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The Only Constant, suite for tuba and piano (2023)

Written for Wayne Eldred.

Premiered by Wayne Eldred (tuba) and BJ Miller (piano) at Gorell Recital Hall at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, on April 8th, 2023.

I came up with the ideas behind The Only Constant with friend and tubist Wayne Eldred, who approached me with the idea of writing a three movement piece based around the uncertainty of life.

As a human in my late 20’s (at the time of writing) I have felt these sentiments a lot in the last few years, as well as heard them from a lot of people my age: “What am I doing?” “Am I doing the right thing?” “Why is everything changing so fast?” “Everyone else seems like they have it all together - why don’t I?”

As I get older, I start to realize that the world around me is far more vast and complicated and messy than I ever thought it could be - and that truthfully, no one really knows what they’re doing; everyone just does the best they can with what they have in the moment. Life can so uncertain and chaotic, but in that chaos lies the real magic: The possibility that anything can happen - bad things, yes, but also wonderful things beyond one’s wildest dreams! It is for this reason that the title of this piece is derived from the profound statement,

“The only constant is change.”

~~~~~

This piece follows a protagonist through a saga in three movements:

I. False Gold. The protagonist is young, bright, confident. They know exactly what they are going to do in life, and they have everything they need to get there. There is a clear sense of right and wrong for them, everything is laid out in clear black and white. They start out confidently along the road of their journey, but start to encounter difficulties, bumps, roadblocks. Eventually, their bravado begins to give way into...

II. Night of Doubt. The protagonist is in a dark, shadowy place. Nothing feels certain anymore. What is the way forward? What are they supposed to do? How can they move forward now, when they never know what is going to happen next? In the midst of so much fear, they look up at the black night sky, and see...

III. Guiding Star of Faith. A shining ray of hope begins to cast light upon the protagonist’s path once again. They gradually become more and more comfortable with the idea of uncertainty. Their confidence returns, but tempered with wisdom this time: They may not always know what the way forward is, but they believe that they are capable of handling anything that life throws their way. And so, they continue off into the horizon, fully embracing the constant of change.

(February 2023)

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