Highlander Way Middle School Eighth Grade Band To Premiere New Musical Arrangement During Concert June 1

Highlander Way Middle School Eighth Grade Band To Premiere New Musical Arrangement During Concert June 1
Posted on 05/31/2016
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During its final concert of the school year the Highlander Middle School eighth grade band will premiere a new piece of music titled “Stamps.” The band commissioned nationally recognized composer, Greg Simon, to write the piece for them. Simon has been working with the students on the piece and will conduct the band during the concert. “Stamps” is based on the melodies sang by post office workers in Ghana. The concert, which will feature each of the school’s bands will be held June 1 at 6 p.m. in the Rod Bushey Performing Arts Center at Howell High School.

Commissioning a piece of music is something that Highlander Way Middle School Band Director Andy Jerema has always wanted to do. Everything began to fall into place when Simon contacted him. “We started talking and his educational philosophy and mine were the same. We feel that band is not just about kids playing music but exploring their creativity through an instrument. I knew that if we were going to commission a piece, Greg would be the guy to compose it,” said Jerema. 

Playing a commissioned piece is a unique learning opportunity for students. “Typically, students will get a piece that was written by a composer who is no longer alive, so you can’t just call them up and ask them a question and talk to them. But with this, you have them in the room with you. The first time that Greg came in the students were asking him questions like ‘what this section of the music, what does it mean, how does it fit into the story of the music,’ and he can just answer those questions,” said Jerama.

Simon holds a Doctor of Music Arts in composition from the University of Michigan a Master of Music from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puget Sound. He is currently on the composition faculty at Concordia University of Ann Arbor and the Brevard Music Center.

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