Double Secret Probation

[for orchestra]

composed for the 2009 PMEA District 8 Orchestra, Jennifer Sacher Wiley, director: 8 minutes

Double Secret Probation is music that explores the no-man's land between order and chaos.  Ordinarily, when a contemporary composer mentions either "order" or "chaos" in program notes, it's generally a good time to head for the lobby. Please stay. The tile refers to a famous movie scene that will be instantly familiar to people of a certain age.  It comes from  a line uttered by Dean Wermer in the 1978 movie classic, "Animal House".    The movie is about an infamous college fraternity that wreaks havoc on the genteel Faber College. The stuff and self-important Dean Wermer, as he attempts to maintain the dignity of the college, and himself, is their nemesis. In this famous scene, the boys have sinned again, this time by leaving an entire horse in the Dean's office. The Dean admonishes them, declaring, "I'm putting you all on probation".   When it is pointed out to him that the boys are in fact already on probation, he thinks briefly and then decisively puts them on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION. The musical attitude of this piece vacillates between the superficial profundity of Dean Wermer, and the profound superficiality of the fraternity boys. If you think about it, they would be nothing without each other.


Recording by PMEA District 8 Orchestra 2009,

Jennifer Sacher Wiley, conductor

Download score (free)