Brassfest in Dallas

This past week Anne and I traveled to Dallas, Texas for the Dallas Wind Symphony concert and the North American premiere of my Fanfare for Enduring Freedom. There was confusion leading up to the performance in that I heard the DWS staff had asked an associate conductor of the US Army Field Band to conduct the piece, and the associate conductors of the Field Band were telling me I should! I brought my baton, just in case…

As it turned out, I did conduct it, and it was an unforgettable experience. The night before the concert, there was a rehearsal to go over the combined pieces (DWS and Field Band) and the fanfare. The brass choir was comprised of both groups as well–forty players. After the rehearsal, one of the Dallas trombones said that he thought the piece would be the “best ever.” The DWS has been playing fanfares before their concerts for nearly ten years now, but they are played in the foyer of the Meyerson Symphony Center where the acoustics are extremely live. That is, it’s made of marble and glass, and the sound just reverberates forever. I just lucked out that my piece with its slow tempo and chorale was ideally suited for the room.

Conducting some of the finest brass players in such a loud space was a trip, but it didn’t match the reaction of the audience. I started shaking hands almost immediately with thankful concertgoers (and one woman really did say that my fanfare was the best of all she had heard in the years she had followed the DWS). What a kind, appreciate crowd. John Gibson, resident composer of the Dallas Wind Symphony, also had nice things to say. It’s always reassuring to be recognized by fellow professionals.

Many thanks to the DWS staff especially Kim Campbell, John Mahood, and Courtney Dodson for their hospitality, and of course Jerry Junkin and the Dallas Wind Symphony, and COL Finley Hamilton and the US Army Field Band for their fantastic musicianship and talent!

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