top of page

The Third Year

Band | 4'00" | Intermediate | 2021

People often say, “Had it not been for (insert name here), I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today.” There are those people in your life who see a spark within you and, rather than letting it go unnoticed, they do everything in their power to help foster that spark so it will bloom and grow. Such people come in many different varieties. They could be your parents, your best friend, or even one of your teachers. What’s important, though, is that they are there and willing to help.


For me, one such person was my middle school band director, Sonya Williams. Dedicated to her, The Third Year is my way of giving thanks and showing gratitude for everything she did for me while under her tutelage. She even went as far as giving me the first music-writing software that I still use today, albeit many updated versions later. First written in 2008 with her guidance, I decided to revisit this piece and give it the makeover I thought it deserved after many years of collecting dust.


The piece opens with a nine-note motif initially stated by the brass family and echoed, almost immediately, by the woodwind family with a slight alteration. This idea becomes the basis from which all melodies of the work are derived and expanded. Transitioning through a tense and dissonant sustain, the subsequent section of the piece takes on a more playful, innocent nature. Being in the home key of B-flat major, the mallet percussion and piano create the innocence ostinato, which supports the melodies throughout the work. Once the upper woodwinds state the primary theme in its entirety, the trumpet and horn transition the music to the relative minor key of G to symbolize the discomfort felt during times of personal growth. Followed by a reprise of the innocence ostinato, the next section of the piece directly modulates to the key of F minor, with hints at D-flat major. As the melody weaves together ideas from previous sections, the music builds and intensifies until it reaches a quasi-apex. Through this third return of the innocence ostinato, the work develops into a long-sustained G-flat major chord with an added concert C at the loudest dynamic played thus far. After a brief interlude by the clarinet section, Ms. Williams’ primary instrument, the work ends with a short codetta led by the single-reed family in the key of D-flat major.


- program note by Jonathan P. Kochik

Premiered by                 

March 3, 2022
Kenai Central High School Concert Band
Christian Stephanos, conductor

bottom of page