“Matters of Kindness,” recorded by the University of Northern Colorado Wind Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Richard Mayne. Buy it now from Grand Mesa Music!
My goodness, this piece is special to me. One of the beautiful things about commissions is that you meet such wonderful people; or in this case, write about them. “Matters of Kindness” was commissioned by the Olds High School Senior Concert Band in Olds, Alberta, Canada to commemorate the life of a young woman taken too soon by Type 1 Diabetes, Madison Fleming. I have written extensively about the experience here and I really encourage you to read it.
Yes, I could write about how it’s in Ab major and modulates to Db and Eb and how it has a lyrical melody and everyone in the band has something interesting to play, but the real heart of this piece is in the student engagement and reflection. I’ve done journalled with my students about kindness, about loss, about fear, and about the ripples that our loved ones leave behind after they go and there is A LOT to unpack for kids. If we want music to engage kids emotionally, this is a tremendous vehicle to do so (while also giving them some practice in Ab and Db, which are keys we just need to play in).
Here are some resources:
On Kindness (my blog post about rehearsing this piece with Madison’s band).
Remembering Madison (Madi’s obituary)