The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble is returning to the national stage as they continue to celebrate the National Park system. With their fifth funding award from the National Endowment for the Arts, acclaimed composers were commissioned to create music that will be performed within the parks during the ensemble’s 20-day, 6,000-mile summer tour. The music reflects the immense diversity of the parks while capturing their breathtaking and inspiring landscapes and wildlife.
Viet Cuong’s Man of the Lake is inspired by the hemlock that has been bobbing up and down in Crater Lake National Park for over 100 years. Molly Herron's Journey Through a Redwood tells the story of these beautiful giants throughout Redwood National Park through music and narration. Dark Sky, composed by Judd Greenstein, reflects on what we see when we experience the elusive darkness of Lassen Volcanic National Park, and on how we might bring that spirit and memory of humility and wonder into our day-to-day lives. The Breath of Stone, composed by Ashlee Busch, is based on the quiet strength of the Royal Arches at Yosemite National Park. For Hardline, based on Theodore Roosevelt National Park, composer Sean Schafianski has the ensemble perform along with actual excerpts from Teddy Roosevelt speeches.
In addition, an arrangement of music by Pacific Northwest filmmaker, YouTuber, ultrarunner and composer Ethan Newberry will be performed, a hypnotic work by Ashley Stanley based on the stars of Arches National Park, Pamela Z’s Spirited Conversation, which combines wildlife recordings from Rocky Mountain National Park with the ensemble, Blue True Dream of Sky, composed by Stephen Lias, who was inspired by Great Basin National Park during a visit after emerging from the long isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dune by Marc Mellits, inspired by the rolling, shifting, and endless sand dunes of Indiana Dunes National Park, Christian Glascock’s Reflection, Acceptance, Hope, inspired by Bryce Canyon National Park's glowing red rocks at sunset followed by its incredible star-filled night sky, and Bill Ryan's Far Away, a look back home at Michigan's Grand River.
The ensemble presents this program over a twenty-day, 7,000 mile driving tour July 1—20, 2023. They will present outdoor concerts at five national parks—Theodore Roosevelt, Crater Lake, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, and Yosemite National Parks, and close out the tour with a special performance outside of Great Basin National Park at the Bristlecone General Store Backyard. All concerts are free and open to the public, and appropriate for ALL ages!