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“Under The Night Sky In The Philippines” program notes:
In 2009 I met my wife Arrianne. She is Filipina on her mom’s side. Over the years I’ve always wanted to learn more about her mom’s home country, the Philippines. We had planned a trip in 2020 to travel there. However, as we all know, the world shut down and we never got to go.
Fast forward to 2022, I get the opportunity to reconnect with Dr. Julia Baumanis. She had previously premiered one of my works at MMEA with the University of Central Missouri Wind Symphony and was now at Rutgers University. Julia is also Filipina on her mothers side, with her mother immigrating to the United States when she was twelve from the islands. I told her I had been doing research on lullabies from the Philippines to arrange for my niece and wanted to turn them into a concert band piece. We decided to collaborate on this project and settled on 2 prominent lullabies from different areas of the Philippines:
“Dandansoy” is a traditional Visayan lullaby. In this song it describes a young man’s journey going back home to be with the one who he loves.
“Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” is a traditional lullaby written in Tagalog. It talks about how they wish their childhood and memories of their mother’s will never fade away. The lyrics go on to describe peacefully sleeping while the stars in the night sky watch over them.
“Under The Night Sky In The Philippines” is both an arrangement and interpretation of these lullabies. It’s meant to invoke the feeling we all get when our guardian sung us to sleep when we were young. But more importantly it’s about bringing the culture of the Philippines to a new generation and help celebrate and honor it.
The collaborators of this project dedicate this work to the culture and country of the Philippines and all of the people in our lives who come from and are descendants from these islands.
This piece has a solo soprano part. If none are available, alternative instrumental solo parts are available on demand for any instrument.
This piece would not have been possible without the incredible help of the following people and the composer wishes to thank them.
- Dr. Julia Baumanis – Thank you for letting me write this piece for you and bringing it to life. Your ideas and suggestions really made the piece all the more special. I’m glad I can call you friend and look forward to many more projects with you!
- Michael and Kristin Schultz – Michael has been my cover artist for a few years now. The inclusion of his talented wife Kristin, who lettered the title page, was such a fantastic idea. I can’t wait to collaborate more on future covers with you both.
- Dodaday Graham (Robert’s mother in law) – Your stories about growing up in the Philippines were inspirational to me. Thank you for inspiring me to do this project.
- Arrianne Langenfeld – I’ve said this in a dozen other pieces, but you are my spark of inspiration. I’m sure one day we will get to go on our trip to the Philippines together.