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Reconnecting.........................................................Ben Goldberg (b. 1976)

RECONNECTING is a programmatic composition that tells the story of participants in a unique rehabilitation program for juvenile and adult offenders with mental illness or substance abuse issues. The Treatment Court of the Delaware County Juvenile Court, Delaware County Municipal Mental Health Docket, and Maryhaven Treatment Center are designed to help participants gain control over their illness or addiction, to take responsibility for both their offense and their personal development, and to reconnect as healthier individuals to their families and community. The Central Ohio Symphony's Reconnecting program developed the groundbreaking therapeutic drum circles for all three of these programs. I traveled several times to Delaware to conduct research for the composition. I attended juvenile and adult court hearings and met with the program’s support team comprised of the Magistrate, Probation Officer, Therapist, and Treatment Services Department Head. This allowed me to gain valuable knowledge of the program and see firsthand the efforts taking place to help rehabilitate the offenders. I also attended a drum circle session and was able to speak directly with the participants about their experiences in the program, as well as witness the type of drumming techniques they were learning. From these discussions and observations I created the structure for RECONNECTING, which is built on the progression of the participants though the court program: their initial Offense, three rehabilitation phases, Graduation, and the Future.

The three rehabilitation phases possess common symbolic elements that create cohesion within the piece. The “Call and Response” sections represent the progress of the participants through the program and their relationship with the court and wider community. In phase one there is a “Call” from the orchestra but no response from the drummers. In phase two the orchestra’s “Call” is met with a mutual “Response.” In phase three the “Call” is initiated by the drummers and the “Response” is from the orchestra. The support team theme likewise becomes more positive and nurturing with every iteration. A gavel strike, in the percussion section, represents the frequency of the court hearings in each stage of the program, and is heard less regularly as the participants are granted more independence. Each phase also contains a “Story” which is directly inspired from my observations while conducting research for the composition. In addition to “Call and Response," other drumming techniques common to drum circle sessions that appear in the score include “Heartbeat,” “Shaker Pass,” and “Speaking” of names. The “Heartbeat” goes through several emotional transformations throughout the piece ranging from terrified to proud. The “Shaker Pass” is used in the Promotion sections to symbolize the passage of time. During the Graduation portion of the piece, the drummers announce themselves individually by improvising a musical interpretation of “Speaking” their names with the drums. This gives them an opportunity to express how they would like to be perceived on graduation day. Ben Goldberg


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