What follows is super compressed. When you're ready to absorb this, get a cup of coffee or tea.
“Probability & Statistics” was one of my favorite subjects. Feel free to calculate the ODDS of all this.
“The best Stories are the ones NOT devised.”
From STORMWORKS Chapter 5:8 - Writings on the Wall
Beyond Courage, Kakehashi: THAT WE MIGHT LIVE, coming to the Little Creek Navy Base on 21 APR 2023 at 7PM. See stormworld.com/secnav for getting onto the base for the free concert/event/tribute.
1. MUSASHI was composed on 11 SEP 2002. This led to the Recording of STORMWORKS Chapter 5:8, Writings on the Wall in Japan for the 60th Anniversary of WWII’s end in 2005.
2. On 30 AUG 2003, days before Hurricane Isabel destroyed our house for a 565-day repair, we went to the town of my birth, Rye, NY, to attend an engagement party at the “Wainwright House”. I was in the middle of composing “Beyond Courage, Kakehashi: That We Might Live" for the Survived and Sacrificed Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor. General Jonathan Wainwright surrendered troops on 9 April 1942. He was also a signatory at the 2 SEP 1945 formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri.
But! I had not yet put 2 and 2 together.
In the backyard of the “Wainwright” home, I could clearly see where the World Trade Center once stood. It was completed on my birthday. It went down on the birthday of our 1st Son, born 24 minutes before the 1st tower was hit on 11 SEP 2001.
A Sushi Chef was set up in the Wainwright Library. There were many books on Bataan & Corregidor. One book, “Through the Valley of the Kwai”, struck me. One of our ex-POWs from the USS Houston worked on the Kwai Railway. Withdrawing the book, I saw that it had a library card.
Two names above mine, you will see “Ed Stoddard” and a date of 7 DEC 1963. Ed Stoddard was my First Principal when I started Teaching in 1980-81. “Mr. Stoddard?” “December 7th?” “Odds?”
3. I tracked down a curator to ask permission to borrow the book. In the curator’s portion of the estate, there was a Piano. Thank GOD, my Father snapped the photo. On that Piano, General Wainwright’s Piano, I played the Theme from “Beyond Courage, Kakehashi: That We Might Live”. Yes. Spiritual indeed.
4. Near the Piano, (not in the house where the guests were), was this framed photo of General Wainwright.
5. Upon return to our soon-to-be-shattered house, we saw this Realtor Sign on the house next to ours.
6. On 18 SEP 2003, Hurricane Isabell destroyed our house.
Some of the 10 pieces composed in our destroyed house during that Time include:
7. Beyond Courage, Kakehashi: That We Might Live. Then. Now. Always. A Documentary in Music. (© 11 SEP 2003)
8. The 82:28 Film Score, “Retrograde”
9. JIDAI (© 11 SEP 2004)
10. BCKTWML was in part inspired by novelist, Dorothy Cave. Dorothy was born on 7 DEC 1941. She was the wife of the very first Bataan Death March/Hell Ship/Slave Labor Camp ex-POW/Survivor I had met, Jack Aldrich. At the premiere in Roswell, NM on 4/4/04, I was given the pin of the regiment by Jack. He said, “from this day forward, you are my Grandson.”
Jack was truly one of the Greatest Men I have ever known. I had missed meeting Ernest Gordon, the author of Through the Valley of the Kwai by one year. He had just passed away.
11. The final picture in our Montage is of “The Wainwright Inlet”. Shaped like a White Whale, it is the place where Moby Dick was killed at 3:33 AM on 14 SEP 1871 in my novel, “Death to Moby Dick, a Love Story.” (That work was recently “unpublished” and is coming again fairly soon. The official report was as follows: “Thirty-three ships, including the 117-foot bark, Seneca, were grounded in the ice.)
Enjoy. We are alive together... for reasons yet to be discovered. Godspeed! Stephen of the Storm
Addendum beyond the Photos:
On 26 SEP 2003, despite the Hurricane Damage, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of my Great Grandfather Ambrosio Melillo swearing the Oath to become an American Citizen.
In May of 2005, 143 Musicians selected from 5 Japanese Military Ensembles around the Island of Japan, joined by 300 American Vocalists from Shenandoah and Old Dominion Universities would play the Music written during this Time of battered houses, bodies, and SYNC. More than 350 Bataan/Corregidor Vets would receive a copy of the Recording. Seventeen DVD copies went to Congress. Because of this Music, ex-POWs were awarded Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts many years after the end of WWII.
Many impossible, fascinating things happened during this deeply Spiritual process of Honoring these Men by composing, organizing, and negotiating for 2 years with the Japanese Ministry of Defense.
After composing SYMPHONY #2: At Life’s Edge, I made the bold assertion that “people would get up out of their wheelchairs”. It was True. The visualized version of Beyond Courage, Kakehashi: THAT WE MIGHT LIVE was played for 200 American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor and their families at the 2007 American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor gathering in Kentucky. Indeed, Men in their 90s stood from their wheelchairs.
The Stories, the many “miracles”, go on even to this day. Two bands and a chorus from Clarence & Bellmore, New York, are preparing a special hybrid version of this work at the Little Creek “Gator” Theater on the Navy Base, Friday, 21 APR 2023 at 7 PM. We would love to see you there.
19 SEP 2023 is the 78th Anniversary of President Truman awarding General Jonathan Wainwright, the Medal of Honor.
Citation: Distinguished himself by intrepid and determined leadership against greatly superior enemy forces. At the repeated risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in his position, he frequented the firing line of his troops where his presence provided the example and incentive that helped make the gallant efforts of these men possible. The final stand on beleaguered Corregidor, for which he was in an important measure personally responsible, commanded the admiration of the Nation's allies. It reflected the high morale of American arms in the face of overwhelming odds. His courage and resolution were a vitally needed inspiration to the then sorely pressed freedom-loving peoples of the world.