Composers and Schools in Concert is a non profit organization that creates commissions for composers and unites these composers with public schools. A couple of years ago I was invited to join the list of composers in their directory, a huge honor to me. And, this past October I was commissioned by CSIC to compose a new work for an all girls public school, Olmsted Academy South, wind band in Louisville, Kentucky.
I began writing the music immediately and was in contact with band director, Brad Byrum over the past several months. We had phone conversations, emails over 100 emails, and a few skype and facetime sessions with the students. This was a great way to keep in touch with him and the students and to work out extra details on the music.
The week of March 15th, I was in Louisville for the premier of this piece ( The Celtic Winds Suite) which was commissioned for the Olmsted Academy South, an all girls public school in Louisville. This was an extremely rewarding experience.
It wasn’t until I got there that I felt the impact of what this all meant, not only to myself as a female composer but to the young ladies in this band, and also in the school.
I am so impressed with the work they are doing there. Truly exceptional music and art programs by this faculty. They have a choir, orchestra and wind band and they are all doing great work!
I spent a few days at the school before the actual concert premier on March 17th. I got to meet Mr Byrum and I worked his students on the new music. Worked, meaning, conducting the music. I had already composed the music and they were practicing over several months with their band director. He is exceptional, to say the least. Not only a band director but a very supportive person to these young ladies. Thank you Brad!
My first day, after our first rehearsal with the wind band, the faculty and principle Ms. Allen, greeted me with a reception, cake and punch. It was so kind and welcoming. Thank you to all the faculty and Ms. Allen for this welcome!
Day 2 we had a dress rehearsal in the school library with all the students that were performing on March 17th. The orchestra, choir and band rehearsal and students presented various monologues and power points.
Day 3 we had another run through in the band room at OA..and then headed over to the concert venue. A beautiful library in South Louisville.
The theme of the concert and performances was ” Because She Did, I Can!”The evening began with an orchestral work by the students of Ms. Schisler Next were student power point presentations,followed by a choral selection, another CSIC commission from last year, a great piece and performed beautifully by the students of Ms. Gray. Then we had visual arts presentations and student monologues, so well done. And, we ended with The Celtic Winds Suite performed by Mr Byrums Wind Band 8th grade class which I conducted. They all played so well and I was thrilled to be conducting them.
During the 3 days with OAS I had a few opportunities to share my experience as a composer and talk about music and how I found my way to composing. It all started when I was about 13, the age of these young ladies so this really meant a great deal to me to share my experience. Meeting these young ladies, being able to encourage them in their journeys with music, meeting their band leader, Mr. Byrum, learning about this school OAS in Kentucky, it’s been an amazing journey for me!
“ If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” Oscar Rodgers ( Rodgers and Hammerstein)
Thank you Olmsted Academy South and Composers and Schools in Concert for this extraordinary experience! The Celtic Winds Suite signed by all the students of the Olmsted Academy South Wind Band and their band director, Mr. Byrum. This is a treasure!
Thank you ALL!