...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.
I'm spending the day recovering from a busy week at the Oklahoma Bandmaster's Convention in Tulsa. It was a ton of fun, but I am exhausted. Ed Huckeby, James Swearingen, and Robert W. Smith spoke, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing what they had to say. All three of them are well known as educators and composers, so they had some interesting insight on teaching music. (Ed Huckeby highlighted his new sight reading method. It is definitely worth checking out. James Swearingen spoke about rehearsing music from the standpoint of a composer. Robert W. Smith detailed a unique perspective on using music to teach creativity. He also explained the overall importance of creativity within our modern culture.) The OBA/OKJE All Star Jazz Bands had an outstanding concert yesterday as well, and the DCI Drums of Summer was phenomenal. It was an absolute blast! I look forward to next year's convention. If you are a band director in the Oklahoma area, you should definitely go. It is well worth the money. I never leave disappointed. :)
There is a benefit concert at 7pm tonight at Sunnylane Southern Baptist Church (4500 SE 31st St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73115). Todd Warren, a former student of mine, is going to the Aebersold Jazz Camp at the University of Louisville in July. He received a scholarship to attend the camp, and it pays for everything except transportation to and from Louisville.
The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. All proceeds will go toward his transportation costs. The concert will feature Todd and a number of his friends...including me. :)
Happy Anniversary to my sweet and beautiful wife! There are no words to describe what a blessing she is!
It's been a full year since I set this up, and this is my first official blog post. In my defense, it has been an incredibly busy year! Here's a brief overview:
I have officially launched my new website. This blog will be used for various updates, but I am quite busy. As a result, my posts here may be sporadic. However, I will do my best to keep this up-to-date.
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.