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Today Is the Gift

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Samuel Hazo

Samuel Hazo

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Subtitle: For Brass and Percussion

General Info

Year: 2006
Duration: c. 3:50
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $75.00   |   Score Only (print) - $7.50


Full Score
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V

(percussion detail desired)

Players chanting


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This exciting work demonstrates a fresh approach and unique vision for wind bands. Scored for brass and percussion with woodwind players contributing East African chant/singing, along with egg shakers, this composition is a tribute to the memory of Rosa Parks and her struggle for civil rights more than 50 years ago.

- Program Note from publisher

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Mrs. Rosa Parks' display of courage, December 1st, 1955.

Commissioned by the Midwest Clinic. Premiered at the 59th Annual Midwest Clinic, December 16, 2005, by Duncanville High School Band, Dr. Tom Shine, Conductor.

- Program Note from score

“Tomorrow is a mystery. Yesterday is history. Today is the gift.”

African proverb

On December 1, 1955, Mrs. Rosa Parks displayed a level of courage that only the intrinsic certainty of truth can inspire. Solely because of Mrs. Parks’ action, the contemptible “Montgomery Segregation Law” was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on November 13, 1956. On December 20, 1956, the city of Montgomery, Alabama was ordered to desegregate buses.

What few people know is that E.D. Nixon, then President of Montgomery’s NAACP, was waiting for just the right person (in particular, a woman) to violate the Montgomery Segregation Law. Rosa Parks was that person. Two women had violated the law earlier that same year, but their character was so publicly attacked that Nixon couldn’t build a case against that law with either of the women. Rosa Parks, however, was of impeccable character and was, therefore, beyond reproach. Mr. Nixon, who knew both Rosa Parks and her husband Raymond, told them that she was the one around whom the NAACP could build a case to end segregation. While the events of December 1, 1955, made it a dark day for those who believed in equality, to E.D. Nixon and the Civil Rights Movement in America, that day was “the gift.”

Now, as we celebrate the golden anniversary of the day that was “the gift,” we must always remember the power of one person who is armed with the truth, and we have the duty to carry on Mrs. Parks’ example. We must never let ourselves believe that even the smallest social wrong is acceptable or can be ignored. Rosa Parks chose to fight for one seat, on one bus, in Montgomery, Alabama. Perhaps this is best summarized in the eloquent words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s letter from a Birmingham jail: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

- Program Note by composer

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Westminster College (New Wilmington, Penn.) Wind Ensemble (R. Tad Greig, conductor) - 30 April 2021
  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Concert Band (Brian Wolfe, conductor) – 23 April 2018
  • Boston University (Mass.) Concert Band (Matthew Allen, conductor) – 28 February 2018
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Symphonic Band (Scott Munterfering, conductor) – 3 February 2018
  • Baldwin Wallace University (Berea, Ohio) Community Music School Symphonic Wind Ensemble – 2017

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Hazo, S. (2006). Today Is the Gift [score]. Hal Leonard: Milwaukee, Wisc.