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Marshall University Music Department Presents the Symphonic Band Spring Concert, Gregory A. Richmond, conductor, featuring: Dr. Ben Miller, soloist, Matthew Chaffins, graduate conductor, and the world premiere of, H.M.S. Surprise Suite, by Dr. Stephen Lawson
All Performances
  • Gregory A. Richmond
  • Ben Miller, Marshall University
  • Matthew Chaffins, Marshall University
Publication Date
Year of Release

Gregory A. Richmond, conductor

Matthew Chaffins, graduate student conductor

Dr. Ben Miller, soloist

Dr. Ben Miller, rope drum


Clara Metz, piccolo

Clara Metz, Hillary Herold, Shelby Ard, Crystal Nadi, Heather Elliot, Lindsay Surber, Jamie Ratcliffe, Shawna Hatten, flute

Lee Ann Lykens, oboe

Rebecca Adkins, Timothy Cline, Kathryn Greer, Caren Blake, Christa Blake, Ashley Palmer, Jenna Palmer, clarinet

Chris Kimes, bass clarinet

Ashley Morgan-Price, bassoon

Phillip Bailey, Christian Rudloff, Callum McGregor Robertson, David Mills, Sarah Martin, Travis Edwards, alto saxophones

J.T. Pritt, Ryan Wolfe, Katie Aicher, tenor saxophones

Jonathan Thorne, baritone saxophone

Brandon Layman, Natasha Beverly, Chanisha Mendenhall, Scotty Chaney, Daniel Kissel, Steven Moore, Shane Meadows, Shelby Penn, trumpet

Matt Kelly, Amy Holliday, Gunnar Brewer, French horn

Jared Layman, Jeremy Samples, D.J. Preston, Arnold Rispress, Andrew Fleck, Danny Holderby, trombone

Mike Preston, Christopher Stuart, euphonium

Nick Hartley, Jordan Henry, Kelvin Moats, Scottie Mullins, Mark Newman, tuba

Sean McCallister, Derek Staley, Joe Bias, Amanda Young, Ross Patrick, Rob Kelley, Joe Wilkinson, Marcus Greene, percussion

Nicole McComas, piano


Gary P. Gilroy is a Professor of Music and Director of Bands at California State University, Fresno. Dr. Gilroy is active as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States. Most notably, he has served as guest conductor for the Oregon All-State JHS Honor Band and the California All-State High School Symphonic Band. He has published numerous compositions and arrangements for concert band, percussion ensemble and marching band.

Noble Gestures is a stunning work of regal scope and profound energy. Dedicated to all those who perform acts of service and kindness, it serves as a fitting tribute to those selfless individuals. The majestic opening of this regal work gives way to a driving energy that is relentless throughout. As is his signature with any work for concert band, Gilroy makes great use of the percussion section, most notably the mallet percussion.

David C. Woodley is Director of Athletic Bands at the University of Indiana. His duties include directing the 270-member Marching Hundred and the 100-member Big Red Basketball Band. He also teaches Arranging, Wind Band Score Study, and Marching Band Techniques in the Jacobs School of Music. Mr. Woodley has been commissioned by over 150 high school and college bands, and has over 450 athletic band arrangements to his credit. He also served as the founder and National Co-Chairman of the College Band Directors National Association Athletic Advisory Council.

Dr. Ben Miller, who serves as Assistant Director of Bands and Percussion Instructor in the department of Music at Marshall University, commissioned David Woodley to write the Suite for Rope Drum and Concert Band. The rope drum Dr. Miller is playing was constructed and painted by the late Charles "Buck" Soistman of Baltimore, Maryland in 1970. It is a replica of the drums that the Soistman family made for the Union Anny in the Civil War. The tunes selected for the suite are ones that were popular during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Jacob de Haan is one of the most popular and most played wind music composers of our time. In a long-time cooperation with his publisher, De Haske Publications, he has issued numerous compositions and arrangements for various line-ups. His oeuvre for wind band consists of compelling concert works with different grades of difficulty, short concertante works, didactic material for beginners, entertainment music, and marches. He also writes various arrangements of existing classical works and chorals.

Aminerland is a warm and rich work that is as gorgeous and enchanting as the beautiful lake region of Germany for which it is named. Mid-voices introduce the simple exquisite melody, followed in turn by bolder scoring that invites the entire ensemble to create moments of broad intensity. This enchanting region by the Zwischenahner Lake, combines fields covered with yellow rape blossoms, lush meadows, seemingly endless country roads, and an exquisite lakeside. Ammerland is a journey through nature, the lakeside, and the brilliant colors of a unique landscape.

Sean O'Loughlin is a fresh voice and a rising name in the music world. His music is characterized by vibrant rhythms, passionate melodies, and colorful scoring. Commissions from the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra highlight and showcase his diverse musical abilities. As a conductor, he has led performances with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the Grant Park Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra. He was the conductor and arranger for a recent orchestral tour with the band The Decemberists.

Ricochet is an engaging piece for wind band that was commissioned by the 2008 Georgia Music Educator Association District 13 High School Honor Band. The director, Mr. Ryan Bybee, approached O'Loughlin and asked him to write a "fun and exciting piece of music for our group with no limits." Full of polychords and creative accents, it is a study of rhythm and color for the advanced ensemble. The music contains nods to master composers, while keeping a strong foot in the present and future.

Dr. Stephen Lawson has been a faculty member at Marshall University since 2002, teaching horn lessons, music theory and music education courses. Additionally, he has served as the interim chair of the Department of Music and directed the MU Wind Symphony. He is a member of the Kingsbury Woodwind Quintet, and MU Faculty Brass Quintet. Lawson is a member of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra and, has performed with the Ohio Valley Symphony and the West Virginia Symphony, River Cities Symphony and Seneca Chamber Orchestra on horn, since arriving in WV.

H.M.S. Surprise Suite by Dr. Stephen Lawson makes use of English Folk Songs from the early 1800's. Spanish Ladies and Don't Forget Your Old Shipmates are shanties, or sea songs. Both melodies are featured in the movie: Master and Commander, which is based on historical fiction novels of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Matchurin, by Patrick O'Brian. These were drafted for the instrumental music students of the West Virginia Governor's School for the Arts in 2007 that had a theme of "... tell a story". In Don't Forget Your Old Shipmates, there is a battle scene in which one can hear the Pirate's theme - "16 men on a dead man's chest". In reality it is that same basic melody as "... shipmates", only in minor. The fugue like section concludes with the H.M. S. Surprise winning the battle. Three Ravens is a folk song from the same period. In English lore, ravens are often a metaphor for poachers or thieves. While it is unlikely that this melody would have been sung on a "king's ship" it makes a fitting contrast to the two brighter melodies.

Brian Balmages is an active composer, conductor, producer, and performer. His works for symphonic band, orchestra, and brass have been performed throughout the world. His active schedule of commissions has included groups ranging from elementary schools to professional ensembles. As a conductor, Balmages enjoys engagements with numerous honor bands and orchestras, university groups, and professional ensembles throughout the country. Currently he is the Director of Instrumental Publications for The FJH Music Company Inc.

On February 1, 2008, tragedy struck Balmages hometown in Maryland. A young high school boy, Nicholas Browning, made national headlines after being arrested for murdering his parents and two younger brothers. The entire community was thrown into shock because he was an honors student and the whole episode seemed so impetuous. Brothers Gregory and Benjamin were percussionists in the Cockeysville Middle Schools Bands. It was shortly after this tragedy that their director, Jonathan Sindler, approached Balmages about writing a piece for a memorial concert. Balmages and his wife attended the same middle school as the two brothers, and both are alumni of the high school where Nicholas Browning was a student. Kindred Spirits is offered as a musical eulogy for the Browning family.

As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Steven Reineke's arrangements have been performed worldwide, and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings. He is also an established symphonic composer. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world. A native of Ohio, Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition.

Fate of the Gods is a programmatic work for symphonic band. It was inspired by tales of Nordic mythology. The piece tells the story of Ragnarok, also known as the Twilight of the Gods. An incredible war between forces of good and evil is fought, bringing about the end of the cosmos. After the destruction, a new and idyllic world will arise and this new earth will be filled only with joy and abundance.

Smith Recital Hall
  • recitals,
  • wind symphony
Citation Information
Gregory A. Richmond, Ben Miller and Matthew Chaffins. "Marshall University Music Department Presents the Symphonic Band Spring Concert, Gregory A. Richmond, conductor, featuring: Dr. Ben Miller, soloist, Matthew Chaffins, graduate conductor, and the world premiere of, H.M.S. Surprise Suite, by Dr. Stephen Lawson" (2010)
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