Program Notes

The initial writing of Be Ever the Hope was for concert band and came at the request of Mallory Thompson, conductor of the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Northshore Concert Band.  She asked for a slow piece that would be melodic, lyrical, convey a sense of positivity, and be playable by a wide range of concert bands.

The strings and percussion arrangement was a request from Michael R. Boitz, conductor of the Saratoga High School Strings in Saratoga, California.  After hearing the concert band version, he felt the piece would transfer well to string orchestra.

The form is typical of a song – introduction, verse 1, chorus 1, verse 2, bridge, chorus 2, outro.  The introduction contains foreshadowing snippets of the primary melodies of the verse and chorus, interspersed with percussion metallic sparkles.  A cello solo initiates the first theme (verse) and is joined by a violin solo.  The full cello section responds with the second theme (chorus).  The orchestration expands into the second verse and moves forward through the bridge culminating in an emotional climax at the end of the second chorus.

The writing of the piece flowed easily, but finding the right title was a challenge.  The reason for writing the piece was because of Mallory.  Aside from being an incredible musician, she is a very hopeful person and I believe the piece reflects that quality in her. As I reflected on those thoughts, the title of the piece became clear – Mallory’s middle name is Beth – BEver the Hope.

Premiere performance by Saratoga High School of Saratoga, CA at 2023 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.


8-12 – Violin 1 (2 parts)
8-12 – Violin 2 (2 parts)
10-12 – Viola (3 parts)
8-12 – Violoncello (4 parts)
4-6 – Contrabass (E string extension recommended, but not required)



Percussion 1:


Percussion 2:


Percussion 3:
Chimes, Crotales (if crotales are not available, synthesizer can be used with a light bell sound and crotale passages played 8va throughout)


Percussion 4:
Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbals, Bass Drum
Rehearsal Piano included (use only if percussion keyboards not available for rehearsals or concert)

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Other pieces by Jay Kennedy