Inside every person, there is a place where creativity dwells. Gears turn, dreams flow, and ideas spark into life. This idea-factory or “Imaginarium” is the place that every creative person goes to, again and again, to find their muse, flesh out ideas, and to exert change on the world around them. This piece is dedicated to all of the dreamers who see more in the world than is actually there, who see possibilities where others see only dead ends, and who believe in creation rather than destruction. This one’s for you.

This work, commissioned by the Association of Texas Small School Bands for their All-State conference in 2015, was a blast to write. It is comprised of four sections: “Sparks” where ideas begin to germinate; “The Cloud Factory,” which represents the day dreamy zone where one imagines endless possibilities (with my best nod Eric Satie as well), “Here, There be Monsters…” is that moment of panic or nightmare that all creative people feel when self-doubt sets in and the task seems to monumental to overcome; a brief recapitulation to “Sparks” before “Eurkea!” the idea is fully realized!

Those familiar with my work may notice some textural and rhythmic similarities between this work and another of my pieces “Gadget.” These are intentional as, when I was writing Gadget, there were many ideas I wanted to explore but couldn’t find room for (side note here, the original draft of Gadget was 8 1/2 minutes long; the final draft was around 4 and 1/2). A few of these ideas found their way into Imaginarium, and I find no shame in that. Just like some visual artists may create a series of works based on a color scheme or a textural idea, composers may find themselves similarly inspired. This has happened to me once before (see my “machine” series: Afterburn, Adrenaline Engines, and Steel). I still have some material left over, even after this piece that may find it’s way into a work at a future date…or it may not. That’s the fun, isn’t it? The journey of discovery that begins with a blank score and ends with the work the listener hears.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Kenneth Griffin, John Young, and the ATSSB board for giving me the opportunity to create this work for the All-State band.