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Hope Ahead Concert Premiere
West High School and Franklin Middle School band students to premiere Brian Balmages’ "Hope Ahead"
West High School and Franklin Middle School band students will soon premiere composer Brian Balmages’ Hope Ahead — a musical work that they helped inspire.

Students were prompted to speculate how a piece of visual artwork, which was to be the cover of Balmages' composition, could be interpreted and expressed musically. 

Students submitted their ideas to Balmages in the form of essays.

Balmages said he originally interpreted the piece of artwork as a depiction of a dystopian future in the face of over-reliance on artificial intelligence, but the students’ essays quickly changed his mind.

“I waited for [their] essays to come in so I could find examples that aligned with my thoughts," Balmages said. "And then I read them… and the students turned my world upside down.”

Balmages said found that the essay responses shared a common idea of finding hope and/or reminiscing about the future, inspiring the theme and title Hope Ahead for his composition.

West High School and Franklin Middle School band students will perform the piece on May 29, 2024, at 7:00 p.m. in the West High School auditorium with Balmages in attendance.

This opportunity is made possible through the efforts of the Beyond the Notes organization, which aims to provide students with opportunities to explore music beyond the notation on a page and make them a part of the creative composition process.
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