AMEN! (2017) was commissioned by the University of Michigan Symphony Band and is a homage to my family's four generational affiliation with the Pentecostal church. My intent is to re-create the musical experience of an African American Pentecostal church service that I enjoyed being apart of while growing up in this denomination.
Pentecostal denominations, such as: Church of God in Christ (C.O.G.IC.), Pentecostal Assemblies of God, Apostolic, Holiness Church, among many others, are known for their exuberant outward expressions of worship.
The worship services in these churches will often have joyous dancing, spontaneous shouting, and soulful singing. The music in these worship services is a vital vehicle in fostering a genuine spiritual experience for the congregation.
The three movements in AMEN! are performed without break to depict how the different parts of a worship services flows into the next. In the first movement, I’ve imagined the sound of an exuberant choir and congregation singing harmoniously together in a call and response fashion. The soulful second movement quotes a gospel song, "I'll Take Jesus For Mine” that I frequently heard in many services. The title, AMEN!, refers to the plagal cadence or “Amen" cadence (IV-I), which is the focal point of the climax in the final movement. Along with heavily syncopated rhythms and interjecting contrapuntal lines, this cadence modulates up by half step until we reach a frenzied state, emulating a spiritually heighten state of worship.
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.
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