So those of you who follow my survival on Facebook hopefully have realized by now – I am a huge Star Wars fan. A friend of a friend was actually worried about me for awhile thinking I was participating in a cult that believed the “force” was a religion, and George Lucas was a “high priest” (thanks alot Bob!). But no, just a huge fan who enjoys it for what it is – a great story that took a young child on a small farm to a galaxy far, far away…
But screaming back to reality – the month of April has hit me in the face like a crazed one-armed Wampa. And after a few festivals, the spring trip crunch, the final concert push, a bunch of meetings, and the PMEA State Conference this post has finally arrived (sorry Joe, I am a bad blogger this month).
Luke: [knowing his new acquaintance only as ‘Ben’] He claims to be the property of an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Is he a relative of yours? Do you know what he’s talking about?
Obi-Wan: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan… Now, that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time. A long time.
Luke: I think my uncle knows him. He said he was dead.
Obi-Wan: Oh, he’s not dead… Not yet.
Luke: You know him?
Obi-Wan: But of course I know him. He’s me.
My good friend Dennis Emert presented his Elementary Band with a piece I wrote entitled “Marshalls of the Open Range”. The students took a liking to it imediately, and he is programming it for their June Concert. I told him I will be there. He shared that with the band last week, and there were lots of cheering. But a young lady raised her hand and asked inquisitively – “How is that going to work? Aren’t all composers dead?”….
During the recently completed PMEA State Convention, Joe Pisano and “Doc” asked me if I had a score of American Visions to display at the Grove City College booth. I did not have one on me, so I immediately walked over to the J.W. Pepper booth to acquire one. After making the request, the one gentlemen said “We don’t have it here with us, but we can order it for you.” The other rep looked at my badge and said “He doesn’t need it. He wrote it.”…
(Obi-Wan looks through the hole in the ceiling as Anakin jumps through)
Obi-Wan: Always on the move…
Hickory HS Band Concert on Tuesday, Wilmington last night, Ellwood City and Mercer Elementary tonight – my head is spinning from the recent flurry of concerts. In a perfect world, I wish I could attend each one and hear the performances – but it is just not meant to be. I conducted “Spygame” with the Mercer 6th Grade Band this morning, and it went very well. “American Visions” and “Festival for Winds and Percussion” have been getting plenty of performances. Gary Taylor’s group at Wilmington last night was fantastic – an honor to be included on a concert program by a colleague and friend that I respect so much and have learned so many things. It is exciting and an honor to have so many colleagues supporting the music which I have written. Hopefully, a few of them will take a page from Joe Pisano and I find an “out of the box” solution to expanding the audience perception of the music concert.
Obi-Wan: Anakin, let’s be fair. Today you were the hero and you deserve your glorious day with the politicians.
Anakin Skywalker: All right. But you owe me one, and for not saving your skin for the tenth time.
Saturday morning is off to a rehearsal with the River City Youth Brass Band and Drew Fennell. They will debut “A Frontier Fought and A City Found” in late May. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing the group and working a little bit with them on Saturday. Drew is such a polished stick guy and player, and it was a very rewarding process getting to work with him through this process. Drew has recommended me for a couple of gigs and been a big supporter of what I have been writing.
As I told the 6th Grade Band this morning before dropping the first downbeat – “Let’s enjoy this!” I am already thinking of new pieces, working out new ideas in my head, thinking about where I can go now and if I can create something “new” without repeating myself. But these next few weeks are going to be filled with great moments that I cannot wait to live in – last performances with a group of Seniors, music that I have waited for years to perform with groups, and the opportunity to present my groups to Ken Bloomquist, Paula Crider, and John Bourgeois at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival. Granted I am not blasting my way out of a space station with a wookie, two droids, a princess, and a cocky smuggler in tow, but this one time farmer kid is enjoying every part of this adventure.