For the Fun of It

Grade 4

4.5 minutes

Premiered by the Music at the Summit Adult Band Institute, 23 June 2019 in Breckenridge, CO with the composer conducting

This piece was commissioned by Mike McGhee in honor of his wife (and a former boss of mine) Lt. Col. Beth Steele for the sixth annual Music at the Summit Adult Band Institute, a “band camp” that attracts amateur musicians from across the country. Most of these musicians play in their local community bands and make their living doing non-musical pursuits. For a week, they rehearse, conduct sectionals and masterclasses with world-class clinicians, and finally put on a public concert at a beautiful venue. But during that time they also eat great food, enjoy the scenery and activities of Breckenridge, and have a blast making new friends through the common bond of music. I was thrilled Mike asked me to write an opener with this ensemble in mind.

This piece was premiered under the working title, “Music for the Summit.” While this title was perfectly appropriate and aptly described where the piece was first performed, it didn’t describe why the piece was written. I think “For the Fun of It” better captures the sense of joy the musicians felt playing something new and written especially for them. It’s my hope that adults who play this piece will enjoy it as much as the first group who played it did, and that young people who play it will consider that music making can be a lifelong activity. Most students who make music in school don’t go on to be professionals, but their days of playing need not end when they graduate. In fact, for the thousands who continue to play in the nation’s community bands, it’s an important component in living their best and most fulfilling lives.

Note: Why end a band piece on a B major chord?! When I first met Lt. Col. Steele she was a major, so incorporating “major B” was inevitable…