Fifty years after its debut, music from a piece composed to celebrate NC State’s 75th anniversary will once again be played on a concert stage.
The NC State Wind Ensemble’s fall concert Tuesday night will include a performance of “Of Earth and Atom,” originally composed and performed in 1962 in honor of NC State’s anniversary as well as the centennial anniversary of the Morrill Act, the legislation that established land-grant universities.
The music for “Of Earth and Atom” — which includes spoken and sung parts that will be performed by the Singing Statesmen and the NC State Chorale — was thought to have been lost in the 1965 Pullen Hall fire that destroyed much of the sheet music used by the Music Department.
Harry Tune ’62, who played first trombone in the original performance, launched a search for the music, which turned up in the archives at D.H. Hill Library. Tune and Brent Cousins ’73, ’74, the son of composer M. Thomas Cousins, convinced the Music Department to perform the piece again.
Music Department Chairman J. Mark Scearce said the department was thrilled to present an encore performance of the ceremonial work, particularly in the university’s 125th anniversary year.
“Too often new compositions are given a premiere and that’s the end of them,” he says. “As a composer, I understand those all-important second performances. Many hours of added rehearsal have gone into this and we are all excited by the mounting of this mammoth project, uniting choruses and wind ensemble tomorrow night.”
—Sylvia Adcock ‘81