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seeing motordom for the first time

Three years ago I wrote my first wind ensemble piece inspired by Keith Sonnier's light installation "Motordom." I thought the metaphor for the piece was apt: both the wind ensemble and neon signs had bold, loud colors in their set.1 However, I have a confession to make:

I never saw this installation—I merely saw photos on the Internet.

I know I'm not the first composer to write a piece inspired by the unfamiliar: didn't composers incorporate rhythms, melodies, or instrumentation to evoke the atmosphere of "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away"?2

Well, during my last night in Los Angeles, I finally saw it.

I hope one day you can see this in person, especially because my poor stuck-in-the-90s Blackberry takes inferior images.3 I never anticipated the four-story grandeur of this installation nor the faint buzzing emitting from the neon and argon tubes. Seeing this installation made my brief visit home to Los Angeles complete.4

["Motordom" will be performed by the CCM Wind Ensemble as part of their CCM Winds Series,

Terence Milligan, music director and conductor. For more details, click here.]


1. At the time I believed both wind ensembles and neon signs had a plethora of colors to choose from. Nope, I was incorrect: the wind ensemble only has so many "hard" or "soft" timbres to choose from, and neon signs only have so many gasses available for color usage. Luckily my metaphor still works.

2. Sometimes I merely refer to Star Wars to sort out the geeks from the nerds in my friend pile.

3. When do I qualify for an iPhone? ARGH.

4. Almost. I was NOT able to visit Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. I guess I have to go back.

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