Band Works Commissioned by The Mark Of Excellence/National Wind Band Honors

Sparking Angels

Anthony Suter – 2009
in memory of Diane Gorzycki
http://www.anthonysuter.com/

The title of the piece is Sparking Angels.  I think it fits best, because it can have a lot of different meanings.  For me, it is a metaphor for what really wonderful teachers like Diane do.  They sort of “spark” students into being better people.  Of course, “sparks” are about beginnings, about starting things that continue indefinitely– this seemed somehow appropriate for a piece in honor of someone like Diane, who I know “sparked” a lot of young minds.  I hope a title like this really allows people to take it how they feel it best fits their own way of honoring and remembering Diane.

 

Anthem

Mark Camphouse Kjos Music, publisher – 2009

A one movement work that combines elements of the national anthems of both the United States and the Republic of Iraq, Anthem invites the listener to contemplate the ramifications of conflict and the meaning of war. A setting of the Iraqi national anthem, entitled “My Homeland,” is combined with fragments of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in addition to an original ballad-like theme to create a meaningful and heartfelt new masterpiece for the wind band!

 

Paragon

Wataru Hokoyama – 2010
http://hokoyama.com/

This piece depicts the journey of our classic hero, a paragon of courage and virtue, in his valiant effort to attain what he has set out to discover. His bold quest symbolizes what we strive for within our lives, exemplifying the invaluable pursuit for the paragon of our hopes and dreams.

 

Dreamland

Michael Markowski – 2011
www.michaelmarkowski.com

Recordings:

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St. Charles East High School Wind Ensemble; Jim Kull, conductor

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New Trier High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble; Matt Temple, conductor

The “inspiration” behind the work stems from a bunch of random sources that seem to all come together under the theme of sleep, dreams, etc. The most prominent is a musical quotation — which opens and closes the piece — from an artist by the name of Gary Wilson (his opening track called “A Very Small Town” from his album Mary Had Brown Hair). Wilson has been a favorite artist of mine for years and I was lucky to have his permission to re-imagine his music in my own. For him, this track expresses “the anguish of living in a small town and not being able to leave for one reason or another.”

 

The Consortium for the Advancement of Wind Band Literature

The Mark of Excellence is pleased to be a member of The Consortium for the Advancement of Wind Band Literature. This group has been in existence for only two years, but members of the consortium have been collaborating on commission projects regularly for quite some time. The consortium’s goal is to add a significant piece to the wind band repertoire in the grade 4 or 5 level by choosing composers who show originality and uniqueness in their approach to composing for wind band. The consortium gives the chosen composer freedom to write a piece that will be a complement to the pieces already in that composers catalog. The consortium members have made a commitment to provide funds yearly for this purpose.

Our 2011 composer was Michael Markowski, who composed Dreamland for our groups. Premieres of this piece were held in May of 2011. The 2012 composer is Ryan George, who lives in Austin, Texas. His piece will be ready for us in January of 2012 for spring premieres.

Other pieces members of this group have commissioned include Paragon by Wataru Hokoyama, Avenue X by Jonathan Newman, Elegy and Quickstep by David Dzubay and Turning by John Mackey.

 

Members of the consortium are:

St. Charles East High School, St. Charles, IL Jim Kull and Gil Wukitsch
Lake Zurich High School, Lake Zurich, IL Josh Thompson
New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL Matt Temple
Downers Grove South High School, Downers Grove, IL Craig Roselieb, Ron Hornish and Glenn Williams
Naperville Central High School, Naperville, IL DJ Alstadt and Brandon Estes
Champaign Central High School, Champaign, IL John and Jennifer Currey
Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI Steve Sveum
Illinois State University Bands, Normal, IL Steve Steele
The Mark of Excellence / National Wind Band Honors Rick Yancey

 

The Consortium for the Advancement of Wind Band Literature is open to accepting new members who share the same commitment to producing quality new works for our students and communities. For further information, please contact Jim Kull.