The Serial Sessions: Onward Pioneers



Onward Pioneers, with a nod to Walt Whitman’s Pioneers! O Pioneers!

Till with sound of trumpet,
Far, far off the daybreak call—hark! how loud and clear I hear it wind,
Swift! to the head of the army!–swift! spring to your places,
Pioneers! O pioneers!

I wrote this piece at Banff after hearing some spectacular bird song on my walk from the hut to the music building. Music remains and will always remain such a powerful, yet ultimately mysterious, force. I stood there listening to that bird thinking, How can I ever make something so easy, full-throated, beautiful, meaningful, and mysterious? I wrote a few call and response ideas and ended up with the melody as it now stands, which feels to me like a year end, holiday type song.

This is the first recording of this piece. I am so grateful for the insight and musicianship of all the musicians in this series. They brought the feeling of this piece to life and made it shine. Chet Doxas, Ryan Keberle, Frank Woeste, Linda Oh, and Rudy Royston were simply amazing playing these pieces. Serial Sessions was recorded in one day in January 2015, and I sincerely hope you have enjoyed hearing the results all year long. Collecting them all together really does feel like the passing of the seasons.

We decided to wrap up the series with this one and wish everyone a happy, safe, prosperous new year filled with love and joy.


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