The associate professor of music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga started working on the piece to navigate the emotional aftermath of the shooting spree, which claimed the lives of five servicemen.
"Everyone responds in their own way; I wanted to do something musical," the 45-year-old said. "One of the youngest victims [Lance Cpl. Squire "Skip" Wells] was a clarinet player in his high school band for four years. That kind of hit a little closer to home and got things rolling."
Try as he might, however, Wilson couldn't settle on a concept to anchor the work, and not having one brought him to a standstill.
As he stood outside his Lookout Valley home on the afternoon of Sept. 16, however, Wilson looked up and the solution to his problem cut the sky in half.
"The Blue Angels did their approach and flew straight over my house," he recalled, remembering the famed flight team's role in the Chattanooga Unite memorial concert. "They did the missing-man formation, and that never ceases to move me. That really guided the rest of the piece."