Riversbend Elegy, for saxophone, harp, and seven guns, is the story of two families grieving the loss of a young soldier. It’s Christmastime 2004, and Tom McBee is the first local kid to die at war in Iraq. Tom could tap dance, play jazz saxophone, and tell a wicked joke.  He leaves behind his sax, a fragile wife, and a baby boy.

The families of Tom and his young widow, Sue, are deeply intertwined. The grandparents have been next door neighbors for decades, and the children and grandchildren grew up together. They live in a tightly-knit community where loving care and long-held grudges are both common. Tom and Sue were married just two years ago, and the church was full of well-wishers for the wedding.

In this choral novel, we hear the voice of each of the folks who must learn to live without Tom McBee. As they gather in Riversbend to mourn his passing, the chorus they create is often a dissonant one, but the underlying chord of custom carries a familiar American tune.

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