We are pleased to announce that the Stevensville Lakeshore Middle School 8th Grade Band under the direction of Mr. Phil Huff and Mrs. Cindy Huff will be performing as our guest middle school ensemble for the Fifth Annual Fall Conference on Middle School Band Music, "The Joy of Middle School Band: Kids, Music, Teachers." They will perform at 3:45pm in the Dalton Center Recital Hall and, following their performance, our guest composer Sean O'Loughlin will clinic the band.
At the inception of this conference, the organizing committee decided that a middle school whose bands have a history of excellence should be invited to perform and receive a clinic with the guest composer, similar to the design of WMU's Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music. The organizing committee considered a variety of methods for choosing the guest ensemble and decided to follow the approach used by the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. The members of the committee function as "secret shoppers" observing ensembles in varied performance and classroom situations over time and noting consistently high quality experiences and outcomes. Then, through nominations and discussions during a closed meeting, the choice is made and the invitation is extended.
The list of previous guest ensembles includes the Mattawan 8th Grade Band, the Galesburg-Augusta 7th and 8th Grade Middle School Band, and the Otsego 8th Grade Band, and the West Ottawa Harbor Lights Middle School 8th Grade Band. Each of these groups provided excellent and memorable experiences for everyone. And so, we welcome the Stevensville Lakeshore Middle School 8th Grade Band from Stevensville, Michigan, who will be performing one of two premieres of Sean O'Loughlin's new piece, Elation, that was commissioned for the 5th Anniversary of the Fall Conference "The Joy of Middle School Band: Kids, Music, Teachers." We anticipate yet another wonderful experience!
Phil Huff is in his sixteenth year as Associate Director of Bands in the Stevensville Lakeshore district. He is in his thirty-fourth year of teaching overall. His teaching assignment includes fifth grade beginning band, sixth grade band, seventh grade band, eighth grade band, eighth grade jazz band, and assisting the high school marching band.
Cindy is in her 15th year as Assistant Director of Bands at Lakeshore and it is her 20th year of teaching overall. Cindy’s assignment includes fifth grade beginning band, sixth through eighth grade middle school bands, and assisting with the high school bands as well. Under their direction Lakeshore Middle School Bands have consistently earned Superior ratings at MSBOA Festivals.
Phil and Cindy work with head director, Lori Von Koenig to teach and nurture our band students which is truly a team effort. Lori also teaches our beginning band students and assists with the eighth grade band. Over the years they have developed into a great team that serves the students and parents of the Lakeshore district at very high level. The administrators and school board at Lakeshore are second to none and provide the kind of support needed to accomplish a performance such as the one you are hearing today.
The Lakeshore directors would like to thank Dr. Robert Spradling, Dr. John Lychner and all those involved for inviting us to this day of music making here at WMU. It is an honor and a privilege to be performing the premier of Elation by Sean O’Loughin and to be a participant in this wonderful event.
The RMS Carpathia was sailing from New York City when her wireless operator received a distress signal from the RMS Titanic. Her captain managed to squeeze 17 knots out of a 14-knot vessel, an amazing and dangerous feat, due to the risk of structural damage from excessive vibration, and boiler explosion from excess pressure. After working her way through treacherous ice fields, the Carpathia arrived on the scene at four o’clock in the morning, and was able to rescue 706 people.
The rumbling feet depict the vessel’s massive vibration, while hissing sounds represent the rapidly overheating boiler. A boisterous ship’s bell loudly beckons throughout. The music slows to a mournful hymn as Carpathia arrives on the terrible scene. After a brief movement of tranquility, the music intensifies as the rescue ship embarks on her triumphant yet tragic return voyage to safety.
Balmages, Moscow, 1941
Moscow, 1941 was commissioned by the Perry Hall Middle School Band and was dedicated to Larry Bondar , a music teacher who has been affecting the lives of students for over 40 years, and an icon in the Baltimore area. Mr. Bondar is of Russian descent, so it seems fitting that this piece be based on one of Russia’s most famous songs, Meadowlands.p>
This work was one of those pieces that didn’t end up the way it started. Mr. Wagner actually sat down to write a choral work around a tune that was haunting him for several days. He couldn’t find a text that he could successfully wed with the melody so it was turned in to a beautiful work for concert band. Mr. Wagner had a friend who was looking for a contest piece and Canticle fit the bill perfectly and has turned out to be one of the composer’s favorite pieces. Though not technically challanging, Canticle demands good tone, phrasing, contrast, balance and blend, as they are critical to the performance of this piece.
Elation was commissioned by the Mu Delta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi and the University Bands at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan in celebration of the 5th Anniversary of "The Joy of Middle School Band: Kids, Music, Teachers" A Fall Conference on Middle School Band Music.
A special thank you is in order to Dr. Robert Spradling and Dr. John Lychner for their vision in hosting this fantastic middle school festival at Western Michigan University. Another heartfelt thank you to Phil and Cindy Huff and the Stevensville Lakeshore Middle School 8th Grade Band for their participation in the premiere performances of the work.
The music is celebratory in nature. The melody is heroic in the opening with splashes of rhythmic energy to enhance the soaring quality of the line. Some polychords come into the mix early on and rhythmic punctuations in the upper voices provide a nice compliment to the driving groove in the lower voices. The melody turns into minor with some imitation between sections of the ensemble. The music returns to its heroic roots as rhythmic energy and a gradual accelerando bring the composition to a rousing conclusion.
Standridge, Snake Charmer
This piece evokes the the air of exotic mystery that surrounds the art of snake charming. Snake Charmer begins with an image of the charmer setting up his performance area in the marketplace, opening the lid of his basket and letting the serpent appear. The snake begins its swaying dangerous dance until exhausted it returns to the dark safety of its basket.