The idea of theme music in life seems like it would only happen in our dreams, right? Music instructors Darcy Brandenburg, Michal Lang, and Casey Behm at Davies High School were able to bring that dream to reality. A talented composer, Randall Standridge, was hired to work within specific creative parameters and develop “With Truth and Honor, the Davies Alma Mater,” a song written specifically for their school. The timeline to create such a piece of work is a lengthy process and directors Brandenburg, Lang, and Behm were able to take some time and answer questions about the process behind this project.
“Premiering the work was really an amazing experience,” said Brandenburg. “Bringing work to life that has never been played anywhere else, and having the students involved in the creation.”
Each year the Davies music department presents a “Celebration of Music” concert in which the top group from orchestra, band, and choir performs. Each performing group performs separately and then all together for a mass musical number. In the past we performed some fantastic folk or patriotic music. Over the years, we thought that it would be very special for Davies and the students to commission a piece of music that we could perform at the end of this concert. The performance of this piece could even be a new tradition for the music department at Davies. We took the idea one step further and thought we should also have an alma mater written for Davies.
Was this creation a long process?
This artistic endeavor was several years in the making. However, once we got everything organized and started fundraising, the project took about a year and a half.
How did you commission a composer to write the alma mater?
Commissioning a new piece is a very unique experience. The music department wanted to find a composer who was willing to work within certain creative parameters. After research and discussion, we found Randall Standridge (pictured left), who is a composer from Arkansas and is sought after for his commissions. His music has been featured at the International Midwest Clinic and has been featured on many state literature lists.
Did this process have any financial obligations?
We had to hire someone to write the music and pay him for his time, especially since a piece of this importance required hiring a composer that could put all the required
pieces of the puzzle together and create something unique for our school. We are grateful to the Davies Booster Club for their very generous gift to get this piece commissioned. In addition to the support from the Booster Club, the Davies Tri-M program also fundraised money for this project.
“Now this commission will end the concert, grounding and creating a new tradition,” said Brandenburg. “Years from now, graduates can look back and say, ‘I helped create this masterpiece!’”