This work, geared toward advanced student performers, will focus on three trees that tell the story of Kentucky: the mighty Oak, the threatened White Ash, and the fruit-filled American Papaw.
The piece will open with Oak. Without oak, Kentucky could not be called Bourbon Country. Bourbon requires fresh cut oak, which has been bent and formed into barrels, charred on the inside and allowed to be filled with Kentucky’s signature alcohol. The spirit will be aged at least two years in this wooden enclosure, allowing its tannins and vanillans to seep into the bourbon, enhancing its flavor.
White Ash is the primary source of material for one of Kentucky’s other industries: the baseball bat. For more than a century, the Louisville Slugger factory has churned out many of the baseball bats that America has watched people like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols swing. The White Ash, however, is threatened though by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect from Asia, which prefers this tree for its home. In urban environments, White Ash has been replaced by oak trees, and in rural areas, low growing fruit trees are coming to the rescue.
The American Papaw is one of these trees. The low growing trees fill forest undergrowth and help provide for the soil of the area. They also grow the Papaw, the largest indigenous fruit found in North America. Despite their home in the temperature regions of Kentucky, they grow similar to the fruit trees found in tropical rainforests.
Each of these three movements will be roughly 3 minutes in length and will be able to stand alone as an individual solo work on their own right, but when combined, will create the story of Kentucky Woods.
The Student level tier will receive a digital copy of Kentucky Woods by December 1, 2023.