By Alana Aamodt ’18
The open skies and towering mountains around Colorado Springs have long inspired artists — Katharine Lee Bates, while working at CC, found inspiration from them to create her famous poem, “America the Beautiful,” for example. The new CC logo, introduced in January, takes the same inspiration, incorporating these mountains and clear skies into its design.
From this logo, Carlton Gamer, professor emeritus of music, found his own inspiration for a new musical composition, which will be performed by the CC Concert Band on Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.
Gamer, a professor at CC from 1954-1994, taught a vast array of music courses as well as interdisciplinary courses ranging from Asian studies to history. He has composed more than 70 pieces that have been played all over the world. Still connected to the CC community, Gamer’s new piece “Mountains and Skies: A CC Fanfare” attempts to depict CC’s logo through music.
Gamer interpreted the two “C’s” on the logo as musical pitches. “It has two mountains,” he explains, “a big one and a little one, that can be conveyed in musical terms, the big ones by layers of low brass instruments, the little one by layers of low woodwind instruments. It has a clear background, the sky, which can be suggested by lighter layers of higher-pitched woodwind instruments.”
The buildup of a series of chords creates the “mountains,” trumpets cut across the piece, playing “C, C,” and the flares of the high woodwinds are reminiscent of the sharp diagonals of the logo. The effect is “chord-mountains” that rise and fall, eventually climaxing: “Finally, a big chord built on C arrives, and the mountains that form on this chord, the flares in the woodwinds, and a final flourish in the trumpets create the climax of the piece,” Gamer says.
Gamer took care in making his work both technically challenging and accessible for CC student musicians. He hopes that this balance, in combination with the piece’s deep connection to CC, will make it enjoyable to play and listen to, possibly becoming “a staple of the CC Concert Band repertoire.”
Come hear Gamer’s new work during the Colorado College Concert Band performance, “The American Experience,” directed by Jeremy Van Hoy and featuring rock, jazz, and music inspired by World War II Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7:30-9 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.