program notes by composition > M > A Movement for Rosa

A Movement for Rosa

Mark Camphouse

In 1955, tailor's assistant Rosa Parks (1913–2005) refused to relinquish her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white man. Her peaceful and courageous act of defiance and subsequent arrest sparked the U.S. civil rights movement.

This tone-poem contains three contrasting sections. The first evokes Rosa’s early years in Alabama through her marriage at age 19. The second portrays years of racial strife and the quest for social equality. The last is one of quiet strength and serenity. The hymn “We Shall Overcome,” foreshadowed in fragments in the first two sections, is finally heard in its entirety on solo horn. The lack of resolution in the work’s final measures serves as an ominous reminderof racism’s lingering presence.

Mark Camphouse (b. 1954) is an accomplished composer, conductor and trumpet player. A product of the rich cultural life of Chicago, he received degrees in music from Northwestern University where he studied composition with Alan Stout, conducting with John P. Paynter, and trumpet with Vincent Cichowicz. He also studied with the legendary Chicago Symphony Principal Trumpet Emeritus, Adolph Herseth. He is currently Professor of Music and Director of Bands at George Mason University in Virginia. He believes that composers and musicians should be politically aware and involved. He has composed works honoring Helen Keller and Ronald Reagan as well as Rosa Parks. "On my tombstone," he says, "I want to be remembered for two of the most meaningful words to me: American first and musician second."

Last updated on November 17, 2017 by Palatine Concert Band