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Duration: 7’00”
  • Georgia (GMEA) State Music List – Grade 6
  • North Carolina MPA State Music List – Grade 6

Commissioned by the Spring Lake Park High School Wind Ensemble, Spring Lake Park, Minnesota (Brian Lukkasson, Director)

Winner of the 2013 ABA Sousa/Ostwald Award

I arrived at the title, Pale Blue on Deep, while sitting on the shore of Lake Superior. Though I’ve visited this lake countless times, I’m always mesmerized by its power and serene beauty. You don’t just see this Great Lake; it’s a feeling you experience with all of your senses.

While there are certainly melodic and harmonic motifs used throughout the work, the larger unifying themes present are a bit more abstract. One main theme is the idea of colors blurring into each other. This was inspired by the place on the horizon where the water appears to blend right into the sky. Moments of tension and release can be attributed to a number of things such as waves crashing to the shore or the imagery of what might lie beneath the water’s surface. Above all, I believe the most prevalent theme of the piece is its pensive, introspective feeling, which is exactly the same feeling that comes over me upon each visit to Lake Superior.

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