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Month of the Cold Moon

By Roland Barrett

Concert band - Level 4
Composed by Roland Barrett. Symphonic Band. FJH Symphonic Band. Score and set of parts. Duration 6 minutes. Published by The FJH Music Company Inc (FJ.B1367).

Item Number: FJ.B1367

Inspired by the tragic story of "The Trail of Tears," this work depicts the long journey made by the Cherokees when they were forced to leave their land and journey a thousand miles on foot. From shock to outrage, the opening section paints a vivid picture of chaos, depicted by forceful bass pedal points and powerful chords throughout the group. Unison ensemble hits announce the beginning of the journey. As the music builds, the unison hits continue to interject so as not to be forgotten. The middle section captures immense sadness and desperation through the use of delicate textures and lush harmonies. Previous themes all come together as the final section seeks to bring closure to this tragic event in American history. Powerful and emotional.
This work was inspired by the tragic story of Nunna daul Tsuny ("The Trail Where They Cried" or "The Trail of Tears"), one of the saddest incidents in American history. In the early 1800s, the U.S., feeling threatened by European presence in western North America, attempted to create a buffer zone between U.S. and European holdings. It would be inhabited by eastern American Indians, allowing for American expansion westward from the original colonies to the Mississippi River. Between 1816-1840, local tribes between the original states and the Mississippi gradually signed treaties ceding their lands to the U.S. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, forcing remaining Indians off their land. In May of 1838, federal troops began the roundup of the Cherokee Nation. Three groups left that summer, traveling from present-day Chattanooga by rail, boat, and wagon. One of these groups suffered three to five deaths per day from illness and drought. By March 1839, survivors had arrived in the West. No one knows how many died but the trail took a heavy toll on infants, small children, and elderly. Accompanying missionary doctor Elizur Butler estimated over 4000 died - nearly one-fifth of the entire Cherokee population. The formal structure of the work abstractly depicts various stages of the tragic journey.

About FJH Symphonic Band

Appropriate for accomplished high school, college, and professional groups. Includes expanded instrumentation and ranges. Grades 4 - 5

  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 5

    Difficulty Level:
  • 2009-04-17 00:00:00.0 Amazing Piece!

    Ok, so first of I'm not exactly sure my rating of difficulty is correct. But anyhow, we are currently working on this piece in the high school symphonic band. I play bells, brake drum, and wood block. This piece is an exciting one. The only part I don't...

    like is when I have 28 measures of rest!!! Ahh. But the trumpets on this piece are amazing and have some spectacular chords and sound very full. Overall a great piece.

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    11 of 22 people found this review helpful.
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