Grade 4, 14 min
for Wind Ensemble
K. Cato 2014
Wow, Maslanka's Tears, mood sounds very similar, but more like if Ronnie took my melodic material and composed his own version. My new suite was originally inspired by the strength of African men to overcome and persevere under the incredible amounts of inequity and discrimination in this country. I thought of my father who is one of the most honest, hard working, loyal, and intelligent man I've ever known. Thinking about his life and his commitment to our family is extraordinary considering his and my mother's difficult childhood. They both were able to take their struggles and allowed it to be a motivating factor on how to improve their lives and provide a great upbringing for Ronnie and I.
Recently, Mt. Eden has appointed a very positive and supportive new principal, Mr. Gregory Fobbs, in addition to our fantastic new superintendent, Stan Dobbs, (a former musician and Navy Commander) who are both African American men. They act as exemplary examples of what minorities can and do accomplish as professionals and provide our students and parents with inspiring role models for the city of Hayward. As you know, it's been forever since we've had something to hope for and now that it's here, I will not take it for granted.
As such, I promised I would composed a piece for them last school year. Something in a jazz style for Greg and something with a lot of bass and brass-Stan plays all the brass instruments. (I started composing this in November while preparing for the winter tribute concert btw.) I was literally in the middle of the piece when the event occurred in Ferguson. Needless to say, I was sadden and discourage by the outcome. My first reaction was to aggressively composed a suite that depicted the emotions of the rioters, but with so much negatively, hate, and propaganda being spread in the news, I decided to do the contrary and compose about all the positive contributions African American People have given to the world and convey it through the many different styles of music they may have originated and/or perform through.
I've really come to comprehend the strength people need to keep going under enormous amounts of pressure, stress, racism, discrimination, animosity, anxiety, and utter madness. I'm thankful for my education and realize how it empowers and protects me and my family against people who seek to constantly take advantage of us, threaten us, mislead us, judge us, and discourage us into thinking that we don't deserve to be treated fairly or equally. It's definitely not in my nature to physically go to a protest, but I do want to do my part to make change happen as long as it's a positive change that stays within the truth of integrity and justice for all humanity. We all have to learn how to live together and support each other no matter what color, race, gender, culture, etc., or what will become of our future. I want to put something positive out there in the world and hope that positivity becomes contagious.