On the Threshold of Spring

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      When Dr. Tim Topolewski commissioned me to compose a new piece for Northern Symphonic Winds (NSW) of Charlevoix, MI, I'd have lived here just short of 3 years. I'll admit, that growing up and studying music in Philadelphia, I never thought I'd end up in Northern Michigan composing music for local ensembles. However, the skill level and prestige of NSW has me elated — I couldn't be more grateful for their willingness to commission new music, program new music, and push the boundaries of the nearby audience. Thank you, NSW!


     That being said, On the Threshold of Spring is all about the transition from Winter into Spring. As a child on the east coast, Spring was always my least favorite season. All I ever thought about when March rolled around was allergies. "Ugh...here come the itchy eyes," I'd always say. Now that I've experienced the everlasting winters of the Little Traverse Bay, I've officially begun yearning for Spring. "YES! 45-degree rain! Warmth!"


     When Spring finally rolls around, there's a certain magic in the air. The ice crystals melt off the tree branches, the constant snow transforms into the occasional rain, and the massive snow banks become rivers, feeding the unearthed foliage. Not to mention the beautiful rays of the sun return after months of cloud-cover. Almost instantaneously, the locals' moods are uplifted. Spring becomes a talking point for weeks, primarily about how everyone is thrilled of its arrival.


     However, the transition doesn't come without its difficulties. The warm-but-not-warm-enough temperatures, the potential of dangerous flash floods due to the snow accumulation, the very wet and muddy grounds that come with snow-melt, and everything in between. Underneath it all, though, is the great anticipation of when the season settles; when the region becomes a gateway to the thousands of resorters who come to relax each year.


      On the Threshold of Spring is ultimately an homage to the arrival of springtime air in Northern Michigan (although you might hear "second winter" that we so often experience). I love it here, and I hope this piece reflects my joy for the highly anticipated change of seasons.

(Grade 4)


Performance Recordings

Performance by

Northern Symphonic Winds in Charlevoix, MI

Dr. Timothy Topolewski, Conducting