Did you know: 1913 was the year of “The Golden Hyphen?” That’s the year that the North Carolina towns of Winston and Salem incorporated and became the “City of the Arts and Innovation.” beginning its long tradition of visionary industry and love of the arts.
To mark its 2013 Centennial Celebration, the City of Winston-Salem commissioned Dan Locklair to write a new work; and, on May 12, Locklair’s Hail the Coming Day receives it world premiere by the Winston-Salem Symphony. Music director Robert Moody leads the performance which takes place at the StevensCenter at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Scored for large orchestra, the five-minute fanfare is a one-movement work consisting of five short sections or musical snapshots.
“To say this commission is a tremendous honor is an understatement,” Locklair shares. “I’m a native son of North Carolina, and when the Centennial committee contacted me, it was a delightful surprise – so unexpected. I was born in Charlotte, and I’ve lived in Winston-Salem and served as Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Wake Forest University for 30 years now. So writing this piece was like composing a tribute to my adopted hometown.”
Locklair continues, “Hail the Coming Day takes its title from an 1876 speech given by one of early Winston’s most influential leaders, Robert Gray, ‘I speak of Winston and Salem as one place….’ The fanfare opens and soon leads to the steely second section characterized by driving rhythms and crisp ostinato bass lines. [These] offer an aural snapshot of the mechanized energy inherent in the American Industrial Revolution for which, with its many tobacco, textile and other factories, the City of Winston was a leader… [The] serene and lyrical fourth snapshot celebrates the heritage of Salem’s Moravian [founders] and their commitment to peace and love of music… [Their] elegant simplicity symbolically and realistically brought a real and poetic lyricism to the union of the two cities…[The] remaining snapshots return to the exuberance and dialogue of celebration…[And in the closing section,] careful listeners might also imagine hearing Winston-Salem’s ‘hyphen’ (i.e. rests) – which [have brought] curious attention to, among others, the American postal system and, in recent years, trouble for Internet search engines…” Moody conducts a subsequent performance on May 14.
For concert details, visit the Winston-Salem Symphony.