Click to enlargeWere You There? (concert band)

This piece originally came to being as an arrangement for unaccompanied SATBB choir. It would never have been converted for concert band if it were not for Eric Whitacre and his piece Lux Aurumque, which made a similar transition.

This piece begins with the low brass beginning the hymn tune, and we gather additional instruments until all are playing through the first half of the hymn tune. In the second half, we get more contemplative, and at one point the woodwind choir is playing a very simply echoed phrase. The full and comes back in and build with strong emphasis, which leads to a very contemplative coda.

When they first see the music, your players are apt to think there is not much to it, but it will be found to be quite challenging to get the ensemble correct and fully in tune at all times. Ultimately, it will be a very effective concert number.

For a believer the inescapable answer to the question, "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" is emphatically yes. Each of us was not only there, but we participated in placing Jesus on the cross with our sin, and we died with him by joining with him in death to sin (Romans 3:21-26 and Romans 6:3-7).

Parts included:

Clarinet 1 & 2
Clarinet 3
Bass Clarinet
Alto Sax
Tenor Sax
Baritone Sax
Solo Cornet
Trumpet 1 & 2
F Horn 1 & 2
Trombone 1 & 2
Trombone 3
Baritone TC

Here via YouTube are two different renditions of the choral version of this piece performed by Ensemble Vocale "Secolo XXI" Directed by M Eduardo Franco Rondina. Their version is very expressive and is an example of how moving this piece can be, and possible inspiration for interpretation.

Version One
Version Two (possibly the better version)

MP3 sound sample: Entire piece (synthesizer/midi).

WERE YOU THERE? arranged for symphonic winds by Tom Kirkland, comes in a PDF file of 271K containing a six page score, seventeen one page parts, plus a license page, twenty-four pages in all. Performance time will be about 3:30.

The majority of our sheet music pieces use electronically-produced demos on the item pages. We would much prefer to use actual recordings, so if you email us a digital recording or link to an online video and we end up using it as a demo on our site (fully credited), we will send you a coupon code good for US$25 toward your next purchase from our site.

Many of our sheet music licenses state that the purchaser does not have the right to record the work. We have modified our policy on this, and unless the license page states that you must obtain permission from a party other than to record the work, we will allow a small number (less than 50) of copies of an audio or video recording of a live performance to be made and distributed and/or posted to a free web site for viewing/listening, so long as, the composer, arranger, and lyricist are credited.


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Last update: 24 APR 2023