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Elk River
for solo viola

The day begins and ends with beauty. The smell of the river, clean and clear, competing with the musty smell of a well-worn lifejacket. The bright of the sun, the heat of a summer day, the splash of water cooling sunburned skin, packed lunches and cold drinks enjoyed on the river bank, tired muscles, river water soaked hair, and complete, contented exhaustion. These evoke the spirit of a summer day spent on the Elk River and a full day “float trip” through the hills of Southwest Missouri. This piece seeks to capture the essence of this picture.

“Morning Mist” starts the piece by portraying the serene beauty of a morning on the river.

“The Rapids,” though small in comparison to rapids elsewhere, ranging from mild most of the season to slightly exciting during higher water, evoke joy in the twisting fast paced ride.

“Capsize!” speaks to the power of the river, and that sometimes it wins in the wrestle to remain upright. Even the most experienced river rat can get caught off guard occasionally.

“The Creatures” represents the animals you may see during the trip: “crawdads,” a snake, a school of fish, insects and shore birds, a deer, Barn Swallows, and a Great Blue Heron.

The most relaxing part of the trip comes in canoeing the long stretches of peaceful river: the methodical dipping of the oars, the sun reflecting off the river, the bird song in the trees, and the smell of the water. “The Lazy Ride” is a depiction of this part of the trip.

Anyone who has ever been on a canoe trip down the Elk River knows about “The Bridge.” No float trip would be complete without a plunge into the river from the low water bridge near the end of the trip. Children's laughter and adults' whoops mix with the splashing as strangers and friends both cheer and encourage each other to jump.

Canoeing past “The Bluffs” ends a tiring but relaxing day on the river. The day begins and ends with beauty.

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