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Gazing Earthward

​Duration: approximately 8'00"


1 Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, 3 Bb Clarinets, 1 Bass Clarinet, 1 Contrabass Clarinet (opt.), 2 Alto Saxes., 1 Tenor Sax., 1 Baritone Sax., 3 Trumpets, 4 Horns, 2 Tenor Trombones, 1 Bass Trombone, 1 Euphonium, 1 Tuba, 1 String Bass (opt.), 1 Timpani, 4 Percussion

Program Notes:

"Man must rise above the Earth–

to the top of the atmosphere–

for only thus will he fully understand

the world in which he lives."

– Attributed to Socrates


In 1973, NASA launched the United States’ first space station: Skylab. Using incredible ingenuity and with the cancelation of the Moon missions, the station was built out of modified Saturn V parts and the crews were to arrive via the same Apollo spacecraft that brought humans to the Moon a few years earlier. Skylab launched on May 14th and about a minute in sustained severe damage. The micrometeoroid shield and sunshade were gone, as was one of the two main solar panels. The second solar panel was tangled in remnants of the missing parts. It looked like Skylab might have to be abandoned as temperatures soared inside the station and power was negligible. However, numerous scientists, engineers, and astronauts were able to come up with a plan to rescue the crippled Skylab. Through their efforts, the station was saved and would go on to be inhabited by three different crews and orbit Earth nearly 2500 times. Skylab played an important role in the history of space exploration and scientific discovery.


Gazing Earthward explores the drama surrounding Skylab’s launch and damage, as well as the feelings of loss opportunity all involved must have experienced. The work draws inspiration from various aspects of the Skylab program, including the durations of each mission, the images of the warped and mangled metal, the names and initials of the nine astronauts who made it home, and Johannes Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi. Ultimately, like many astronauts’ favorite pastime while in orbit, we end by turning our gaze towards Earth, humanity’s cradle.


This work commemorates Skylab on the 50th anniversary of its launch and was commissioned by a consortium organized by the University of Central Missouri (Corey Seapy, conductor).

Jenkins_Gazing Earthward.jp2
Perusal Score

This work was commissioned by a consortium organized by Corey Seapy and includes:

University of Central Missouri Bands (Corey Seapy, conductor)

Arkansas State University Bands (Steven Riley, conductor)

Purdue University Bands (David M. Blon, conductor)

Southeast Missouri State University Bands (Jim Daughters, conductor)

State University of New York at New Paltz Bands (Adam Fontana, conductor)

University of Illinois Bands

Wichita State University Bands (Timothy Shade, conductor)





Arkansas State University Symphonic Winds (Steven Riley, conductor) - 22 February 2024; Jonesboro, AR

SUNY New Paltz Symphonic Band (Adam Fontana, conductor) - 1 December 2023; New Paltz, NY

University of Central Missouri Wind Ensemble (Corey Seapy, conductor) - 25 October 2023; Warrensburg, MO



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