Florence and Alice (2021)
Commissioned by the River Valley Band, Hastings MN
Concert band, Grade 3.
Florence and Alice Leduc were sisters who founded and ran Hastings Needle Work out of their home in Hastings, MN from 188-1922. The story of these two young women who used their creativity and needlepoint skills to create a successful business during a time when this was quite atypical for women was very inspiring. I thought this would be a good topic to explore for a concert celebrating women given in Hastings, MN, where the Leduc sisters lived and worked.
The opening melody spells their names/initials F A LEDUC = F Ab A E D C C (A=Ab, L=A or "la" in solfege, U=C using an older solfege system that replaces "do" with "ut"). The opening melody is bold and celebratory, reflecting the success at starting and running a business at a time when that was not typically done by women. The middle section I think of more as the "needlepoint section" with lots of melodies (threads), a rhythm of "short-long" that reflects the rhythm of "poke-pull" used when doing needlepoint, and the metallic, sharp sounds of cymbal and triangle that seem needle-like to me. Repeated notes and the overall feel I hope reflect the actual doing of work, and the repetitive nature of laying stitch after stitch. -Erika Svanoe