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Program Notes

Legend and Sundance


James Curnow, composer

This piece was commissioned by the South Dakota Bandmasters Association for the 1986 All-State Band of South Dakota. Wakan-Tanka, have mercy on us, That our people may live! This is the song from one of the greatest sacred rites of the Sioux Indians, "The Dance Looking at the Sun." The ceremony is held in summer during the time of the full moon. It is at the time of the summer buffalo hunt when all of the plains people gather together; for a week or more there are many minor ceremonies climaxed with the Sun Gazing Dance. Legend and Sundance seeks to capture the spirit and ardor of this very intense and passionate religious ceremony of the Great Plains Indians. The melodic content of the composition is based on actual Sioux melodies used in the ceremonies.



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