A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of serving as Composer-in-Residence for the UMass Honor Band Festival. Matthew Westgate, the Director of Wind Studies at UMass invited me to participate in this wonderful day. I spent two days at UMass – the first was focused on working with UMass students – I worked with the Wind Ensemble in a rehearsal of my Magnolia Star and Goodnight, Goodnight. I also spoke with the Symphonic Band about music careers, and presented a talk on my music to graduate conducting students.
The second day was the honor band festival, where high school students come from all over New England to form three honor bands that rehearsal for one day and present a concert that evening! The day was a blast, and was organized incredibly well by UMass graduate conducting students and Dr. Westgate. I participated in a panel discussion for music educators and worked with the top honor band on Magnolia Star and Goodnight, Goodnight. One of the really neat things about the UMass honor band day is that the top honor band gets to perform side by side with the UMass Wind Ensemble in the concert. What an exciting experience for those talented high school musicians! The ensemble sounded fantastic and it was truly a pleasure to work with them and their conductor Dr. Westgate!