The opening of the work is a brilliant and lively fanfare. This is much like the beginning of the
relationship of the WMB and Bruce. I was struck by the fact that at 26 years old, Bruce took the reins
of this group of musicians. Although a successful high school band director at the time, taking over a
group of adult musicians that only rehearse one time for each concert, is a huge undertaking for the
most experienced of conductors. The opening fanfare is meant to illustrate the feelings of both Bruce
and the band as they began this concert.
As the fanfare reaches the end of the first statement we hear a flurry of notes enter from the
woodwinds. This is juxtaposed with a hymn-like melody in the low brass. I couldn’t help but think
that at that first concert Bruce likely thought that it would be a one-time thing. This section is meant to
illustrate the joy that both Bruce and the band felt at that “one time” concert some 40 years ago. We
then hear the opening fanfare return as we celebrate that this was not a one-time guest appearance, but the beginning of a long relationship with a wonderful group of musicians.
As we finish the fanfares and flourishes section, we traverse a short emotive section that should bring
feelings of contentment as the band and Bruce, look forward to the many concerts and joyful
gatherings they know they have in their future. Following this, in the “chorale” section we hear the old Scottish folk song, “The Water is Wide” or “O Waly,
Waly.” There are numerous sets of lyrics for this tune. However, the one that jumped out at me was the final verse of the Canadian version, the lyrics read:
O’ Love is handsome and love is kind,
Bright as a jewel when first it’s new.
But love grows old and waxes cold,
And fades away like morning dew.
What struck me about these words, are that the love from the band to Bruce, and Bruce to the band,
has not faded at all. When spending time with them, it is obvious that both still adore the other just as
they did at that first concert. So, with that I used this old melody to try to create a look back over the
40 wonderful years of music making. Each of the three iterations of this melody are orchestrated
differently; the first is simple, the second is thick and welcomes different colors throughout, and the
third is bold and happy. If one were to think back over 40 years, each of these sections are
representative of the joyful times that have been shared by band members, Bruce, and the community
Finally, we reach the end section of the work, the “Jubilee.” Jubilee is defined as: a special
anniversary or event, especially celebrating a reign of many years. How fitting but to have a true
celebration of the incredible four decades of mutual love between Bruce, the band, and tue community
of Wheaton. The first area we hear a gradual buildup where we can imagine that Bruce and the band
sometimes don’t know what to expect, (if you know Bruce, you know he sometimes changes things up
at the last min.) but we finally reach the jubilant celebration as we celebrate this wonderful 40 year
relationship. The second part of the jubilee is a time to look forward at what is yet to come in future
years, and finally the repeat of the jubilee celebrates all; the past, the present, and the future, of the
Wheaton Municipal Band, their beloved conductor, and the many years of music making yet to come.