Dr. Michael Thomas King and Dr. Bruce Moss graciously invited me to visit Bowling Green State University this week, to spend time collaborating on several of my works for wind band. In my brief time there, several things made an impression on me: 1. BGSU is clearly a place where new music is respected, promoted and honored. 2. The quality of the ensembles and rehearsal atmosphere reflects a strong tradition and legacy of excellence. 3. Mike King is a legitimate PRO. In the short time I was on campus, I saw him rehearse the Academy Band, University Band, Concert Band, Wind Symphony and Marching Band, meet with students and colleagues, make time for score study and rehearsal prep, and still make it a priority to show Natalie and I around campus & town. He also planned our entire itinerary, and I stole a half-dozen rehearsal strategies from him too. I'm both incredibly proud of him and honored that he is doing such great with with BGSU and the wind band repertoire.
The University Band is programing THE RAPTOR RIDES THE WHALE and PRAYERS IN VILLEFRANCHE, and the Academy Band is doing a great job with RAPTOR as well. Mike is guest conducting the Concert Band, who will be performing the world premiere of UNTIL THE NIGHT COLLAPSES in a few weeks. It was just fantastic to work with Mike and the ensemble, creating a clear interpretation of the piece. It's a complex, heavy work that I think is the most important thing I've written, and Mike has really dedicated himself to crafting the performance. Bruce has invited Alex Kaminsky (DOB @ Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland FL, to whom the piece is dedicated) to join us for the premiere, and I think it is going to be a deeply moving and meaningful event. I cannot possibly express my gratitude to Dr.'s Mike & Bruce, and to the consortium of directors who commissioned the work. Recordings from the BGSU ensembles coming soon!