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Westfield State University Composer | Connecting Point | Apr. 27, 2015

Westfield State University Composer | Connecting Point | Apr. 27, 2015


Westfield State University graduate in
Great Barrington native Simon Brown is a music educator in Bergen County
when a New York philanthropist approached him to commission a new
musical composition brown thought his alma mater and its
founder horseman recently Simon brown and bob class from the Westfield State
University Foundation came in to tell us about pieces of
Horace Mann which will have its world premiere performance and Westfield State campus tomorrow
night Jonathan wanted me to create a piece of art and I
are asked him what kind of political issues
he wanted to pursue and he said human rights so when
I called bob but didn’t even know this and said well its the 175th anniversary why don’t you
residency above Westfield right so why don’t you
write something for horseman honoring him and you know horseman in
space chance Jim you he is this social reformer who is called the father of American
education and he really is a person who who believe the
in social rights and in fact he was the I I think the man
who really inspired Booker T Washington to
send some freed slaves up to Westfield State and one of those
slaves became I booker T washington’s doctor as well
those were the first school committee man and and we’re we honor him at the
University with a Courtney hollis name was Samuel
Courtney so I’m its it’s a wheel a or will cool in our our cap to have something written about horseman
because if ever there was a a cause nobler it’s the cause and education though
those were Horseman’s words some around let me ask you now here okay you talk to Bob you get the idea it
starts forming how do you go about rating a piece of
music creating the composition what was the inspiration
come from a man who died a green with a lot
history of them but he’s been gone over a hundred years what do you go to
get that inspiration you need as an artist well there’s the long
answer in the short answer the short answer is I I spent a lot of time walking thinking
about this piece turning it over my head
talking to people in coffee shops there is a history buff
that I can pick his brain every day for about a
month on Horace Mann’s life and a and then a lot of time just constructing the
peace in one’s head and then finally a not too long ago a little closer to the deadline that I
had hoped I started I started actually writing the
notes are more and more and I actually have a little bit of the the peace here and
you can see I’ve already put some on the computer
and then I’ve started to the market up and it’s just this process of revision and
revision and revision until you work in the computer and the
computer or your is so you’re writing on the computer
yeah well I write by hand first and then I put it on the computer print
it out right more by hand and and more a its generally it’s funny because there’s
that movie amadeus where he says or is the music goes it is
in here whatever you know and and that’s really
how it works you really have to have it in your head first now i’ve seen. call you said you know be
this is a metaphor for Horace Mann’s life the the piece is
gonna start out to darken in vicious contemplative then end glorious in questioning fascinating I feel like that’s how the
last a couple hundred years have gone in our
country if you like we’ve a we’re starting to emerge from this
real dark age love our country into a place
where everybody can be free to do what they
want in terms of I you know the life people we don’t have slave people
anymore a thats thats progression women have the vote
you know we people can marry who they want to
marry now in in Massachusetts and a few other states
and it seems like we’re getting there the question is really will we get there
he begins with the the peace with this what you use some trash can send an
anthem whips n and these loud noises to she would have represent what the
industrial age when horseman first Inc came into existence over it
started his crusade for for education yeah I want to paint a portrait of what life was like
back then for a lot of workers and there’s there’s an industrial factory the sound
of that and there’s a whip to really just remind people where we came from it’s
performed him by arm I the wind symphony ensemble now when symphony we learned our I
learned up from are Karen the boy who is the director of
the Wind Symphony that the Wind Symphony is actually a
concert beyond an how many instrument or how many folks
are playing 56 folks is something like that something like that yeah it’s like a mini ungodly number people
on the state and the also you wrote for The corral for the
Westfield State Carell is going to be in this so they’re spoken word in a sense %uh
mueve Horseman’s words obvious I presume sure sure there’s a there’s some spoken
word quotes from him there some my poetry I and then there’s
the the folk song we shall overcome take us
a little bit now I’m presuming where is not allotted time left till
this it is it’s a world premiere performance April 28th on the Westfield State
University campus rehearsals are are going on people are
learning the peace what’s your role going to be there no
you can’t sit back and and watch or will you be participating performing or
conducting what what’s what happens for you well I do get to
watch the premiere I don’t have to conduct which which is is good for me I’d like
to watch a but I’ll be at rehearsals are we
talking to carol avoid who is the excellent conductors use my
conducting teacher at Westfield many many great people have a studied under her great
conductors and she is just fabulous it’s like she
can read my mind so we don’t have much to talk about
because you have hit the handles re-open you’re gonna be telling the audience are coming up on
stage in sort of filling in the audience before they hear the peace order how it began and what you are really
they you want them to listen for right yeah
yeah I’ll be doing that right before they perform the the orchestra we getting ready
moving percussion around huge piece of metal that they’ll be
banging on and stuff and I’ll be talking about the peace but I do intend to go to a few
more rehearsals every min 21 and a you know that synth sound there’s
a synthesizer in it we need to work on that and you know oh that that death whistle
there’s a my in death whistle in the coming by and get it with you at
that death fit death which’ll that was yes any fun whether
the students found it for you where went above and beyond actually
bought this thing I don’t know how much he spent on where he found it but it’s
like this was his last dollar the debt that’s alright rather not done it very
much a mother my and death was alright us on it’s interesting that the
Foundation’s I celebrating its 35th anniversary this
year and we’re doing that at the gala on May 9th
and job believe it or not we have I would never
want to to lose the opportunity we’re taping
performances with performance above Horseman’s pieces pieces a porous man and it will be part
over our evening on May 9th at the University so a we’re we’re really getting your we’re
really getting our money’s worth rate I think so yeah well congratulations it is a free open to the public
performance the dearest stage friends I’ll call it you can’t miss per
install right at the driveway and the main came as a Westfield State Tuesday evening April 28th world
premiere performance pieces and Horace Mann 7:30 7:30 p.m. German thank you for coming in
summer man congratulations to you thanks to

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