The Adventurers (2013)

Judd Street Collection - September 2016
Duration approx. 7:00 mins

With a severe overdose of cap-dothing to action films and composers such as Broughton & Williams, The Adventurers is a fun piece with a serious message at heart.

The piece was requested by B/M Chris Ward for the Hempstead Citadel band (NY) of The Salvation Army and is written in the selection (medley) genre for brass band and percussion. It features three songs from the SA music world: He leadeth me! O blessèd thought!By His Hand and Lead me
The Adventurers

The piece launches with a shot note from the band and an arresting figure for Flugel and Tenor Horns. The notes of the figure are built on the opening phrase of By His Hand - the central song in the work.  

The Adventurers - Eb Horn motif

Solo Horn Eb - first 8 bars

Next, cornets sound out a primary theme which becomes a recurring subject in the work (bar A in the graphic). 

The Adventurers - Solo Cornet opening

Solo Cornet Bb - first 24 bars

Reminiscent of the Big Western movies, the opening features long, broad lines and energetic motifs. It portrays a broad, epic landscape the Adventurers face - such as the New World that the Europeans encountered when arriving in North America 400 years ago. The adventure has begun. 

The Adventurers - clip1.mp3

Eventually a crisp Snare Drum rhythm and high Horn motif (again recalling the Big Western movies) introduce the first song - He leadeth me! O blessèd thought! on Euphonium, then Trombones. This song is found in the SA songbook (SASB 725) and the chosen tune is TB21 'He leadeth me!' - the popular choice of tune for this song Stateside. 

Euphonium Bb - 'He Leadeth Me!' melody at section C 

The Adventurers - clip2.mp3

There is a brief sojourn into a Raiders of the Lost Ark-esque theme in this movement. The idea is that, in the same way the fictional Adventurers of books and movies face extreme challenges and threats, we in the real world must also face enormous peaks and unfathomable valleys in life, but the sense of adventure need never be far away - no matter how difficult the odds may seem. 

Solo Horn Eb - Raiders-esque theme (excerpt)

The Adventurers - clip3.mp3

The reflective central movement features By His Hand - another setting of the same song, this time with music by Thomas Mack. These moments of reprieve allow the Adventurers to come before God in prayer, thankful for the journey they are on, and anxious to secure God's presence for the remainder of the quest. 

In recent years this particular song setting has been extremely popular with SA songster brigades (choirs) and is being adopted into the movement's wider repertoire. Mack's tender melody is first painted on a minor key canvas, but later warms as the section evolves. The inclusion of this song was requested by B/M Ward as a special acknowledgement to Mack who has written much for the SA and is a current member of the Hempstead Citadel band. Thanks Thomas for this great song, and for all you contribute to the Kingdom with soul-saving music! 

Flugel Horn Bb - 'By His Hand' melody at section I

The Adventurers - clip4.mp3

The third song, Lead me is also introduced in this movement. This song is a setting of Saviour, lead me, lest I stray (SASB 627) as arranged by Penny Babb and published in the UK's Sing to the Lord SATB journal. This is a special song - again popular with brigades, certainly here in the UK - and later becomes the substance of the work's finale. At this point in the music it is presented as a Euphonium solo with Cornet obligato. 

Euphonium Bb - 'Lead Me' melody at section L 

The Adventurers - clip5.mp3

Two-thirds through an action movie, the protagonists are usually faced with a seemingly-unassailable challenge which must be overcome for victory to be achieved. In the same way, the realization dawns on our Adventurers that, though they may come good in the end, the mission is nowhere near complete. 

With this in mind there is an immediate return to the Raiders-type theme and this then victoriously builds to the finale of the piece - the final presentation of Lead Me. Here the Adventurers recognise the value of their journey companions and realise they are part of a much bigger story. This again is an analogy for the Christian faith which principally is about journeying through life in relationship with God and with others - all as part of an overarching, eternal plan. 

The Adventurers - clip6.mp3

Through the choice of songs in this piece, I hope its message is clear: that to live our adventure to the full, it is best put in the hands of Christ - the adventure-maker - and that we simply say to Him, 'Lead me!'  My experience is that extraordinary things can happen in a person's life when they say 'yes' to God. (See also Lord of Sea and Sky).

As always, I hope and pray that spirits will be lifted and hearts challenged as this music is offered as an act of worship.

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