Talented Hero Honors The Fallen
March 12, 2007
While our troops are maintaining a hectic pace, fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, they aren’t always busy with their jobs 24/7. They do have down time. During that down time, many of our troops turn to things to occupy the time. Some may play a guitar, write a journal, listen to music, some may have brought their guitar with them, and strum it to while away their time. It’s not often though that you hear of a classical pianist and composer in the military. Somehow the two don’t seem to be something that would be compatible.
At FOB Orgun-E in Afghanistan, you will find such a soldier. SPC Brandon Begley who’s only 22, began studying the piano at the young age of 6. Begley took 4 months to compose a three-movement sonata as a tribute to fallen comrades. The piece honors PFC Aaron Edgin and Cpl Kevin Griner who were both killed in battle in 2006. But Begley says that not only does it honor his fallen friends but also anyone who’s fallen in the name of freedom. The sonata is called “The Sonata of War and Peace.”
“It was very sad and very painful to, you know, see that Soldiers had given their lives in defense of their Country,” Begley said in a choked voice. Although his job doesn’t take him off the base, he has seen the results of fighting. “War is not a pretty sight,” he says.
Begley composed his sonata in an empty airplane hanger, as he says it has the best acoustics. Begley took about four months to perfect the piece, writing between shifts, repairing armored vehicles and construction equipment. He also plays on an organ that is borrowed from the base chapel. Begely said that the deaths of his fellow Soldiers shook him deeply and that this is reflected in his music, which he describes as “dark.” He further says that this reflects the conflicting nature of the inspiration for the sonata; the hope for peace as opposed to the need to confront the threat of terrorism. Begley has only performed his sonata for a few seclect comrades.
But he has higher aspirations. He describes his music as “a combination of Mozart and Beethoven” and hopes one day to perform in public with a live orchestra. He also has composed music to celebrate the birth of his first daughter, Bella, and other family events.
“I want everyone to know my feelings about our Soldiers and not only in the United States but every army,” he says. “I hope my music will touch a lot of hearts.”
At this time, Begley’s plans are to make a career of the Army. He joined in October 2001 shortly after 9/11. He eventually would like to be able to join the Army band.