Senior composes piece for wind ensemble


Jonny Ratner

Senior Abby McCue plays her flute as a part of the wind ensemble. For the fall concert, McCue composed an original piece for the ensemble to play.

Brianna Tang, Assistant A&E Editor

After years of songwriting as a hobby, senior Abby McCue wrote an original piece titled “Adventure into the Beyond” that was performed by Wind Ensemble at the Fall Instrumental Concert on Oct. 30. 

Orchestra director Amy Collins asked McCue to write the piece for Wind Ensemble at the end of her junior year. 

“My friend Allison [Subat] and I had been talking about showing Ms. Collins my stuff for years actually,” McCue said. “She was really impressed and asked me to write something over the summer to be played at the fall concert.”

According to senior Allison Subat, McCue would share the pieces she was working on with her on bus rides to indoor track meets and update her on new pieces that she had started.

“I would encourage her and tell her the parts that I liked about the different pieces and ways that she could improve them,” Subat said. 

Collins was unaware of the composing that McCue was doing until Subat showed her some of McCue’s pieces. Collins had the wind ensemble do an in class performance of a folk medley arranged by McCue at the end of last year, and was impressed with how it went which led her to asking McCue to write a piece over the summer for the fall concert. 

“Abby was not very forthcoming with all of this wonderful stuff that she was doing behind the scenes so I wasn’t fully aware” Collins said. “I’m really thankful Allison helped her friend out by promoting the great work she was doing.” 

McCue worked on the piece all throughout the summer, and the editing process of the rough draft was done at school with the help of Collins.

“I wanted Abby’s piece to be Abby’s piece and I didn’t want to make changes to her music,” Collins said. “I wanted Abby to be part of the process and she was, listening to what the band sounded like and getting the other students in the band to collaborate with her.”

McCue’s breakthrough moment for the piece actually occurred while she was in an airport during the summer. 

“I actually wrote the main baseline of the piece in the airport on the way to a lacrosse tournament,” McCue said. “The whole piece exploded from that.”

According to McCue, the main inspiration for this piece came from the styles of John Williams, widely regarded as one of the greatest American film composers of all time, and other major film composers. 

“I have this huge playlist that’s like 12 hours long of just instrumental movie music,” McCue said. “This piece encompasses my style in general which is what I wanted to do. It doesn’t have any specific meaning but it is a hero’s theme”

For the future, McCue hopes to enter some of her pieces into competitions. She is always writing and plans on being a music composition minor in college. 

The group had a stellar performance and she should be very proud,” Collins said. “We are [currently] working on musical concepts by listening to recordings to see what we struggled with and what we can work on for future pieces.”