optional)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

For the longest time, students with special needs have been viewed as different, in such a way that it has made others feel uncomfortable socializing with them. In fact, many kids (and adults) are reluctant to even establish eye contact (whether consciously or unconsciously) with a special-needs individual because they are afraid to engage someone who may not communicate the same way they do. Add to this the social complexities present in a typical school environment -- peer pressure, the issues of bullying, the rise of anxiety and depression among students -- and then throw all of these complex issues into the lap of a special-needs student who may communicate differently, and all one can think is, "Good luck, kid."

Enter United Sound. When I first heard about this organization, I thought the same thing about them as so many others -- what a great way to engage special-needs kids and to give them an opportunity to perform. Then, I saw a live performance and realized that it is so much more. As a parent of a child who learns differently and who has had issues with social anxiety, I know all too well the feeling of defeat that occurs when my child struggles to do something that all of the other kids do. But I also know the overwhelming, indescribable feeling of joy that comes when a child overcomes that hurdle, interacts with their peers, and has the time of their life doing so.

The reality is that United Sound does something incredible which we may not realize. It forges relationships between special-needs mentees and their student (peer) mentors. And how do these relationships resonate? Gone are the awkward hallway interactions. Gone is the need to avert your eyes when you see "that kid" at lunch with an aide. And gone is the barrier that prevents a special-need student from feeling like they belong. Friendships develop. Mentors learn about their mentees, and they learn about themselves. This is clearly the result of an increasing belief about special-needs students -- they have superpowers.

More and more, people are starting to look at special-needs students, and instead of identifying their deficits they are starting to identify their "superpowers." Downs Syndrome is a superpower. Autism is a superpower. Non-verbal kids have a superpower. What is that superpower? It can be a wealth of different things. The ability to bring out empathy in others. The superpower of unconditional love. The ability to make others smile in almost any situation. The ability to never lose that innocence and spirit of a child. The power of bringing perspective to almost any life situation, often without having to say a word.

United Sound empowers students with special needs while also empowering the students who mentor them. Members of United Sound develop bonds that others cannot fathom. Therefore, the music for Super (Em)Powers is written as a full-on superhero theme in the style of an epic film-score opening. Except in this case, the superpowers are real. The superheroes are real. And one could argue that they are far more powerful than what you could find in comic books. Enjoy the music, and experience the theme song of the world's greatest superheroes -- those with special needs (and special gifts).

- Program Note by composer


Media


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Adaptable Music


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