David Maslanka (1943-2017)

This afternoon I learned of the passing of iconic American composer David Maslanka. Having had the pleasure of performing, conducting, studying, and listening to many performances of his great compositions, I am at a loss for words. He was, and will be, one of the most creative, original, lasting, and authentic voices in music. Hearing his St. Francis performed by Dr. Peter Haberman and the Concordia Band was such a moving experience that highlighted just what visceral emotional depths Maslanka’s music could explore. He will be missed, but his music will be talked about, performed, and studied, for lifetimes to come. 

“On Corps!” Competition Returns in 2017

I’m pleased to once again chair the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps’ annual “On Corps!” competition for aspiring arrangers and composers! We invite individuals with an interest in arranging and composing music to submit their works to be considered for performance by the 2017 Blue Stars. The winning arrangement/composition will be performed as part of the corps` encore repertoire for the season.

All participants will receive detailed feedback on their submission from members of the Blue Stars design and instructional team. Johnathan Segovia, the winner of the 2016 “On Corps” contest, states:

“The On Corps competition is extremely valuable to young or emerging composers. The critique alone makes it worth entering. It is a surreal experience to see something I wrote down on paper to be played by DCI’s best groups. It is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

Works submitted should meet the following criteria:

  1. May not be shorter than 1 minute 30 seconds or longer than two minutes in length
  2. Must be arranged with the following part distribution:
    • 3 trumpets
    • 2 mellophones
    • 3 baritones/euphoniums
    • 1 tuba (sparing use of divisi writing is permissible) percussion (Our staff will augment percussion parts as needed)
  3. Music must be able to be performed publicly under current copyright laws. The Blue Stars will pay copyright fees for the winning work if needed.
  4. The work must be an original arrangement or composition, unpublished in any other venue.
  5. Pay the Submission Fee

Submission Process
$75 fee must accompany each submission. Individuals may submit as many entries as they so choose, but each submitted work requires the $75 fee. A PDF score and digital recording (both computer-synthesized and live ensemble recordings are acceptable) must be submitted to ward.miller@bluestars.org by 8 AM on Monday, May 1st, 2017. The score must include the author’s full name, e-mail address, and telephone number. The winner will be announced by Monday, May 8th, and the winning work will be performed as an encore by the Blue Stars Drum and bugle Corps during their 2017 tour. All submissions will receive feedback on their submissions no later than May 18th, 2017.

My Coauthored Article Published in this March’s “Percussive Notes”

Exciting news this morning, as an article I coauthored with Dr. Luis Rivera and Professor Matt Greenwood has been published in the March issue of Percussive Notes! Percussive Notes is the peer-reviewed journal of the Percussive Arts Society, the world’s association for percussion performers and educators. The article, entitled “A Modern Percussion Edition of Darius Milhaud’s La création du monde,” provides a new, more easily-readable edition of the percussion parts for Milhaud’s landmark, and pioneering work. In addition, the article also provides detailed diagrams for the multi-percussion set-up, information on equipment choice, and interpretation of the marked French language score. I’m grateful to my colleagues Matt and Luis, the Percussive Arts Society, and to the firm of Durand-Salabert-Eschig for permission to publish this edition to be enjoyed by percussionists for generations to come. Members of PAS can access the article online, while those who subscribe to Percussive Notes should receive their copy of the March issue shortly.

Thanks to Yahama “SupportED Magazine” for Featuring Me

Thanks to columnist Elizabeth Geli at Yamaha “SupportED” Magazine for including me in her article “Musical Marvels: Dynamic Brass.” I was honored to be included amongst so many great brass educators across the country, and the article had so many great tips for music educators.

You can find the article on page 20 of the Fall issue, available online at https://www.yamaha.com/US/tmea/supportED/SE_Fall2016.pdf.  Thanks to Yamaha for their great support and products!

Need a Concert Clinician or Adjudicator?

The winter semester is in full swing and we’re all preparing for upcoming concerts, clinics, festivals, contests, and assessments! If you’re looking for a fresh set of ears and eyes to work with your band, I am available as a consultant throughout the coming months.  Join the other programs across the country that bring me to their bands for multi-day concert band intensives that will help bring your performance to a new level! In addition, I am an experienced adjudicator and honor band clinician, so don’t hesitate to contact me to contract my services.  Best of luck to everyone as they prepare their young performers!