A Mother's Fanfare by Joseph Benjamin Earp
A Mother's Fanfare
by Joseph Benjamin Earp
Premiered Sunday, February 19th, 2023
by the 9-12 Northwest District Honor Band
Conducted by Mr. Blair Smith
Amazing Grace is probably one of the most well-known songs around the world. The melodic line to Amazing Grace can be traced back to Scottish origins, which serves as the inspiration for the Scottish flare in this fanfare. To many, Amazing Grace is known as a traditional folk song and hymn. Even during our toughest moments, the heart of this song speaks of us being able to find forgiveness and redemption.
My dear friend, colleague, and mentor, Blair Smith asked me to write a fanfare in honor of his mother, Catherine Anderson Smith, incorporating Amazing Grace. After spending some time thinking about how to transform this beautiful song into a fanfare while honoring his mother, I knew I wanted to create a celebration of life. Though I did not know his mother well, I knew her well enough to know she was a person dedicated to her children and would regularly attend Blair’s concerts that he would lead as a high school band director. I have been fortunate to attend some of these performances with his mother in the audience and I fondly remember one occurrence seeing her gazing at her son, Blair, conducting on stage. Her face was filled with pride that any mother gives to accomplishments being made by her children.
I wrote the fanfare to celebrate the life of our mothers. Even during our toughest moments, our mothers will be our rock and forever live in our hearts. Various statements of fragments of Amazing Grace can be heard throughout the beginning of the fanfare. Just before the entire Amazing Grace melody is stated, a clear statement of a melodic line from Blue Bells of Scotland aligns with the lyrics from the song's final verse. “True love will be his guard and bring him safe”. As Blair is a percussionist, I wanted to feature the percussion section in the beginning and just before the final statement by the full ensemble near the end of the fanfare. This represents his mother gazing at him with pride as he performs as a musician. The piece celebrates an amazing relationship between a son and his mother. This is “A Mother’s Fanfare”.