On Tuesday, April 19, DeForest Area Middle Schoolband members were honored to work with noted wind band composer Michael Sweeney. With help from the DeForest Music Parents Association, Mr. Sweeney was commissioned last year to write a new piece for the 2010-11 eighth grade band. The piece, titled Dance of the Spirits (a musical description of the Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights phenomenon), will be premiered at the May 17 middle school band concert with the composer conducting.
During his time at DAMS, Mr. Sweeney worked with the eighth grade band on his new composition, as well as the seventh grade band, which is also preparing one of his previously published works. According to band instructor Mark Sieger, Sweeney talked with students about the creative process and how preliminary musical ideas can eventually result in a completed work.
Since 1982, Mr. Sweeney has worked for Hal Leonard Corporation in Milwaukee, one of the largest music publishers in the world. His position is Director of Band Publications, and he is directly responsible for the development, production, recording and ma
rketing of new publications. With those responsibilities, Mr. Sweeney only composes in his free time, evenings and weekends. Even at that, he is a prolific composer with over 500 original band pieces and arrangements.
The Spring Band Concert was held at the DeForest Area Performing Arts Center on May 17. The sixth grade band began at 6:30, with the seventh and eighth grade bands and jazz band followed at 7:45. The concert was free and open to the public.