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This fall I wrote a solo violin sonata commissioned by Meghan Healy, in memory of the violinist Maud Powell. As preparation for the project, I read a detailed biography of Powell, and she is now my musical heroine! By all accounts (and there were many of them, including all the top music critics in America and Europe), Powell was not only a flawless violinist but also a musician of almost unparalled depth. She gave the American premiere of many works, including the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and she worked such great composers as Max Bruch (whom she gave tips on his concerto.) Even after she had reached stardom as violinist, she made it her business to bring music to remote places, where she respectfully presented challenging programs to groups that would have been considered not high-brow enough. The audiences loved her, demanding multiple encores. The piece I am writing in her memory will have several contrasting movements. I have completed what will be the final movement, and I am currently sketching a slow movement. The piece will be premiered by Megan Healy this summer in Chicago.

My next commission was a birthday present for the trumpet player (and my dear friend) Mary Thornton, as a surprise gift from her mother. The "specs" were to write a piece about Mary and her storytelling, and boy does she have some doozies! The piece is in rondo form, and the various contrasting sections each describe one of Mary's stories. So far, she has figured out what one of them was: the Greenbay Packers (this is one of Mary's favorite topics. Whenever I'm visiting her, it seems that I'm never more than an hour away from hearing something about that danged basketball team. (This is a joke I repeatedly make to Mary, even though I'm the only one who thinks it's funny. But, I figure, if she keeps hearing it enough, she will come to appreciate it.) Anyway, I use the Greenbay fans' chant, "Go Pack, Go!" represented in three repeated quarter notes. I decided to give this rather basic motive the fanciest possible compositional treatment: a fugue. I'm impressed that Mary was able to guess what the notes mean. I am still waiting to see if she can figure out what the other two stories are.

This season, Reimagining Opera for Kids has been performing my MOOCH THE MAGNIFICENT. ROK is a traveling opera troupe that brings live opera to school-age audiences within a one-hour radius of Bloomington, IN. ROK is reprising this work, which they originally performed seven years ago. This season they will present approximately 30 performances. Here is a sample of their original production:

Upcoming commissions:

- song cycle about cats (other details are a secret, since the commissions is a surprise gift)
- Grade 1.5 - 2 band piece for a sight-reading competion in Virginia
- trumpet ensemble about a waterfall (pending funding)

Upcoming conducting engagements:

- North Carolina Western Region High School Orchestra Clinic (Boone, NC)