Josh Bartz (Director of Bands at Portage Northern High School in Southwest Michigan) was looking for a challenging new experience for his high school students. This was the very first idea of what ended up becoming my first ever concert band piece, Into Existence. I was a student of his three years before I was asked to write this piece, and for a while we have been talking about a composition opportunity. It finally got off the ground as a new, exciting, and challenging piece for his students. At this time in his teaching career, his “Wind Ensemble” (top of three bands at the school) was one of the best groups of musicians he has ever had in his teaching experience. Because of this, the very idea of composing a new work for them was very exciting. I could nearly write anything I wanted and they would be able to play it. So in early December of 2015, we had a meeting about this new piece. The directions were very simple for my first concert band work: Very hard, exciting, energetic, and about five minutes. Basically what a perfect closer to a long concert would be. The piece was finished March 9th of 2016.
Into Existence is everything an exciting and short concert band closer should be, in my mind. It is very fast, exciting, and epic. The idea of this piece came from the scientific theory of the big bang. When this occurred 13.8 billion years ago, 99% of the universe was almost instantly destroyed. 99% of the matter that the universe consisted of was destroyed by antimatter. We are able to understand matter and antimatter by agitating space. When we do this, matter and antimatter pop Into Existence, and in less than a second, abliderate each other. From this very interesting concept, I decided it would be a great idea to follow for a piece. Motives all across the ensemble, and within sections, pop Into Existence and out very quickly.
The piece captures the intensity that was the creation of the universe, from almost standpoint of every belief system. It was a very dramatic experience that created what we have today. From the Astrophysics big band theory, it was a very well and organized chaotic situation, following scientific laws. That is exactly what this piece is, organized chaos. It demonstrates the power of space, nature, and what we still do not understand. The 5 minutes this piece consists of is a great adventure that captures many ideas about what our universe may be.
This work would not exist if not for Josh Bartz and the Portage Northern High School Wind Ensemble. My greatest thanks and gratitude goes out to them.
Caleb Hammer- March 9, 2016 (age 21)
Into Existence was premiered on May 19, 2016.
premiere with conductor, josh bartz
-Portage Northern High School