E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
French Horn I-II-III-IV
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V, including:
- Bass Drum
- Cowbells (4)
- Cymbals (suspended)
- Field Drum
- Gong (or Tam-tam) (2)
- Sizzle Cymbal
- Snare Drum
- Temple Blocks
- Triangle (2)
- Tubular Bells
- Woodblocks (2)
- Percussion III: Reh. no. 50 is missing.
Zion is the third and final installment of a series of works for wind ensemble inspired by national parks in the western United States, collectively called Three Places in the West. As in the other two works (The Yellowstone Fires and Arches), it is my intention to convey more an impression of the feelings I've had in Zion National Park in Utah than an attempt at a pictorial description. Zion is a place with unrivaled natural grandeur, being a sort of huge box canyon in which the traveler is constantly overwhelmed by towering rock walls on every side -- but it is also a place with a human history, having been inhabited by several tribes of Native Americans before the arrival of the Mormon settlers in the mid-nineteenth century. By the time the Mormons reached Utah, they had been driven all the way from New York State through Ohio and through their tragic losses in Missouri. They saw Utah in general as "a place nobody wanted" but were nonetheless determined to keep it to themselves. Although Zion Canyon was never a "Mormon stronghold", the people who reached it and claimed it (and gave it its present name) had been through extreme trials.
It is the religious fervor of these persecuted people that I was able to draw upon in creating Zion as a piece of music. There are two quoted hymns in the work: Zion's Walls (which Aaron Copland adapted to his own purposes in both Old American Songs and The Tender Land), and Zion's Security, which I found in the same volume where Copland found Zion's Walls -- that inexhaustible storehouse of nineteenth century hymnody called The Sacred Harp.
My work opens with a three-verse setting of Zion's Security, a stern tune in F# minor which is full of resolve. (The words of this hymn are resolute and strong, rallying the faithful to be firm, and describing the "city of our God" they hope to establish.) This melody alternates with a fanfare tune, whose origins will be revealed later in the music, until the second half of the piece begins: a driving ostinato based on a 3/4-4/4 alternating meter scheme. This pauses at its height to restate Zion's Security one more time, in a rather obscure setting surrounded by freely shifting patterns in the flutes, clarinets, and percussion -- until the sun warms the ground sufficiently for the second hymn to appear. Zion's Walls is set in 7/8, unlike Copland's 9/8-6/8 meters (the original is quite strange, and doesn't really fit any constant meter) and is introduced by a warm horn solo with low brass accompaniment. The two hymns vie for attention from here to the end of the piece, with glowingly optimistic Zion's Walls finally achieving prominence. The work ends with a sense of triumph and unbreakable spirit.
Zion was commissioned in 1994 by the wind ensembles of the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Oklahoma. It is dedicated to the memory of Aaron Copland.
- Program Note by composer
- ABA/Ostwald Prize (1997)
- Audio CD: James Logan High School Wind Symphony (Ramiro Barrera, conductor) – 2003
- Audio CD: North Texas Wind Symphony (Eugene Corporon, conductor).
- Audio CD: University of Texas at Arlington Wind Ensemble (Ray C. Lichtenwalter, conductor)
- Alabama: Class AA
- Florida: VI
- Georgia: VI
- Louisiana: V
- Michigan: Senior High AA
- New York: Concert Band VI
- North Carolina: Masterworks
- Oklahoma: V-A
- Texas: V. Complete
- Virginia: VI
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Centenary College of Louisiana (Shreveport) Wind Ensemble (Thomas Hundemer, conductor)
- Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff) Wind Symphony (Stephen J. Meyer, conductor) - 15 October 2021
- University of Kentucky (Lexington) Symphony Band (Jeremy Harmon, conductor) – 1 March 2020
- Ohio University (Athens) Wind Symphony (Slade Denman, conductor) – 3 November 2019
- Truman State University (Kirksville, Mo.) Wind Symphony I (Curran Prendergast, conductor) – 22 September 2019
- California State University, Los Angeles Wind Ensemble (Emily Moss, conductor) – 8 May 2019
- University of Wisconsin-Parkside Community Band (Laura Rexroth, conductor) – 6 December 2018
- St. Louis (Mo.) Wind Symphony (Thomas Poshak, conductor) - 30 September 2018
- University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (John R. Locke, conductor) – 27 September 2018
- University of Vermont (Burlington) Wind Ensemble (Chris Rivers, conductor) - 15 April 2018
- University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Concert Band (Courtney Snyder, conductor) – 9 April 2018
- The Hartt Omni-Ensemble (West Hartford, Conn.) (James E. Jackson III, conductor) – 31 March 2018
- Eastman Wind Orchestra (Rochester, N.Y.) (William Talley, conductor) – 2 March 2018
- Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 28 February 2018
- University of Florida (Gainesville) Wind Symphony (David Waybright, conductor) – 15 February 2018
- Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) – 30 November 2017
- West Virginia University (Morgantown) Wind Symphony (Scott C. Tobias, conductor) – 13 November 2017
- Cleveland Winds (Cleveland, Ohio) (Birch Browning, conductor) – 12 November 2017
- Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Eric Allen, conductor) – 30 October 2017
- Colorado Wind Ensemble (Denver) (David Kish, conductor) – 21 October 2017
- James Logan High School (Union City, Calif.) Wind Symphony (Ramiro Barrera, conductor) – 18 December 2003 (2003 Midwest Clinic)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Arches (1985)
- Castle Creek (1989/2009)
- Circular Marches. See: Symphony No. 3, "Shaker Life"
- Downshifting (2014)
- For the Mystic Harmony (2017)
- Glacier (2003)
- Hauntings (1986)
- Laboring Songs. See: Symphony No. 3, "Shaker Life"
- Minstrels of the Kells (2002)
- Perpetual Song (2008)
- Songs Without Words (2001/2007)
- Spumante (1998/1999)
- Symphony No. 3, "Shaker Life" (1997)
- Symphony No. 4, "American Visionary" (2005)
- Symphony No. 6, "Three Places in the East" (2017)
- Upriver (2011)
- The Yellowstone Fires (1998)
- Zion (1994)
- Dan Welcher website.
- Miles, Richard B., and Larry Blocher. (2010). Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 1. Chicago: GIA Publications. pp. 974-980.
- Welcher, D. (1998). Zion: For Wind Ensemble [score]. Elkan-Fogel: Bryn Mawr, Penn.