Have You Ever Seen The Grand Canyon?

Performed by the Florida State University Percussion Ensemble

Score available from the composer.

Instrumentation: 12 Players: Bells, Crotales, 3 Vibraphones, 4 Marimbas (1 5.0 octave), Timpani, Chimes, Various Cymbals, Triangles, Bass Drum, Tam Tam

Program Notes:

We live in an amazing world where at the push of a button we can listen to almost any music that we desire. While this level of technology allows for a great amount of convenience, it also allows for a staggering level of complacency. Maynard James Keenan from the band Tool put this issue best when asked by an interviewer about why Tool has never put out a DVD of them performing live. Maynard asks the interviewer “Have you seen pictures of the Grand Canyon?” to which the interviewer nods affirmative. “It’s not the same. When you sit at the edge of the Grand Canyon, then you understand why it’s important to go to the Grand Canyon.”

I have had the pleasure of knowing John Parks for many years. During our first encounter he made reference to the band Tool, and somehow this reference has stuck with me ever since. Upon him asking for a piece from me, I knew that somehow the band Tool had to be involved in some way. This interview and message fit perfectly for a work for his incredible ensemble at Florida State.

This concept of experiencing live performances (not just in music, but in all the arts) also translates to life in general. While technology makes our world smaller and smaller every day, it also provides numerous distractions from the experiences happening right in front of us. This lesson is sometimes difficult to learn, and unfortunately on occasion a harsh reminder of this lesson is brought to the front. Both John and I, along with many of our mutual friends experienced one of these harsh reminders with the sudden loss of our friend Dr. Brandon Wood in October of 2012. This piece is dedicated to his memory, and the hope that we all will experience life while we can.

Sample Score Have You Ever Seen The Grand Canyon?