Commencement Day, set for trumpet, trombone, and piano, is in single-movement form and written to honor the life of my father, Don R. Carroll. All expressive markings are the composer's suggestions; as with all music, a large portion of the musical interpretation is dependent on the performers.
The piece commences with the sound of a distant trumpet foreshadowing triumph, then progresses directly into a Death March ostinato as the first theme is heard. Two distinct themes are present within the piece, each played by a different solo instrument. The first theme heard is a mournful one exposed by the trombone, representing Dad's earthly death. Being human, we all experience the grieving process. The denial, precious seem to attack us. The time of grief, portrayed by the development section, is short-lived because of our faith in God, who provides us comfort and peace. Once again, the trombone's Triumphant Theme with more brilliance and assurance than ever before. Dad loved to hear mom sing "Ivory Palaces." One can hear melodic quotes of that hymn if he or she listens closely.
Dad lived his entire life striving for heaven, and now is there with his Father, no longer hurting, crying, or suffering in any way. He is with God watching us and rejoicing with our truimphs. Please share with me in the celebrating and rejoining of his greatest Triumph.
My father passed away March 9, 1998, two days after his fifty-second birthday. This piece is intended to be a celebration, not of his absence from earth, but rather of his presence in heaven. It is a celebration of his graduation from this life and of the commencement into his real Life in his real Home with his real Father.