knells for bonnie (August 3, 2015)

a short elegy for chamber winds and flute (7 minutes)
Commissioned for Sarah Frisof by the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble and conductor, Paul W. Popiel.

Program Note

Program Note: knells for bonnie (August 3, 2015)

“Just to know that the war is officially over is good news to ours ears because on the back of this is the thought of having world wide peace again. Let us hope and pray that in case of another war, it will be a long way off.”

My grandfather wrote those words from Tokyo Bay, Japan on September 2, 1945.

Before he entered shipped out in 1944, he had been a baseball player with an eye for fast cars and fun. Following his discharge from the U. S. Navy, he spent the next seventy years preaching love and forgiveness all across the American south.

He and I never talked politics, we never talked religion, and certainly never talked about WWII. But we often talked about living a life of service to others using whatever gifts we have in the service of something greater than ourselves.

As with so many of his generation, I never heard a word about his life in 1944-45 and what, if anything, specifically happened to shape his post-war vision of a well-lived life. But upon rereading his letter from seventy years ago, I can’t help but reflect upon the sadness he must have felt watching each one of those years pass only to realize that the world wide peace he hoped he had helped earn is still somehow beyond our collective selves.

Rest In Peace, Granddaddy
Bonnie Neal Puckett (March 5, 1926-August 3, 2015)