Two students from the Michigan State University College of Music are composing classical music in honor of military veterans.
Ryan Jones and Ryan Gerhardt created the piece titled “Semper" because of its Latin origin with the armed services. “Semper Fidelis” is the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps.
“We were looking for something elegant,” said Gerhardt, who plays bassoon in the pieces performance. “So we were like, well what if we just take the word 'Semper' because 'Semper' means ‘always’. And we thought that title just worked so well on multiple levels."
The movements of “Semper” represent the three stages of military life, enlisting-serving-coming home.
“Because if you think about the first movement its Patriea, which means patriot, and these soldiers are always patriots," said Gerhardt. "Upon arriving back they will always be wounded. It’s also kind of a reference of that brotherhood they feel, that brotherhood never goes away.”
Gerhardt originally approached Jones about composing the piece. Jones obliged, he said in part because, “I like writing music for my friends and this is also something I felt was important.”
The music is set to be performed April 28, 8:00 p.m. at the Fairchild Theatre at an event sponsored by the MSU School of Social Work named “Embracing War Stories."
“In the certificate program there’s three courses. The first one is called embracing the stories of war which is what the music is written around,” said MSU Social Work professor Glenn Stutzky. “The second one is sharing the burdens of war and the third course is healing the wounds of war.”
The program helps those who are attending MSU to counsel veterans get a first hand experience of what war is really like for those who serve.
The event is open to the public and students and community members are encouraged to attend.