Four Seasons and a Day in Grand Ledge

Four Seasons and a Day in Grand Ledge was written in memory of Marilyn Smith. She was lovingly nicknamed “The Mother of Grand Ledge” because of her many years of dedicated service to the community of Grand Ledge, Michigan. After an entire career of kindergarten teaching, Marilyn Smith retired a bit early so that she could direct the rest of her life toward helping build lasting organizations and traditions that have given this little town a rich and unique cultural identity. These include Ledge Craft LaneGrand Ledge Historical Society, and the Opera House. Not to mention the countless festivals and parades she had a hand in organizing.

The piece is written to be something of a biography for Marilyn. The first two thirds of the music ambiguously tie a day in the life of a kindergarten teacher to the annual festivities of each season in the town. Since she was involved with planning community events in every season, it made sense to have music that represents each one. When you hear Christmas music in one section and the patriotic music in another, you will know why! The piece begins in the fall–just like a school year.

The remainder of the piece depicts the strength and tenacity of Marilyn’s character. To accomplish the things that she did required a rare amount of energy and determination. The music reflects the inspiration she clearly instilled into those closest to her.

It is also important to note that Marilyn was a practicing Lutheran throughout her life as well. While it didn’t seem to be the most obvious thing about her, religion clearly guided her life in a deeply meaningful way. For this reason, I have used the melody of A Mighty Fortress throughout the piece. While Four Seasons and a Day in Grand Ledge never directly quotes the melody, if you listen carefully you will hear its influence.

This piece will be premiered this spring by the Grand Ledge Community Band. We (I’m a member) have begun rehearsing it and are currently working out the kinks that reveal themselves upon initial reading. A huge perk to being a part of the group performing the premiere is that I get to experience first hand the challenges of performing unpublished work. My fellow band members and I will be patiently working through impossible-to-see typos and unforeseen difficulties in my work. After the premiere is performed and the corrections made, the music will be available to the general public. Until then, this recording I threw together will give you an idea of what to expect: