Composed by Rob Stein Percussion by Trent Gronewold and Eric Shriver Originally commissioned for: Downers Grove South High School - Downers Grove, IL
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds… and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 1910
This show is based on this historic speech by Theodore Roosevelt, and explores the challenges that one encounters while on the way to achieving a goal – while in “The Arena.”
1. Entering the Arena
A solo rudimental snare drum and lone French horn herald our entry into “the arena” as we embark on our mission. An energetic fanfare leads to the first impact of the show, and is sure to impress your audiences and judges! As the movement continues, a unison woodwind feature will show off your outstanding musicians, and seamlessly leads to another impact moment.
2. Dust, Sweat, and Blood
Every path to greatness has challenges along the way. Low brass impacts immediately change the uplifting tone we heard in the early stages of the show, and lead to a duet between a violin and cello that tells of the long and difficult road it can be towards achieving success. Energetic melodic lines in the woodwinds and brass build up to another impact as we pick ourselves up off the mat and continue fighting.
*Note – the solo instruments of violin and cello can be real, or virtual with an amazing sound libraries. Solo instruments can also be changed to any wind instrument if desired.
3. Coming Up Short
The snare drum from the intro to the show returns, as does our string duet, this time sharing a mournful tune that shows the feeling of being at one’s lowest point in their path. A solo flute takes over as swells in the supporting ensemble build up to a beautiful impact that calls on both major and minor tonalities to create a sense of tension and anguish. Just when it seems as though darkness will prevail, a bright major tonality comes forward to signal the vigilance that it takes to move past defeat, and onto victory!
4. Finding Success
The violin and cello return, this time adding shades of optimism back into the score. Fanfare-like material returns and builds to a powerful ending, as we realize that success has been achieved through hard work and perseverance. We are all better for having been in “The Arena!”
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