Philip Westin header image 2    
Composer, Conductor








Karen Sharp, Narrator

Hector Salazar, Conductor for the Premiere Performance February 7, 2009

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Hector Salazar

Hector Salazar



Karen Sharp

            Timothy and the Magic Garden was commissioned by, and is dedicated to Hector Salazar. The 32-minute piece, intended to introduce children to the orchestra, received its World Premiered on February 7, 2009 by the Carson-Dominguez Hills Symphony Orchestra with Karen Sharp, radio personality and host of KOST-103.5’s Lovesongs on the Coast narrating and Maestro Salazar conducting. Two days prior to the premiere, the work was performed at three childrens' concerts in the city of Carson, California.

            The charming story is by Westin's long-time friend and collaborator, Burt Peachy. The work is scored for 2 Flutes (2nd flute doubling piccolo), 2 Oboes (2nd oboe doubling English Horn), 2 Clarinets (2nd clarinet doubling Bass Clarinet), 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets, 2 Tenor Trombones, Tuba, 2 Percussionists (three players preferred), Harp, and Strings. A Tone Poem version of the work without narration is also available.


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Music Copyright (c) 2008 by Philip Westin

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Karen Sharp

Burt Peachy

Burt Peachy




By Burt Peachy

Story Copyright (c) 2008 by Burt Peachy


            Once upon a time, not too long ago, and not too far away, there lived a very nice young man named Timothy. He grew up in a town called Sunnyville, a wonderful place that everyone liked. Timothy and his family lived in a big house on a hill above the town where they could see the streets, the houses, the farms and the lovely river that ran past the town. It was an ideal place for a young boy to grow up.

            Timothy loved to skip along the streets and down the hill from his house to the beautiful river below. He greeted friendly people wherever he went. Everyone loved Timothy, who always had a smile and a wave. He marveled at the wonder of nature all around him – the big, tall elm and mulberry trees that lined the streets, the beautiful gardens, and  especially the wonderful sunsets that left golden reflections on the river. 

            Timothy liked to stand on the dock at the river’s edge and look in awe at the beautiful sight.

            Timothy’s father was mayor of Sunnyville and everyone respected him. He was a big, tall man who loved to carry little Timothy on his shoulders and play horse with him on their lawn. Timothy’s mother was a very happy person whose sweet nature was loved by all. In fact, everyone said that Timothy and his mother were very much alike! And not surprisingly, she was a nurse who taught Timothy to care for others, especially people who didn’t have as much as he. 

            On Saturdays, Timothy and his mother would visit the old people’s home and hand out food and presents that the townsfolk donated. Timothy’s mother set a very good example for all the folks in town. Timothy’s parents really loved each other and they were the best of families.

            But, of all the people in Timothy’s life, the one he loved the most, besides his parents, was his grandmother. She was a big, jolly woman who liked to cook and sew clothes for people in the old folk’s home. Often at bedtime, his grandmother would sit beside Timothy and read him wonderful stories. As she read to him, Timothy felt very safe, and peaceful. 

            Timothy’s grandmother enjoyed tending to her great garden, and Timothy loved to go to the garden with his grandmother to pick strawberries, harvest carrots, lettuce, and celery, and to dig up the wonderful big potatoes she had planted. It was a great garden full of colorful flowers and big tall corn where a little boy could run and play. And I’ll let you in on a big secret! Timothy and his grandmother talked to the plants and animals in the garden! in fact, they were all the very best of friends!

            Timothy and his grandmother gave wonderful names to all of the fruits and vegetables. They even gave names to the worms, birds, and other animals that inhabited the garden. It was a very busy place with lots of activity. Sometimes, there were even arguments between the animals and plants that grandmother always resolved. This magical place was a little town unto itself!

            Now, I think it’s time for you to meet a few of our friends in the Magic Garden. First, there is Ronnie Russet and his friends in the potato patch – a happy and hearty group! Then there is Olivia Bermuda, the red-headed onion and her girlfriends. They are beautiful – all green and purple, and very proud of their extraordinary fragrance! There is an ongoing argument between Olivia Bermuda and Ronnie Russet as to which is the more important vegetable in the garden. Tony Tomato is the biggest, reddest, fattest tomato you have ever seen! He loves to sing Italian songs to Timothy that make him laugh. 

Connie Cornstalk and her field of … (Narrator turns to the tuba.) Uh, thank you, Tony! Thank you! (Narrator shakes head, pauses . . .) Now, Connie Cornstalk and her fiel … (The tuba starts in again. Narrator turns and glares at the tuba.) (Loudly) Tony! I know that tubas don’t have solos very often, but we know who you are and we need to move on. Okay? (The tuba answers.) (Narrator nods.) Good! (Narrator turns back to audience.) Now, Connie Corns . . . (The tuba continues playing.) Narrator turns back to tuba and glares.) Tony! (Narrator becomes visibly exasperated, turns to the conductor and says,) Maestro, can you please help us get on with the introductions? (The conductor nods, turns to the tuba and gives a gigantic cutoff.) Thank you, Maestro. (Narrator turns again toward the audience.) Now, as I . . . (The tuba gives one last snort; narrator allows a disgusted pause.)

            Now, as I was saying, Connie Cornstalk and her field of friends are all yellow and green and keep lookout for crows and other birds for the entire, sun-drenched, garden. Gary Greenbean, the lankiest thing you can imagine, always cuddles up to Timothy and wraps a vine around his hand in loving affection. And all kinds of other fruits and vegetables are there, all working in harmony. It was a place of great love, care and community. At dusk, with his little red wagon loaded with vegetables, fruits, and flowers, Timothy and his grandmother walked back to the house talking about the world, and the wonder of it.

            At night, a few days later, it was raining outside and the wind was whistling through the trees. Timothy woke up in a fright and went to the window. He saw the garden below being flooded with water and the plants being uprooted by the wind and flying away!  He ran to his parent’s room and hugged his mother tightly. She said, “Don’t be afraid, Timothy, it’s only rain and wind.” He nodded, gave his mother a goodnight kiss and went back to his bed. But he lay in bed thinking that something was wrong, very wrong.

            The next day, when he awoke, Timothy put his clothes on and went downstairs to the garden. The magic garden was gone! Not a single plant remained; not even the strawberries or tomatoes.  It was bare earth! Timothy stood there a long time and began to cry. As he turned back to the house, he saw his father pulling into the driveway in the family car. His father got out and came up to Timothy. “Son,” he said, “I have some bad news to tell you. Last night, your grandmother became very ill. Timothy, your grandmother is never coming home. She’s gone to another place where old people go to be at peace. Some day you and I will go there too and we will see her again.” 

            At his grandmother’s funeral, Timothy was very sad.

            A few days later, Timothy was in his room, reading a book. His mother came in carrying a small box. “Timothy,” she said, “I found this in your grandmother’s room with a note addressed to you.” She handed the note and the box to Timothy. “It says that you should read it alone.” So she left him to read his grandmother’s note. “Dear Timothy, you are my special boy. And being special, I am leaving you this magical gift. Please open the box and take out the first envelope and follow the instructions on it.”

            Timothy opened the first envelope and read, “Inside is a seed. Her name is Rose. Plant her in the garden, water her every day and watch what happens.” Timothy ran to the garden, planted Rose, and gave her some water. In just a few days, a little stalk started to grow out of the ground. In no time it had grown six inches, then a foot! And then the stem got thicker and it grew to two feet; and finally to four feet tall with lots of leaves on it and a big red bud on top.

            One day he came down and a large red bloom had opened!  He knelt down to admire Rose when, all of a sudden, Rose began to talk to him! “Timothy, I am to be your friend from now on. Your grandmother left me to you and I am to guide you in making a special garden.”  Timothy sat down on the ground and began to talk to Rose. “What kind of garden?” “You will see. Go get the box and bring the seed envelopes here.”  He ran upstairs and brought the packets to the garden and listened while Rose told him which envelope to open and where to plant the seeds.

            Every day, he would talk to Rose. She would guide him in the digging, fertilizing, and watering of this new garden. And lo and behold, the garden sprang to life and the plants grew rapidly! One by one, Rose re-introduced Timothy to his old friends. There was Connie Cornstalk! And Stan Strawberry and his friends were busy budding and growing. When Gary Greenbean saw Timothy, he quickly sent out a new vine and wrapped himself all over Timothy in a loving embrace. Tony Tomato was even bigger and redder than before!

            Timothy was happy once more, and he and his Magic Garden were together again! Timothy’s parents were amazed at how quickly this new garden had grown, and how hard Timothy worked to tend it. They were very happy for him, and proud of his accomplishment.

            Early one morning, while the stars were still twinkling, Timothy went to visit the Magic Garden. He sat down to watch the sunrise, and to talk with Rose and all the vegetables. Rose asked Timothy an important question. She said, “Timothy, what is your role in life?” He pondered the question, and then answered, “I guess it’s to take care of this garden.” Rose listened for a moment, and then turned to the others in the garden and asked them the same question.

            Ronnie Russet was the first to speak up. “Our role in life is to take care of Timothy and the others. We provide them with nourishment and energy to continue to do their work.” Rose said, “Yes, that’s right Ronnie. We help Timothy and others, and in return, they help us to grow and prosper. We are bound together in an amazing way, aren’t we?” They all nodded. 

            Timothy looked to the horizon where dark clouds were forming and lightening was flashing. He decided it was time to go home. That night the sky got black and it was very windy.  Fierce lightening struck high up in the hills and the wind whipped through the trees. Timothy ran to the window to see what was happening. The lightening illuminated the garden and the surrounding land. He could see that flooding was beginning to occur. It was worse than the flood before!

            He got dressed quickly, put on his rain gear, and ran downstairs to talk with Rose. Rose was soaked to the bone! She cried out for Timothy to dig a deeper ditch for the water to run off the garden – which he did. He looked down the hill to the town below. Lightning lit up the sky and he could see the river below was rising dangerously.

            He wanted to run for help but didn’t know where to turn. He turned back to Rose and said, “Rose, what should we do?” Rose shook off the water and said, “I was given one magical wish by your grandmother, so I will use it – now!” All of a sudden, Rose began to glow, and grow tall. Her petals grew into gigantic wings and she began to twirl ’round and ’round. Magic sparkles fell all over the garden and the plants began to grow taller and taller. Ronnie Russet and his family grew feet, and ran down the hill to the village, waking up folks and getting them to safety.

            Gary Greenbean and his friends grew thicker and wrapped around each other to form large, strong ropes from which people could swing to safety or be pulled out of the rising river. As the storm continued to rage, Stan Strawberry and his pals grew large leaves that turned into wings, creating a flying carpet! They swept down on the hospital and carried sick folks to safety.

            Olivia Bermuda and Tony Tomato and his family got together and ran down the hill, creating a big arrow of red tomato sauce to help draw an escape route for the townsfolk!  When Rose signaled to her, Connie Cornstalk and her field sprouted flippers and created large corn mats that would float people down the river to safety. It was teamwork unparalleled in the world!

            Winds died. Rain slowed. And the sun finally came out again. The warmth of the rays dried the land and people came out of their shelters to look at the damage. It was a miracle! The town was still there! A little soggy, but it had been saved! And no one had perished!

            Later that day, Timothy and Rose were down by the riverbank, helping folks back to their homes. All the Magic Garden vegetables were there. As they were working, Timothy turned to Rose and said, “You are my best friend, and I’m going to have you by my side all my life.” Rose beamed and replied, “Some day, I’ll bet you’ll be mayor of this town!” 

            Timothy smiled, leaned over and asked Rose the ultimate question. “Rose,” he said, “You have never told me what your purpose is in life?” Rose leaned her petals towards him, stroked his chin, and said, “Timothy, I am the spirit of your grandmother. I will always be there with you, to guide you, and to remind you to love and take care of nature.”

            They smiled at each other, and suddenly realized that the entire town was watching them and applauding! It was time for a celebration! Timothy asked Tony Tomato to gather Rose and all their garden friends together.

             Then, they started marching up the hill in triumph! It was a splendid affair! Timothy’s mother and father stood at the top of the hill and looked down with pride at Timothy – the town’s hero!

            As the mayor, Timothy’s father gave Timothy and his friends the keys to the town! All of the vegetables were given their own, separate gardens. And Tony Tomato got his life-long wish – an Italian restaurant where he could sing to his heart’s content!

            What a sight! Everyone was waving as the Magic Garden continued its triumphant march up the hill! Timothy looked around and thought how proud his grandmother would be to see such good in the world!

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