© Copyright 2018 by Jennifer Jolley 

The Eyes of the World Are upon You

COMMISSIONED

Alpha Tau chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi for The University of Texas at Austin Wind Ensemble, Jerry Junkin, conductor

FIRST PERFORMANCE

March 5, 2017 by the University of Texas Austin Wind Ensemble in Austin, TX. Jerry Junkin, conductor.

ENSEMBLE

2 piccolos, 2 flutes, 4 oboes (1 doubling English horn), 3 B-flat clarinets (9 minimum), bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, contrabassoon, 2 alto saxophones, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, 6 trumpets in B-flat, 4 horns in F, 2 trombones, 2 bass trombones, 2 euphoniums, 2 tubas, timpani, string bass, 4 percussion

*chimes, high siren, low siren, 2 bass drums, suspended cymbals, tam-tam

DURATION

12 minutes

PROGRAM NOTE​

Last summer I read an article in the New York Times entitled “Texas Lawmakers Pass a Bill Allowing Guns at Colleges,” which stated that “students and faculty members at public and private universities in Texas could be allowed to carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dormitories, and other buildings….” In a grim coincidence the article also noted that the new campus carry law would go in effect on the fiftieth anniversary of the UT Tower Shootings.

This chilled me.

UT Austin was the scene of the nation’s first campus mass shooting. On Monday, August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman murdered his mother and wife, then climbed to the top of the University of Texas Tower and fired his first shots just before noon. The killing spree went on for ninety-six minutes until Whitman was gunned down; seventeen people were killed.

It has been almost fifty-one years since this shocking event, and many things have changed. There are now campus police forces and significant improvements to mental health services were also made in the aftermath of the shooting. The UT Tower Shooting is both a tragic living history, as well as a celebration of resilience. As stated by the UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves at the Tower Memorial Rededication, “We will never eliminate the memory of the horror that consumed this campus on August 1, 1966. Nor should we try. But by focusing on the good—on the stories of the heroes and lives of the survivors here with us this afternoon—we can finally begin to remember and endure our burden of the past.”

This piece is a celebration of life: to those who died that day, but also to those who survived.

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The title “The Eyes of the World Are Upon You” is taken from Alejandra Garza’s article “‘The Eyes of the World Are Upon You, Texas’: How the Austin Newspapers Covered the UT Tower Shooting” from the website Behind the Tower: New Histories of the UT Tower Shooting.