I recently completed a challenging commission. Maestro Pat Miles asked me to write a fanfare for his student orchestra at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. The occasion is his upcoming retirement after umpty-ump years of teaching horn players and building the orchestral program into its current formidable state. (Pat plans to stay on as conductor of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra.) It is hard for me to write music without having a picture in my head, and I had a tough time envisioning what a retirement looks like. But then I remembered the large photo of Maestro Miles that hangs in the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra concert hall along with portraits of some of the section leaders. He’s wearing a proper tuxedo with tails, carrying a baton, and perched on the ultra-light racing bicycle he rides as a serious racer. That image of Pat is all I needed. Like that photograph, music can be deeply serious and light-hearted at the same time. The two-minute piece is scheduled for premiere in May. You can download the score and an MP3 of the synth track here.

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