Featured Work

for April 2022

At the Beginning of the Rainbow

Listen to the premiere performance of this new work for concert band.

Here is the O'Neil High School Band under the direction of Chad Dean, March 15, 2022.

At the Beginning of the Rainbow was commissioned by Chad Dean. It is dedicated to Becky Dean and all mothers who have endured a miscarriage.

A “Rainbow Baby” is a child who is born after a woman has a miscarriage. The child is a treasured gift that brings hope to a family after tragedy. But, in order to have a Rainbow Baby, one must first have a miscarriage. That is where this story starts.

In 2003, Becky was happily pregnant. Then came the numbing news of a miscarriage which paralyzed the family. The family, though devastated, remained strong. How would they heal from such loss? It was only a short time later that Becky would become pregnant again. Joy refilled the house and Kyler was born in 2004. He was a junior in the band that premiered the piece in March of 2022.

This lyrical work begins in Eb Major, moves to C Minor, and concludes in Eb Major. The key areas create an ABA form and covey the contrasting emotions one feels from pregnancy, to miscarriage to the birth of a rainbow baby.

In second grade, Nolan composed a short piece for piano that sounded very much like a lullaby. He thought this melody would be well suited as a link through this work. It is introduced in the piano at the beginning, appears in its minor form in the middle, and returns in a gentle and joyful statement at the end.

The A Section is divided into two themes that function as a quasi verse/refrain. The first theme is a hopeful, ascending lyrical melody and is followed by a second theme, a descending, bittersweet line. He composed the second theme during his early high school years at about the same age is Kyler in 2022. He also incorporated a short reference from the bridge of Somewhere Over The Rainbow and used it as accompaniment figure.

The B Section is based on the well known Latin hymn Dies Irae: Day Of Wrath. The plainsong melody has been

quoted often by composers through history such as Hayden, Berlioz, Mahler, and Rachmanioff to represent subjects of a dark or somber nature.

The A Section returns in a joyful form and the piece concludes delicately with the piano playing the ending of the lullaby.