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Nothing Gold Can Stay

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    08:30 min
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Instrumentation:   Band

Genres:   ChoraleLyricalSlow

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
– Robert Frost

Nothing Gold Can Stay was commissioned as a surprise gift for Kevin Sedatole in honor of his first ten years at Michigan State University. His conducting students spanning that decade, led by Jamal Duncan and Armand Hall, banded together and approached me at the 2015 College Band Directors National Convention in Nashville about writing the work, and I knew immediately that I couldn’t refuse this special project, made all the more appropriate because my wife, Verena, was one of Kevin’s very first students at MSU.

The music is my deliberate attempt to write a chorale – something simple, beautiful, and familiar. The deceptive surface simplicity of Robert Frost’s poem seems to coincide with this music, particularly the paradoxical descending of dawn to day, all embodying the concept of felix culpa, or “lucky fall” – the idea that loss can bring greater good, and is in fact necessary.


  • Scott Boerma
  • Matthew Dockendorf
  • Jamal Duncan
  • Richard Frey
  • Arris Golden
  • Armand V. Hall, II
  • Douglas Henderson
  • Brandon R. Hults
  • Steven Kandow
  • Galen Karriker
  • Joshua Kearney
  • Daniel Kirk
  • Colin McKenzie
  • Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant
  • Philip Obado
  • William Staub
  • Jared Staub
  • Daniel Tembras
  • David Thornton

and the following institutions:

  • Western Michigan University Bands
  • The University of Akron Bands
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha Bands
  • Georgia Southern University Bands

Commissioned by: Conducting students of Kevin Sedatole, led by Armand Hall and Jamal Duncan

Dedicated to: Kevin Sedatole


29 September 2016, Wharton Hall, Michigan State University Wind Symphony, Kevin Sedatole, conductor

Technical Info

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Flute 1,2
Clarinet in Bb 1,2,3
Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1,2
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone

Trumpet in Bb 1,2,3
Horn in F 1,2,3,4
Trombone 1,2,3
Euphonium 1,2

Double Bass (optional)

Piano (optional, but strongly encouraged)
Harp (optional)
Vibraphone (optional, but strongly encouraged)
Suspended Cymbal
Bass Drum

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Score (purchase):

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Parts Only (purchase):

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Distributor: Steven Bryant