Campus: CSU Hayward -- November 07, 2001

CSUH Professor Writes New Arrangement Of 'America the Beautiful' in Response to Sept. 11 Attack

A new "big-bands" style arrangement of "America the Beautiful," inspired by the tragic events of Sept. 11, has been written by Dave Eshelman, professor of music at California State University, Hayward.

His compact three-minute interpretation of the patriotic song has been distributed to the music or band departments of more than 200 Northern California colleges, high schools, and junior high schools.
In support of the project, the Copymat store in Hayward donated the printing of Eshelman's arrangement that was sent to the schools.

Eshelman felt compelled to do something following the terrorist attacks but wasn't sure what that should be.

"For a few days (after the attacks) I struggled with the question, 'What can I do?'" said Eshelman, also the university's director of jazz studies. "Eventually I decided to use my skills to write a big band arrangement of 'America the Beautiful.' My goal was to write something distinctive that goes beyond whatever works."
Eshelman said he wanted to create an "artistic twist" to the tune, yet make it simple enough to be performed and appreciated at various levels of musical sophistication.

"My hope has been that I could write something that would be sophisticated enough to interest more experienced musicians yet simple enough for the less experienced musician performing in a junior high school band," Eshelman noted.

The professor has had the full support of the university's department of music. "I was moved by (Eshelman's) strong feelings of love of country and the unique way he felt he was able to help in contributing positively to our nation's healing," said Timothy M. Smith,
chairman of the CSUH department of music. "It was not difficult for me to decide to help him with music department resources."

The Cal State Hayward Jazz Ensemble, made up of the professor's students, first performed his arrangement on Oct. 12 at the Fall Music Fest on the university campus and included the selection during mid-October for various daytime performances at high schools around Northern California. Other performances will be scheduled in November and December.

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