When Eddie Lewis wrote the Celebrations book, he had over half a dozen ideas for duet books in his head. Since he couldn’t make up his mind which one to work on, he did them all at once. Celebrations is a combination of all those books into one project.
The Celebrations book combined the individual books in a way that favored an overall progressive order. But From this website, you can explore each of the original book ideas separately.
The Celebrations Story
The story behind these duets goes back to my high school years, at Andres High School in El Paso, TX. I used to write duets for fun but didn’t understand that what I was doing was composing music. My two best friends in high school were Jawn Glass and Leslie Townsend. We used to get together to play out of the duet books we owned and then I asked them to try to play some of the duets I wrote.
I think I composed about twenty duets in those few years but only one of them survived (#51). Later, when I began putting free music on my website, that sole surviving duet was one of the pieces I offered as a download.
One day I got an email from a student in the Midwest asking for my permission to perform this duet at his solo and ensemble competition. I gave him that permission but a few days later he said he wouldn’t be able to use it because he needed a contrasting work. Well, I wrote him a contrasting work to go with the original duet (#52). This was twenty years after I had graduated from high school.
Writing that new duet, after having been a successful composer for over a decade, it was like a blast from the past. I was rediscovering my composition roots…as odd as that sounds. I got such a kick out of it and I didn’t feel like stopping. It wasn’t long before I realized I wanted to write a book.
But I don’t just write books. I’ve written dozens of trumpet books. Each my books offers something different, something which has never been done or said before. With all the preexisting literature, it doesn’t make sense to JUST write a book.
I decided to put considerable effort into research to see what was already out there and what I could do differently. I bought as many books as I could find. But let me tell you, it wasn’t so easy finding these things. There isn’t a whole lot of duet stuff out there anymore. It seems to me that good duet books were a lot easier to find thirty years ago.
I did find one wonderful book which I want to tout here for a second. It was an inspiration to me and a pure delight playing through the book with students and friends. “Trumpet Duets” by Thomas Morley – transcribed by Leigh Anne Hunsaker. This is my favorite duet book and was a huge inspiration while writing Celebrations.
Having done my research, I was ready to start writing and I had a blast with it all. I had plenty of ideas about things I could do with the book which hadn’t been done yet. Coming up with ideas wasn’t a problem, picking only one of them was. In my mind, I had six different duet projects to choose from but I finally decided to write all of them and compile them into one book.
That’s why the book is so diverse, even more diverse than what is typical for me as a composer. There are diatonic duets, duets based on symmetric scales, contrapuntal duets, jazz duets, Latin duets, polytonal duets and Spider duets.
Spider Duets??? What are Spider Duets?
When I was a student at the University of Texas in El Paso, I invented a new harmonic language. This language had NEVER been used before and only used once by me in my final year there as a student. It wasn’t until I began doing simple computer programming in the early 1990s that I was able to use this harmonic language in an efficient manner. I wrote an original computer program to facilitate the process and these duets are a result of that creative effort.
In the early stages of development, I was posting the duets on my website in a pdf file similar to this one. I called that file “The Stack of Trumpet Duets”. In it, I dedicated each duet to a fellow trumpet player from my past; teachers, students and colleagues. It was a tribute to those people who had made an “Actual Reality” (as opposed to virtual reality) contribution to my music career.
In the end, I decided to drop the dedications for the final version of Celebrations. I do feel like I owe those people an explanation. When the book had grown to sixty duets, I had a terrible loss in my life. More than one, actually. My life changed and something happened to my music which will forever mark that time in my life as a turning point.
I had always been a Christian. I have always lived my life as a Christian and my faith was ever-present in my music. However, one area of my life where I never let God enter was into the business. While I thought, all along, that I was upholding Godly values and such, I never thought to ask God to take an active role in the business the way I had in other areas of my life. When that changed, I asked God what to do about the duet book. At that point, I didn’t even know if He wanted me to continue writing it or not.
After a series of personal messages, God showed me what He wanted me to do with the duets. He wanted me to develop them as a tool to use with my students. Thus, the work commenced anew. Only at that point the objective had become more clearly defined. This was to become a progressive book, offering a little bit of something for players of every level.
At that point, the biggest challenge was in connecting the duets in a more progressive order. My music room floor was covered with the duets as I made an effort to sort them in order of difficulty. I was doing this with basically six different duet books, mixing them up in hopes to find a sequential order. With them all on the floor, I could better see the gaps in the order and those were the duets I knew needed to be written next.
The final step was to add the beginner duets, adding then a seventh duet book to the list. My son was only then learning to play trumpet and was the first one to play them with me.
Why title the book “Celebrations”?
As far as the actual writing is concerned, it took me four years to write this book. That four years was an emotional and spiritual roller coaster ride. The completion of the book was during a time of new beginnings for me. Not one new beginning. Many new beginnings. I was facing an entirely new life with a new family that is completely centered on God in all things.
“Celebrations” is about second chances. It’s about new opportunities. It’s about enjoying God’s goodness. It’s about friendships and lasting relationships.
It’s almost funny. I removed the dedications from the book and one of my friends jokingly told me that it wasn’t right to give God someone else’s left overs. She wanted me to keep the dedications because it wasn’t right to those people to take those dedications away. But she thought I was dedicating the book to God. I was, but not in the way she thought. I was dedicating the book to God through obedience, because I was doing with the book what God told me to do with it. But it was no longer a tribute piece for the friends I’ve made over the years. It became an educational work meant to serve my students’ needs.
I hope you enjoy the book the way so many others have already. It means so very much to me as its author when I hear all the wonderful comments people have had.
God bless you.