Composer Aaron Perrine

Tear’s of St. Lawrence is a highlight of our fall 2017 program.  This composition by emerging composer Aaron Perrine, captures the optimistic joy and wonder to be had on a starry night.

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Tear’s of St. Lawrence was commissioned by the McFarland High School 9th Grade Concert Band, McFarland, Wisconsin (Joseph Hartson, Director).  Composer Aaron Perrine’s thoughts on this remarkable piece:

 

Early last summer, my then five-year-old daughter became very interested in astronomy. She read every book in the library on the topic and became obsessed with the idea of seeing a falling star. After scanning the night sky for a few months with no success, she began to give up hope. Fortunately for all of us, the annual Perseids meteor shower—often referred to as the “Tears of St. Lawrence”—was quickly approaching. One clear mid-August night, I woke my daughter a bit after midnight. Without telling her what was to come, we quietly made our way outside. After anxiously waiting for what felt like forever, we saw our first falling star together! In addition to the obvious sense of excitement, however, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic, because I knew that in a few short weeks, my daughter would be going to school for the first time. As we watched the stars, we took turns telling stories as we wondered what the next year would bring. Two hours and countless meteors later, I finally convinced my daughter to return to bed. Tears of St. Lawrence was inspired by the variety of emotions experienced during that memorable night.

 

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 Aaron Perrine, a two-time winner of the American Bandmasters Association Sousa/Ostwald Award for his compositions Only Light in 2015 and Pale Blue on Deep in 2013, has received degrees from the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota, Morris and is currently on the faculty at Cornell College. A finalist in the first Frank Ticheli Composition Contest, he was included in the series, Teaching Music through Performance in Band ans his music for band has also been featured at The Midwest Clinic, The Western International Band Clinic, and at numerous all-state, state conference and honor band concerts.

We contacted Mr. Perrine and asked him to share with us his thoughts on his journey in music, his musical influences and inspirations and words of advice that he has for young musicians.

Please tell us a bit about your journey in music and in lifeI grew up in a musical family. My grandfather and father were both high school band directors, so music was always around the house when I was a kid. While I always had an interest in writing music, I didn’t really begin to “compose” until the beginning of my sophomore year in college. I entered college as a trumpet major, but at some point during my freshman year, my embouchure changed and I was forced to switch to the trombone. Feeling inadequate for a time on both instruments, my jazz band director asked me to write a chart for our jazz ensemble. While this piece no long exists—aside from the one paper copy I recently removed from my undergraduate institution’s library!—I learned so much about composing from this experience, and was very fortunate to have a director that was so willing to encourage and foster my compositional interests.

I taught high school band for five years in the Twin Cities area and eventually found my way back to graduate school and earned a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Iowa. I currently live in northern Minnesota and spend much of my time composing, but also continue to teach part-time at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

What have been some of your musical influences? A few composers that come to mind (in no particular order) are Michael Colgrass, John Luther Adams, David Maslanka, Maria Schneider, György Ligeti, Igor Stravinsky and Johannes Brahms.

Please share a bit about your favorite musical memory? I don’t know that I could say that I have a favorite as there have been so many, but one that is quite memorable is the premiere of a work of mine entitled, “Only Light,” which was commissioned by Mark Heidel and the University of Iowa Symphony Band. It’s a very meaningful work to me, and I don’t think I took a breath during the eight or so minutes it took them to perform the piece!

Which composer/musician – past or present – would you most like to meet for a coffee and why?  John Lennon. The Beatles were my favorite band when I was young, and I think the way in which they impacted music and society was remarkable.

What inspires you?  Nature, poetry, art, live music

What do you do to relax?  Spend time with my family, golf, hike…

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Enjoy the process and joy of making music! It can be incredibly easy to get caught up in the technical aspects of performing, and while these are definitely important, don’t forget the reason you were drawn to music in the first place.

Please share any thoughts that you may have about the Northshore Concert Band.  The NCB is one of the finest groups of its kind. Thank you for the many years of excellence; you inspire me!

 

A special thank you to Mr. Perrine for speaking with us and giving permission to reproduce this material.  Please visit his website at www.aaronperrine.com to learn more about this notable American composer.


 

Star Wars: A New Hope

Sunday, November 5, 2017, 3:00 pm

Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston, Illinois

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

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Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

JACINDA RIPLEY

Jacinda Ripley

Jacinda Ripley plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2016. She just graduated with her Masters in Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University, and is currently a freelancer and private lesson instructor in Chicago.

When and why did you start playing?  I started playing trumpet in fourth grade, because my parents and extended family would all play their  instruments at family gatherings and I wanted to join in on the fun!

What do you enjoy most about playing?  It allows me an outlet to express myself and to build creativity.

Do you have a favorite musical memory? Performing Mahler’s Second Symphony during my Junior year of college at the Eastman School of Music. The performance was dedicated to the Dean, who had just passed away. It was also my first Mahler Symphony that I had the opportunity to perform, and it was absolutely incredible!!

What are your musical influences?  My parents and teachers have helped me grow both musically and as a person.

Who was your most influential music teacherMy first trumpet teacher, Leah Schumann, taught me for eight years, and I could not have the opportunities that I have had without her help, and love for music, in the beginning years!

Does anyone in your family play music?  YES! Both of my parents are band directors and my brother plays trombone!  We have been known to bring out the Ripley family band when we are all home together and play brass quartets

What’s on your iPod?  It’s a hodge-podge of genres. I’ve been listening to a lot of 80’s power ballads recently.

Do you have any advice for young musicians?  Practice smart, practice often, and never lose your sense of creativity!

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups?  Performing with Northshore Concert Band is such an awesome experience! It is incredible to work with Dr. Thompson and make music with fellow educators.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band  Just plain awesome!

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!

Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

JASON LUCKER

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Jason Lucker plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2015. He is a Musician with the Navy Band Great Lakes and lives in Waukegan, Illinois.

When and why did you start playing? I started playing in 6th grade because all my friends were joining band, so obviously I went along with them. I chose trumpet because lf the very first note in my favorite movie at the time: Star Wars.

What do you enjoy most about playing? I love trying to evoke a real emotional response from the people who here me (hopefully a positive one, if everything goes well). Whenever I hear a great performance that truly means something to me, I am inspired to try to make my next performance of whatever I’m playing, whether it’s Sousa or Husa, just as meaningful to the audience.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  I will never forget playing for what seemed like 2000 children at a school in Manila, Philippines. We played a mix of pop tunes, jazz, classical pieces, and American marches, as well as a couple of Tagalog songs. But no matter what we played, the kids and their teachers gave a great response, smiling, clapping along, cheering, etc. It took a full two hours to get to our changing room after the concert because they all wanted pictures and signatures afterward. The whole experience was incredible.

What are your musical influences? I have many musical influences, but two stand out. First, I absolutely adore Chris Martin and everything that comes out of the end of his bell. I think his sound is the most beautiful trumpet playing I’ve ever heard. The first time I heard him play, I was in a rut when it came to my instrument, and I was entirely ready to give up and move on to other things. But Chris’s sound with the CSO brass section inspired me to get back in the practice room and never turn back. And having gotten to meet him after a NCB concert, he’s a great guy in person, too. Second is one of my best friends and my personal mentor, a middle/high school band director in a small school in Indiana. I’ve never met anyone who cared about or put so much of themselves into their daily job as her and if I can reach even a fraction of that amount of dedication to my instrument and my career, I will consider my efforts a success.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Dr. Robert Grechesky, former director of bands at Butler University. Not only did I learn a great deal about conducting from him, but I learned how to love band music under his baton. Before studying at Butler, I was very much an orchestra snob and thought little of wind bands and wind band music. But it’s literally impossible to dislike band working with a man like Dr. Grechesky and I’m very grateful for getting to work with him.

Does anyone in your family play music? Not in my immediate family. I have a cousin with a doctorate in church music who plays organ very well, but I don’t see him much.

What’s on your iPod? Literally everything from Ludacris to to Sibelius. Because I’m required to play a wide range of musical styles for work, I listen to just about everything so I can have a good grasp of what I should sound like. Plus, it’s easier to like what I’m playing if I can learn to find something to like when listening to it.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? You do not have to practice on days that you do not eat. That is not an excuse to choose not to eat.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different than performing with other groups? Everyone in the group is there because they want to be. And because the musical expectations are set high by Dr. Thompson, everyone works hard to be prepared for our rehearsals and concerts.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Fun. Dedicated. Engaged.

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at http://www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!

Musicians & Music

Meet the extraordinary men and women of Northshore Concert Band who have dedicated their lives to making music!

KYLE RHOADES

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Kyle Rhoades plays the Trumpet and has been with the Northshore Concert Band since 2010. He is a Band Director and lives in Oak Park. Kyle is also Northshore Concert Band’s librarian.

When and why did you start playing? 4th Grade – joined band and picked trumpet because that’s what Dad played.

What do you enjoy most about playing? The social aspect – lots of people coming together to produce something so much more interesting.

Do you have a favorite musical memory?  British Brass Band at the University of Illinois – haven’t played like that since.

What are your musical influences? Sergei Nakariakov, Fennell, Bernstein, etc., etc., etc.

Who was your most influential music teacher? Brayer Teague – Music Department Chair at Downers North HS

Does anyone in your family play music? My brother (Keith) plays French Horn

What’s on your iPod? NCB reference recordings and anything that helps me get off my butt and run a little quicker.

Do you have any advice for young musicians? Stick with it! No quitting.

What makes performing with Northshore Concert Band different from performing with other groups? There are dozens of community groups out there who all succeed in their own ways. NCB has such a high level of leadership, organization, and musicianship when compared to most – that’s what keeps people coming back.

List three words to describe the Northshore Concert Band. Profound, Entertaining, Traditional


 

Learn more about the Northshore Concert Band at www.northshoreband.org

Follow this blog to receive more informative and entertaining interviews of Northshore Concert Band members in this Musicians & Music series!