Wagner’s musical drama Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg holds a unique place in his output. Among his stage works, it is the only one missing supernatural elements and the only one not a tragedy. Inspired by the real 16th century Master Singer’s Guild of Nuremberg, Germany, the story is a metaphor for Wagner’s own musical struggle. Walther von Stolzing is a young knight determined to win the annual song contest with his new ideas. He must fight against the musical conservatism of many of the judges. Wagner clearly saw himself in the character, and saw in the character of Sixtus Beckmesser (the most pedantic of the Meistersingers) his own critics. Hans Sachs, who mentors Walther to a victory in the competition, was a real historical figure who lived from 1494 to 1576.    -David Hattner

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American Barndance was commissioned and premiered for the twentieth annual Festival of Bands in Loogootee, IN in 2008 with the composer conducting. American Barndance was composed in celebration of the festival’s anniversary. As the title suggests, this is a throwback to the days of neighbors coming together to socialize and celebrate life on the farm. It reflects the sense of lightheartedness and playfulness for all who attend a barndance.     -Richard Saucedo

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On December 14, 2012, twenty children and six educators were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Having grown up in Sandy Hook just a mile from the school, this is where I attended grades 3-5. For the past several years, I have thought about writing a piece of music that would reflect on thie tragedy, but I have struggled to know where to start. Even after beginning to sketch out ideas for this piece, I felt unsure of where the piece should go and what it should communicate. In an effort to find a clearer sense of direction, I searched for poetry that reflected how I was feeling. When I came across “Remember”, a moving poem by Christina Rossetti, I found the direction I was looking for. Through the simple idea of remembering—not forgetting that this happened, not forgetting these children, not forgetting the grief that their families must feel—I realized this is what I wanted and needed to communicate through music. Into the Silent Land was commissioned by a consortium of schools and individuals led by Dr. Jared Chase and Nazareth College.       -Steve Danyew

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Scarborough Fair is a traditional English ballad (existing in more than one version) that tells the story, in some versions at least, upon a possible visit by an unidentified person (the “third party”) to the Yorkshire town of Scarborough. The song implies the tale of a man who instructs the third party to tell his former love, who lives in said fair town, to perform for him a series of impossible tasks, such as making for him a shirt without a seam and no needlework and then washing it in a dry empty well, adding that if she were to complete these tasks he would take her back into his affections. Often the song is sung as a duet, with the woman then giving her sometime lover a series of equally impossible tasks, promising to give him his seamless shirt and her heart once he has finished. This setting, by Andrew Boysen, is the final movement of his Three Folk Song Settings for Band. It concludes the suite with a rousing setting of the well-known folk song, and includes references to the previous two movements.     -Wikipedia/Alfred Music Publishing

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