“St. John’s on Church Hill” is a fanfare which was inspired by the historical events that took place at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia in the time preceding the American Revolution. The most notable event happened on March 23, 1775 which was Patrick Henry’s famous speech for which he is credited with the phrase “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!”
This work begins with sustaining, aurora-like chords in the strings and harp which are amplified by the winds. This leads to a fanfare melody blazoned by the brass section. Repeating this pattern three times, each recapitulation more intense than its antecedent, the work ends in a blend of all of the instrumental groups—influenced by the sound of the largest organ pipes of a church.
The work was commissioned by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra (VA) and was first performed at the Siegel Center of Virginia Commonwealth University by over five-hundred amateur musicians performing alongside the Richmond Symphony Orchestra on November 21, 2010.