The name Eric Whitacre is sure to turn heads anywhere musicians gather. While he is a composer of choral music first, his wide range of talents have enabled him to travel the world, writing music for different ensembles and performing with people from all walks of life.
Stylistically and culturally, jazz music has had an enormous impact on American music, influencing many of the most beloved musical minds of our time. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording, Pepper has taken the time to ask many of the musicians we’ve interviewed about how jazz has influenced their lives. No matter what their preferred style, they all had something to say about the importance of jazz.
Mary Lynn Lightfoot’s musical life started in the town of Canton, Missouri, where she began taking piano lessons at the age of four. As she grew up, she often played the piano for her church when the organist was away over the summer. Music helped to shape her life through high school, where she continued learning in both the band and choir. By the time she graduated, she had become so proficient that she received an instrumental scholarship to Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State) for French horn.
Standing in the St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hanover, Pennsylvania, it is not difficult to see how the beauty of religious devotion can inspire someone like Lloyd Larson to create such splendid choral pieces. Indeed, Larson considers himself a product of the church his family attended while growing up in Illinois.
The American centennial was an exciting time for the nation. Cities and towns bustled with new industry and a brighter outlook replaced the bleak days that followed the Civil War. The country was looking for new pastimes, and one of the most popular was community bands. American patriotic music was experiencing a revival, with band leaders like John Philip Sousa rising to prominence.
Listening to a master speak about their craft is one of the most enlightening experiences one can have. That was the thinking behind Pepper’s video interview series, The Inside Voice. Our place in the music community gives us the opportunity to speak with many of the best known and most beloved musicians active today. We realized the best way to use this opportunity was to share it with our customers.
Composer Brian Balmages’ sheet music can be found in music rooms across the nation. He has written music for every skill level from very easy to advanced. This, coupled with his ability to write music for both band and orchestra, is a big part of his success over the years, but there is something in his compositions that delves far deeper into the emotions of musicians and listeners alike.His ability to touch on raw emotion with his music is akin to many of the most notable composers throughout history.
Jazz has long been known as the first all-American art form. It is, in many ways, both a metaphor for and an example of the blending of culture and knowledge that has taken place in the United States over the course of its history.
If you have not yet had the pleasure to hear Julia Kamanda speak about classroom music, composition, and education, you are missing out on hearing one of the most genuinely passionate voices in the industry. The songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist uses her experience in composition and education to create music activities for preschoolers that teach them how to make music all their own.
With the nation’s birthday approaching, it is appropriate to celebrate the men and women of the United States military, without whom we would not have the many comforts and freedoms we often take for granted. It takes all kinds of people to make our armed forces the elite presence it is in the world, and we honor each of their contributions, thanking them for all that they do for us.