A busy spring begins in just a few short weeks with the Blair County JH Honors Band. After that, debuts abound, clinics come round, and I even get to see the 6 foot rat that lives in Florida! 🙂

I am eagerly looking forward to guest conducting the Blair County Junior High Honors in February. It is always an honor to be asked to guest conduct, especially when it comes from educators who do what I do on a daily basis. My thanks to Kris Laird for extending this invitation. This link is for the Blair County JH Band Participants – a little background on the pieces and some of my expectations as the festival approaches.

My friendship with Eric Schrader began almost 24 years ago during my freshmen year at Grove City College. He was hired at one of the local schools as band director. I always have held a high level of respect for Eric’s bands, and during his final full year at Greenville High School commissioned Monster’s of Myth. Now teaching at a new district, I was elated to hear from him for another commission for the Canon-McMillan “Big Mac” Band. I have known their director Mark Falvo for a number of years, and with Eric as an assistant I know they are doing great things with their students. In a few short months, they will debut “Scottish Sunrise”. I am pleased to announce that the piece is already in press with Wingert-Jones Music.

I am also looking forward to hearing the debut of “A Bond Made Strong” – a commissioned work for the Baldwin High School Band celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Baldwin-Whitehall School District in Pittsburgh. Greg Steele, the director, are both alumni of Grove City College and that we have crossed paths numerous times at PMEA events and at the college for events. Making use of the school alma mater, it is a celebratory piece fitting for the year long observance of the district’s anniversary. It was a unique moment at Midwest this year that I met Kirk Vogel. While discussing current projects, I mentioned doing this piece for a school in Pittsburgh. Little did I know Kirk graduated from Baldwin and could still sing the alma mater! A small world indeed!

I will be presenting two sessions on Friday, March 27th at the PMEA Conference in Hershey. The first session “What to do with all that’s new” is an extension of research from my dissertation. I will moderate a panel of friends and accomplished directors in their own right during the second session. “From July to June keeping the band in tune” includes members of the PhI Beta Mu International Band Fraternity Nu Chapter to discuss strategies they use to get the most out of their students.

I am also pleased to announce that FJH Music will publish “Hammer and Rail” next year, a jh/ms band piece that uses “This Old Hammer” as source material. I am looking forward to sharing the recording in the coming months as I believe it will be a very strong contribution to the Grade 2 band repertoire. 2015-16 is already shaping up to be incredibly busy with two honor bands on the schedule and several commissions already booked. I am blessed and thankful to friends and colleagues who support me on this journey. I hope that all of you are experiencing a warm start with your bands to the second half of your year, and I look forward to seeing you somewhere down the road!

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