Perseverance, A Modern Medieval March

Composed by Chris Redgrave

Composer Notes

Perseverance is an apt title for a piece that has been a very long time in coming.

In the fall of 1981, the I was a freshman at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, not in music, but engineering, a choice made as a concession to future income opportunity. However, music was never far from my thoughts.

Among the challenges of attending a school with 40,000+ students spread over such a vast campus were the long walks, sometimes nearly two miles to get between classes in only 30 minutes. To break up the monotony, my mind would sometimes wander back to being in my high school marching band and the many parades that I participated in. At some point, I began hearing sounds of a parade march in my head. Over time, it went from a single basic simple theme to a more complicated march but with an underlying beat that suggested a brisk urgent pace. Eventually complete counter melodies and chords began to appear in my mind. The modal harmonies are reminiscent of medieval music, thus the subtitle.

Fast forward about 10 years and basic composition software was just coming on the market, I used one such software to jot down the themes and develop the basic march. Unfortunately, the limits of my music education and available time meant it never got past being an amusing sound file on my computer.

Finally, some 36 years after its inception, with the help of a spouse with a master’s degree in music to correct the boneheaded composition errors of a novice, Perseverance is at last a reality. The piece has matured from a parade march into a more refined concert march but as I listen, I still hear those original notes that roamed through my mind those many years ago.

I would like to dedicate Perseverance, first to all those who have lofty ideas and dreams, who persevere through many obstacles however long it takes to see those visions become reality. It is also dedicated to my High School band director, the late Johnnie Clarke who gave me confidence and direction that has served me well my whole life.

I hope this piece will entertain and amuse all who hear it.

Chris Redgrave