This month, JMM Wind Ensemble performed with UW Professor Mark Hetzler on a world premiere. It was an honor for us to help a musician of that caliber bring new art into the universe. It was really neat that the piece was about a family vacation to India, adding a personal connection for him. Dec 24 and 25, Wind Ensemble will be featured on NBC right along side WYSO and other high quality ensembles.
For my own professional development, which greatly benefits the students at JMM, Mr. Affeldt afforded me, once again this year, the opportunity to attend The Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference. This is one of the times a year I get the opportunity to hear several professional and collegiate ensembles perform great works for band and premiere new art. I get ideas of what pieces would be good for Memorial students to custom tailor their learning. I get to meet composers who are working to expand our repertoire.
This year's highlights included:
-I was invited to attend a Phi Beta Mu breakfast where I got to personally tell one of my all state honors band conductors (from when I was a student), Jerry Junkin, how much our performance of Warren Benson's "The Passing Bell" had an impact on me and how I've been teaching for 18 years now.
-I attended a session by Minneapolis Public Schools educator Adrian Davis on under-representation of African American male students in music education. The data was not surprising, but staggering and I believe will be helpful to our district administrators.
-I got to watch UW Professor Scott Teeple and his teacher H. Robert Reynolds conduct the United States Coast Guard Band lab rehearsal and critique each other's ideas on the Holst Second Suite. This was as entertaining as it was educational to watch two of the best in the business do their thing.
-Just sitting and listening to the Hiroshima Wind Orchestra, The Virginia Wind Symphony, and the US Coast Guard band. Hiroshima was the only predominately female ensemble at the conference. North Shore High School Wind Symphony from Houston did very well also and had great diversity. I found the letter inspiring from the mayor of Hiroshima that was included in the program. He spoke of "sharing spiritually rich music with a message of peace."
I look forward to time with my family this season. I look forward to seeing and hearing the students in January and sharing my learning. I look forward to preparing our all-Wisconsin-composers repertoire for the New York tour and seeing student faces light up when they hear the New York Phil.