Welcome to Alex Ehredt Music
Sticks of Fire performed by the Northern Illinois University Trombone Choir at the 2022 International Trombone Festival.
The inspiration for the title of this piece comes from a drive home one night while I was living in Tampa, FL. Like many summer nights in Florida, there was a violent thunderstorm rolling across the bay. I had experienced driving in Florida thunderstorms many times before, but this one was different. At this point in time, I was living on Davis Islands which is accessed by just one bridge south of downtown. As I pulled onto the bridge, I realized I was in the dead center of the storm, driving on what was the highest point within a half-mile radius. I’ve never been a big fan of lightning, but I have never been terrified of it until this moment. Bolts of lightning were colliding with the bay on both sides of the bridge. In the 30 seconds I was on the bridge, there were, what felt like, 10-15 strikes of lightning within view.
When I was asked to write this piece, I immediately recalled this moment and knew it must be the inspiration for this piece. I searched for a title that not only represented this terrifying and powerful moment, but also paid homage to the beauty of the city that I called home for four years. The term “Sticks of Fire” has a few different meanings to it, the first being it is believed the word “tampa” may have meant “sticks of fire” in the language of the Calusa Native American tribe which used to inhabit the Tampa area; and therefore, the city was named such because of the high number of lightning strikes it receives each year. Sticks of Fireis also the title of a sculpture residing in Plant Park at The University of Tampa where I received my undergraduate degree. I felt this term perfectly encapsulated the power of the trombone which guided my writing of the piece.