2009 - "Hometown Fanfare", commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the Medina Community Band, the world premiere will be the concert on July 31, 2009 with composer Tadd Russo conducting
 

Tadd Russo (b. 1976) serves as an arranger for the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C., and teaches music technology at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.  He received his master's degree in composition from The Ohio State University, where his principal instructor was Thomas Wells.  He has studied film and Broadway orchestration with Steven Scott Smalley and Joe Gianono.  Tadd's music has been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland), the OCEAn festival (Oberlin Conservatory), the Electrolune Festival (Lunel, France), the Society of Composers 2006 National Convention (San Antonio, Texas) and by the Dallas Wind Symphony (Dallas, Texas).  As an arranger/orchestrator, he has worked with Ben Vereen, Ronan Tynan, Darin Atwater’s Soulful Symphony, Empire Brass, and Kool and the Gang, among others.  He currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Erica and daughter Rachel.

Tadd was born in Parma, Ohio and raised in Medina and as you can see from the picture at right, his mother brought him to the Medina Community Band concerts on the square in Medina early.  The picture was probably taken at the July 4th, 1976 concert of Medina Community Band.

 


When asked about his inspiration for the commission by Medina Community Band, Tadd made the following comments in an email to conductor Marcus Neiman (June 25th, 2009): 
 
Harmonically, I chose to use sus2 and sus4 chords throughout the fanfare—partially as an homage to the guitar (tuned in fourths) and partially because they grew organically out of the opening theme (Bb F C).  The harmonic progressions, especially the sharp turns in the opening and closing sections,  are influenced by film music and are often mediant relations (or, by extension, tritone relations—the tritone is also a conspicuous interval in the Lydian scale).  These are meant to surprise the listener and demand attention.  Music from films was one of the ways that I was drawn to symphonic music as a teenager.

The bass instruments often play in fifths--vertically, as well as horizontally (in parallel fifths), which references guitar power chords.  I began playing guitar in high school and learned most of my theory initially from singing in choir with Frank Bianchi, and teaching myself guitar (later in formal theory studies with Gary Ciulla and Garnet Hicks, band directors in the Medina City Schools).

The winds do what they do best in these situations--scales and figures built off of the chords with the occasional pentatonic or whole-tone run. The woodwind theme is more of a march style theme than anything that came before it and gives the ear a little break from the screaming brass section as well as a break from Bb.  It is also a great chance to feature the woodwind section.

The trumpet flourishes bring us back to Bb and the fanfare feel and are meant to contrast with the relative darkness of the trombone register.


My intent was to feature the trombones, as this was the instrument I was drawn to as a child and played from junior high through high school (in the Medina City Schools), and a very little bit in college.  From a technical perspective, I wanted the opening to be built on the overtone series of the trombone's first position (in a bugle style), with shifts to the second and third position for color notes.  This evolved into using a Lydian scale based on Bb, which is joyful, but brash (much like the trombone).
 


1991 - "Medina March", concert march, composer Corwin Taylor

1996 - "Rhapsody for Trumpet and Band", trumpet concerto, composer Douglas Court, Curnow Music Press, in memory of Eugene Wind

The second composition, one more contemporary in nature, was deemed to be a trumpet concerto in Gene’s honor.  Douglas Court (pictured at right), from the James Curnow Publishing Company, composed Rhapsody for Trumpet and Band, which was premiered in 1997 with Marcia Nelson Kline as soloist. Douglas Court has written exclusively for Curnow Music since 1994. Doug is a native of Toronto, Canada and received his early musical training in The Salvation Army. His formal training was received at the University of Toronto where he studied trumpet and graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. Doug has also studied composition at the University of South Florida. While living in Toronto, Doug worked as a freelance trumpet player performing with groups such as the Canadian Opera Company orchestra.






1995 - "Windward Passage",  concert marchcomposer David Shaffer, Barnhouse Publication, in memory of Eugene Wind

Eugene “Gene” Wind, Sr., a trumpet player from Wadsworth played with the band for ten years, died in an industrial accident after the 1993 season.   

Neiman had met Wind at high school band activities at Highland High School, where Wind was a band booster and later band booster president.  Their friendship and mutual love for bands and band music encouraged Neiman to extend an invitation to Wind to join MCB, which he did. Following Wind’s death, the decision was made to honor his memory with the commissioning of a composition for band.  A donation of funds from the family actually made possible two pieces to be composed.

The decision was made to present the first commission to Cincinnati, Ohio, composer David Shaffer (pictured at left). Shaffer accepted the commission and composed a piece that would feature trumpet (which Gene played) and had some sort of connection to boating (a pastime that the Wind family enjoyed). The Band, Neiman, and Wind were practical jokers at heart. Several of Wind’s boating friends and Neiman made the suggestion that the title for the commissioned piece be “Passed Wind,” a title that they knew would find favor in Wind’s heart. They were outvoted by more conservative members of the ensemble for a more “appropriate” title of Windward Passage. The composition was first performed on a Friday evening in June 1995 on the Square with Medina Community Band playing. Unfortunately, just prior to the premiere performance the skies opened with a summer storm.  The Band and Shaffer decided to “go forward” with the playing anyway. Gene Wind would have been very pleased. Windward Passage remains on the Barnhouse Publication list and is selling well


1986 - "Gazebo March", concert march, composer Robert Feldbush

1984 - "Patty-Cake for Band", composer Edmund J. Siennicki, Shawnee Press

The MCB has had a special relationship with nationally known composer Edmund J. Siennicki (pictured at right), of Sharon Center.  Not only has Siennicki played bassoon in the Band for the better part of the last 17 years, but over time the Band has played some of his music dedicated to the MCB, the Medina County Schools Fair Honors Bands, or to Medina County citizens. Specifically for MCB, Siennicki wrote or arranged the following: Patty-Cake for Band (1984) played in manuscript and later published with Shawnee Press, commissioned by Medina Community Band; Reflections(1994) in memory of Gene Wind Sr, and played first by MCB in February of 1994.  In addition, the band has done numerous arrangements by Siennicki including the Pavane for a Dead Princess  by Maurice Ravel, which Siennicki arranged for solo horn and band.  Siennicki has also used MCB to record numerous of his pieces for submission to his publishers and has been a long-time financial sponsor of MCB.




1982 - "Man of Medina", composer Robert Feldbush

A composer and member of the band (1986-88, 1996) was Robert Feldbush (pictured at left), director of the Cuyahoga Falls High School Marching Band and Goldtones Stage Band.  He wrote Man of Medina, commissioned by MCB and dedicated to Neiman. The piece had its ‘World Premiere’ performance at the Friday evening Band concert on June 4, 1983. He arranged for concert band the Theme of the Old Phoenix National Bank March to be performed by the MCB July 30th that year as part of the Bank’s 125th anniversary, complete with anniversary cake.  In addition, he wrote a piece, Children’s Hour, commissioned by MCB and Neiman, with its world premiere on June 17, 1983 in the Uptown Park Gazebo.  He dedicated another march to the MCB and Neiman in 1986, The Gazebo march, premiered on the Gazebo in June of 1986.  In addition, he arranged numerous pieces for solo instrument or voice that have been performed by the Band.