Wind Ensemble’s Performance of Omar Thomas’ “Of Our New Day Begun”

Posted on 5/29/20 11:11 AM

“Of all human beings living through these trying times, it is the artist who has no right to be silent.”

—Jeffrey Erkelens, April 2020

Last October, the IUP Wind Ensemble performed Of Our New Day Begun, with the composer, Omar Thomas, as guest conductor. This powerful piece, which incorporates the poignant anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is sonically colorful, provocative, and emotional, both for the performers and the listeners.

Thomas writes about the work,

Of Our New Day Begun was written to honor nine beautiful souls who lost their lives to a callous act of hatred and domestic terrorism on the evening of June 17, 2015, while worshipping in their beloved sanctuary, the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (affectionately referred to as “Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, South Carolina.

My greatest challenge in creating this work was walking the line between reverence for the victims and their families, and honoring my strong, bitter feelings towards both the perpetrator and the segments of our society that continue to create people like him.

I realized that the most powerful musical expression I could offer incorporated elements from both sides of that line—embracing my pain and anger while being moved by the displays of grace and forgiveness demonstrated by the victims’ families.

We hope our performance touches you, challenges you, and also gives you hope.

Department of Music