This is concert season, so there are a lot of options this time of year. Last night Bekah and I traveled to Weatherford to hear the SWOSU Wind Symphony. It was an impressive concert. They played Grainger's "The Gum-Suckers" March, which is one of my favorites. They performed two fairly new works as well. Paul Dooley's "Masks and Machines" was fantastic, and its climatic ending was especially striking. Steven Bryant's "Ecstatic Waters" was not like anything I have ever heard. It combined computerized sounds with live performance, and it involved an especially wide dynamic range. We enjoyed it!
Tonight we're attending the final University of Oklahoma Wind Symphony concert conducted by Dr. William Wakefield. (Dr. Wakefield is retiring from OU. He has been there for over 30 years.) It will, no doubt, be a moving concert. They will be playing works by Maslanka and Grainger.
Sunday the Southwestern Christian University choir performs at 3pm. I'm looking forward to hearing Dr. LaCombe's group. They always sound great. Monday night the SCU jazz ensemble performs a fusion jazz concert at 7pm. Our guest artist is trumpet player/composer John Shell. I cannot believe this year is almost over!
...when you're having fun. I just realized it's been awhile since my last post. ("Awhile" is probably an understatement.)
SCU Jazz: We officially launched the Southwestern Christian University Jazz Ensemble last spring. They had their first concert in May 2016, and since then they have performed regularly. They have had three concerts this school year, and they also served as the entertainment at the school's homecoming banquet.
We have one more concert on April 24th. It will be a jazz fusion style show. Trumpet player John Shell will be the guest artist, and the band will be playing some of his music.
This July the band is scheduled to perform in Orlando at Youth Quest, which will be a ton of fun!
Compositions: "What Is Eternally Unseen: Invisible, as Music, but Positive as Sound" was finally finished in December. It is a band piece dedicated to my saxophone teacher, William "Roddy" Hull. I actually started the piece back in 2008, and the work has gone through numerous changes over the years. I have never worked so long on a piece, but I felt like it needed to be right. The SWOSU Wind Symphony read through it shortly after OMEA, and I feel like it went well. (Big thanks to Marc Mueller and the wind symphony for taking time to read the piece.) I also finished "Polyopia," which is a percussion piece, and "4 for 7," which is my first official attempt at jazz.
OMEA: In January, which doesn't seem that long ago, we traveled to Tulsa for the Oklahoma Music Educator's Conference. This was the second year for SCU to have a booth there. It's always a pleasure to go to OMEA and catch up with friends.
Ph.D.: In December I completed my qualification exams, which is a relief. Bekah and I are going to be back in New Jersey for six weeks this summer, so I can complete a German course. Once I complete that course, I will officially be ABD.
Michael has experience writing music for film, band, orchestra, choir, percussion ensemble, and various chamber groups. He is the Director of Bands at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.