Why Halloween is My Favorite Holiday

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to this time of year. For me, Halloween meant looking at cool decorations in people’s yards, dressing up in a costume and not having to be mundane me for an evening, going out after dark, and of course, CANDY!

Halloween brought on many fun memories, like the time my friend Carolyn and I made a Halloween themed 2 person Dragon costume together and wowed everyone 2 years in a row (it was that awesome!), going through some yards that had actual haunted houses or trails built into them in order to get the opportunity for trick or treat, and seeing everyone’s costumes of course. Two that stick out in my memory are a cow costume (I doubt anyone else thought of that) and the year someone went dressed as Quailman- belt on head, underwear outside clothing, and all.

These days though, Halloween has evolved to mean something more for me personally.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that many people don’t share my sentiment and it’s understandable. Some people just don’t like the “spooky” atmosphere that comes along with the holiday. Being scared, watching people be scared, or being surrounded by home dĂ©cor decorated with rotting corpses does not always sit well with everyone.

In addition, Halloween has many stereotypes now associated with it having evolved from a pagan/ witch associated festival known as Samhain, the most severe being Devil worship. (Spoiler alert- most witches I’ve come to know do not even believe in the devil, but that is a deeper discussion for another day and time.). Having come from a Christian background myself, I can understand why the association is as it is.

Heck, I even briefly considered axing the holiday that has been beloved by me since being conscious of it from the age of 3 from my personal list of holidays to observe, when someone in made me aware of their belief in this association with evil spirits. Mind you, it only lasted about a minute or two, but it led me to research and question things.

The conclusion that I came up with in my own path is that what you associate with a day has more to do with personal meaning and your own knowing and belief system. If Halloween fell on May 1st and you had the same personal beliefs associated with it, I would be willing to bet you’d behave the same toward it as you do on October 31st. If you choose to avoid the happenings of the day, regardless of the reason, that is your choice and that’s ok.

It also led me to research where Halloween truly came from (why do we celebrate it as we do and how did it used to be celebrated and what the reasons were/are?). There are several resources to look at the day from a purely historical perspective and I encourage you to go find them. Google and the Library have great resources.

These days, for me, Halloween, aka Samhain, is a gentle reminder to take a day out of the year to remember my family and friends who have passed on. It’s a bit like Memorial day in The Unided States, where we take time to remember and thank all of our service men and women, because we are conveniently reminded on a calendar. It is what it is…

I use the day to not only remember them, but celebrate the fact that they were here and gave me pleasant memories to look back on and smile every once in awhile during the rest of the year. It’s also a chance to say thank you and move on from any past grievances if any come up. Whether or not the message gets through is hard to say but at the very least, I feel better, and the positive effects of purposely taking time to do this last for quite awhile.

If it makes you feel better, I promise you I’m not doing the devil’s work and practicing necromancy. That literally could be dangerous, not to mention a bit more icky than handling the purely decorative plastic corpses that adorn my living room.

Anyway, I hope you have a Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, and/ or, have a fantastic day everyone!

2022 Music, and Life, Goals.

The last few years I have been psting my goals for the coming year in order to look back at periodically and hold myself accountable. Here is this years list of goals in their respective catagories.

Composing

FINISH the projects from last year that were started.

  1. ) Enter Spirit- Flex band score. I am currently working with a band director to have it read and finish the graphic score element. This should be ready for the public by May if all goes according to plan.

2) Painless Parker- Band Score. I need a few volunteers to read the piece and give feedback for the final score. I aim to have it available for purchase asap.

3) Continue my editing of past works. – I got a litle more than halfway through, and then I lost my productivity streak. By the end of the year I aim to be finished with all prior pieces. It will help that I’ve gotten better at engraving for anythihg that I write this year, so lots of time will be saved!

4) Documentary Score- Almost finished. It was postponed due to covid and a big life transition for the director. I just need to touch base with the director a few more times to get this done.

5) Vocal and Instrumental piece with a Librettist- I started this one with them as a new type of collaboration for me. Most of the Ideas are in the germ phase, but this will get done by the end of this year at the latest.

Sell at least 1 score a month

I will be ramping up advertising on Facebook as well as taking the initiative to contact more musicians and directors directly. I’ll also be adding lots more pieces and arrangements to My website store and on Sheet Music Plus.

Start Making some Money from Composing

Eventually, I’d like this to make up the bulk of my livelihood along with performing and teaching. Luckily it’s looking like at least one paid commission is shaping up with a fantastic Trombonist.

I can’t wait to share more of these details with you in the coming months.

My one Resolution- normally I don’t do these but I’ll make an exception in this case- is to Share more of what I am working on. Please follow me on Instagram or TikTok @shogan_composer to see more of my process this year.

Lesson Studio Goals

Build studio up to 30 students.

Have at least 2 big recitals this year ( With at least one being in person, Covid Pending), and generally find more performance opportunities for my students.

Host A Quarterly Studio GET-TOGETHER via Zoom with Games and playing opportunities for peers only.

Have more students participate in MMTA contests and festivals.

Increase educational content on the studio YOUTUBE channel. (sorry, as of now this is for MY STUDENTs only, although I may make some of the videos public eventually). Every other Friday, I plan on recording a short video and UPLOADINg it.

Continue to become a better teacher for my students.

Musicianship Goals

Play an EtudE Every Practice session

I’m starting with the good Ol’ Rochut book 1 and will work my way through the book one etude at a time. When I’m done, I’ll look for a new book to progress to. It is my hope that I will become a better player by making this commitment to my practice routine. It should also help me……

Improve my sightreading on both Piano and Trombone

Establish a functional practice routine and schedule a time to practice every weekday.

Life and Relationship Building

Continue to improve my health and stregnth.

I started this last year in 2021 and began strength training with Barbells as of June.If I can keep with the schedule of 3-4 days of stregnth training and eat well, I’ll be well on my personal goal to be able to squat my body weight by June as well as do 1 unassisted pullup by then. Maybe I’ll even surpass it! Although My goals here are not asthetic, I am looking forward to see how things change here as the year progresses. The reason for this is that it helps my mental health quite a bit and I’d like to remain as healthy as I can to do thie things that I love- Mainly Make Music! Also, as I am now in the dirty 30’s, I’d like to not be complaining about back problems like so many of my peers are already.

Continue to Volunteer at leAst 4 times a year

I am excited to see what opportunities 2022 brings, especially with MMTA. Assuming things keep opening back up, I’d also love to have a recital or perform at a nursing home.

Plan monthly phone calls and emails, Aim for 1 New person per month to start with in this list.

This may be a lofty goal, since being extraverted in this capacity takes quite a bit of uncomfortable effort on my end, but I’m going to try by listing a set day on my planner calendar to do this. It wil be at the end of the month too so I have that long to come up with someone.

Support fellow artists through Album/ music PURCHASES and RECOMMENDATIONS, and email them with compliments.

Attend at least 3 newtorking events or festivals.

Next Month, I’ll be attending Brass Chix as I have every year, and in March, the MMTA convention is in Minneapolis, so I’ll be attending at least 1 day of this as well.

2021 Goals- How did I do?

It’s that time of year- The end of the year where I give you my report card and evaluate the goals that I set at the end of the previous year.

Here is what happened:

BIG GOAL: Make More Money/ Be able to solely do MUSIC to survive.

Update: Success! I am surviving. As of June, I was able to just teach and complete an engraving project to make the minimum that I neded to bring in to justify being my own boss. Next year I will set my goals toward Thriving… and then some.

Mini Goal: Sell 10 scores of my own music. My goal is a minimum of 25 total including arrangements.

Update: I sold 12 total. Yeehaw. It looks like I’ll have to evaluate and revise my strategy.

Mini Goal: 15 students by June

Update: I have since surpassed that goal and am up to 20 students!

BIG GOAL: Get to know more people

Update: I didn’t meet as many new people in person as I was hoping to ( thanks Covid) but did meet some. I talked to Alex Gardner and Matthew Driscol via the magic of zoom and meet a few local musicians and composers through a Monthly Composer Meet up and throught the Z festival, both of which met online. I’d really like to actually get to know more people this next year beyond briefly meeting them.

If you count it though, I did get to meet some awesome new students and their wonderful families 🙂

Mini Goal: Contact 2 new people in music/ month minimum

Update: This fell by the wayside but I did manage to average 1-2 every other month. Next year I will schedule monthly phone calls and emails in my planner.

Big Goal: Write 3 hours minimum of music

Update: If you count all of the unrecorded improvising I did, I ….probably?… reached this goal. However, my composing focus was nonexistant most of this year and getting things written down just did not happen.

Mini Goal:Create more creative opportunities

Update: I did it- but via a different avenue that I set out to follow. I am now part of a trombone trio called The Trifore Trombone Trio and got to exercise my creativity by making marketing content for the Twin Cities Brass Band. I also participated in Z-Fest this summer which provided some interesting ppportunities as well.

Big Goal: Be even more giving and spread more JOY

Mini Goal: Send more notes in the form of cards and emails

Update: Success. I’ll keep this goal active for next year too.

Mini goal: volunteer my time in a musical capacity at least 4 times

Update: This happened exactly 4 times. I volunteered at an MMTA event this Fall, helped out with a large music sorting project, and helped a few friends with their musical projects a few times this year. Next year, I hope to help out at more events because helping is fun. 🙂

Throwback Thursday September 2021 Recap

September 2nd 2021

This Week’s #throwbackthursday piece is related to the event I’ve been excited about that is happening this weekend: MNKINO Film Score Fest!(BTW- It’s this Saturday at 8 In Mears Park, St Paul MN if you can come).A few years ago, in 2017, I wandered to an event that I had heard about on a podcast called Composer Quest called the MnKino Film Score Fest Meetup. It was at an underground bar in the middle of Minneapolis- or was it St Paul? As is tradition for me with trying new things, I had no idea what I was getting into. Also, meeting new people in groups still terrified the bejeebus out of me, but there I went. At the time, I was starving for creative opportunities outside of my mundane day job and, although it scared me, I reasoned that the best way to make this happen was to step out of that comfort zone and talk to strangers. Somewhere in the large crowd a, talented yet also introverted and kind animator named Beth Peloff talked to me and decided that I was going to be her composer (YAY!).Together, we created a little film called Blob’s Adventure. You can watch it here:https://vimeo.com/218081763

September 9th 2021

Do You remember looking up at the sky on a carefree summer day, imagining the pictures and scenes in the clouds? Today’s #ThrowbackThursday piece was written on such a summer afternoon. When I used to work at a printer factory, I’d come home and need to decompress. Being that the job left little time for much else between driving home, eating dinner, and sleeping to wake up early and do it all over again, there was a 30-minute window that I’d have to myself. I chose to walk from my Dad’s trailer home to the end of the road and back most evenings after scarfing down my meal. That day in 2010, I admired those picturesque clouds in the sky and imagined what it could sound like. At the time I was listening to a lot of Debussy piano music as well. Cumulus Humilis- The scientific name for the type of clouds that I saw that day- is the name of this piece. It was premiered by Jimmy Knezetik- a pianist I knew in undergrad who has the most sensitive touch of any pianist I’ve known. Listeners enjoyed it because it is easy on the ears and my theory teachers loved it because it uses something called Locrian Mode. (Note- I did not do this on purpose. It was a happy coincidence). A few years after composing the piece, Avguste Antonov recorded the piece and did a wonderful job. It is included on his debut album, An American Journey.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/cumulus…/21854853…#pianomusic#newmusic#solomusic

September 16th 2021

In 2009, around this time, I started my undergrad degree at Youngstown State in Ohio. At the time, I had just met my – unbeknownst to me- future husband. He took me to one of Youngstown’s greatest hidden treasures, Mill Creek Park, as part of a tour of the area. We walked around on this adventure for a while when a rather large tree branch suddenly snapped, and almost beamed us in the head on the way down from the fall. Me being me, blamed it on the trickster Faeries that obviously got a laugh at almost killing this intruder, .and yelled something unintelligible back at them. Darko laughed, I laughed, and this whole near-death experience is now immortalized in a Trombone and Euphonium duet. Today’s #ThrowbackThursday piece is dedicated to these Wood Nymphs who happened to give me the inspiration to finish the duet I was writing for fellow composer Dan Brandt and I, just in time to not get scolded by our studio professor. #Brass#BrassDuet#Trombone#Euphonium#WomanComposer#NewMusichttps://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/meliae…/21816732…

September 23rd 2021

Who Likes Thunderstorms???…….. Actually, not me. In fact, I sometimes find them terrifying! This week, we had a fairly loud one that kept me up quite late. The loud sound of the thunder hurts my ears and seeing a Lightning strike victim in the ER when I was little because my mom used to work nights and sometimes had to take us with to her job, may have contributed to this uncomfortableness. Thank goodness though. MN needed the rain. That brings me to this week’s #ThrowbackThursday piece.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/reign-of…/21833455…Reign of Thunder is a flute solo and one of my first pieces that premiered at YSU. However, it was written it in the summer before starting my studies Shanyse Strickland , a Fantastic Musician known for her Horn playing and Composing these days, was the Flute Player! Cory Davis did a wonderful job accompanying on piano and I took his suggestion to double the octave in the left hand, thus improving the piece. #Flute#Flutesolo#piano#womancomposer#newmusic

Throwback Thursday August 2021 Recap

Hello Music friends and fans,

If you’ve been on Facebook page at all you may have noticed that I’ve been posting memories associated with the pieces I’ve written or arranged over the years on Thursdays. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them just as much as I have writing them.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how to add more content here and how to prompt myself to write more, as creativity begets creativity in a lot of cases. At the endo of the month- or the beginning of the next month, I’ll be copying those posts from Facebook and archiving them as blog posts.

August 12th 2021

It’s #ThrowbackThursday! YAY!- So I will be resharing an old memory and a piece attached to it.This past week’s new moon had me thinking bout this piece.https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/lunar…/21815638…I wrote Lunar Tides while I was thinking about my grandpa and how he made sure I got piano lessons when I was a kid after I was figuring out my younger brother’s lesson songs and movie songs by ear. It is because of him (and my piano instructor 🙂 ) that I was eventually able to articulate the music that I was hearing in my head and start the journey to becoming a Composer. Lunar Tides was written under the moon and the underlying broken chord accompaniment flows, much like water. A friend and fellow composer, Carol Ann Smolka once called it “spa music”, which made me chuckle, but I must say the description fits! Give it a listen and you’ll hear what she meant. #newmusic#vocalmusic#solomusic#composer

August 19th 2021

Aah, August: The perfect time to walk into a store and see all of the……Halloween Decorations?!? Not that I necessarily mind of course 🙂This #ThrowbackThursday had me thinking about my favorite holiday and how it was the only time I was allowed out after dark as a kid and could dress up as one of the creatures of my imagination. It was also the time that Mr. Adams, my Elementary Music Teacher would break out the Halloween music and I’d delight in singing the songs that sounded nothing like the cheerful happy songs we sang the rest of the year. Have you seen the Ghost of Tom/ John? My Old Black Cat and You Better Watch Out! are the ones I still sing, sometimes in August, to this day. One year he had a whole assembly/ party where the entire elementary school showed up in costume and sang Halloween songs together. I was a sleepy soccer player ( I wore soccer pj’s and carried around a soccer-ball-shaped pillow- being inventive with cheap to make costumes was something I had fun with), but I specifically remember someone dressed up as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz completely with a metal garbage can body and full metallic makeup.Anyway, enough rambling.Here is the piece/ arrangement that is associated with this memory. Please enjoy, or purchase for your own Halloween-related #Brass shenanigans!https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/…/this-is…/21874496…

August 26th 2021

Happy Thursday Friends and Music Fans,Today’s #throwbackthursday piece brings back memories. When I needed an escape growing up, my way of dealing with emotions like fear anger, and sadness, and needing to feel protected was to find an instrument, usually a piano but in this case a PINK guitar, and just improvise. To this day, I still don’t understand exactly what I am doing on the guitar beyond the names of the basic chords, though maybe someday I’ll take lessons. 🙂Anyway, this was created with a vamp of 2 chords that I would play, and I’d imagine a jam over it.Fast forward to the end of college where I was asked to provide music for a game, but that is a different memory for another day.🙂 Using Finale, I created an ending theme using this vamp and the jam I heard in my head for all of those years. Although the notation is atrocious, the sonic result is delightful and sounds pretty close to my imagination.https://samanthahogan-composer.bandcamp.com/…/mellow…

ZFestival- a July 2021Adventure!

This past month I participated in the first Composition Festival I have in a long time- ZFestival.

I first heard about ZFestival from a fellow Twin Cities Based Composer, Johnathan Posthuma. When I first applied to participate, as per usual fashion for me, I HAD LITERALLY NO IDEA WHAT I WAS GETTING MYSELF INTO! That was on purpose. 🙂

So what is this festival you ask? ZFestival is an online month long festival where they pair you with artists, composers and musicians from all over the world ( but mostly North America) and tell you to go create something.

They also have workshops and talks with guest artists and It’s all online. That’s right. I didn’t even have to leave my house or wear pants to participate in this event. ( I mean, I did wear pants except for that one time I wore a skirt. It’s just that it wasn’t required.)

Also, unbelievably, it’s FREE to participate.

They had 3 tracks this year for composers to participate in. The one I was chosen for was a multidisciplinary track.

The group consisted of Clarissa Littler, Timothy Leimu Sillman Walters, Tyler Katz, and Myself. So, a group of composers, multi instrumentalists, an amatur watercolor artist , and a computer programmer (Their instrument was listed as Math) who may or may not have doubled on these skills with prior knowledge that that was what they were going to do.

To create the project, we decided to trade pieces and record and engineer them from our own homes. A lot of Trial and Error on my end was had.

The final Gala Took place on July 31st and August 1st 2021. It was amazing to see what all of these groups came up with and celebrate their creativity. Our Project, which resembles a Prog Rock Space Opera with improvised live visual programming , was on August 1st and is the second one on the program.

As a BONUS and for your viewing pleasure, please watch the product of the 48 Hour Challenge I did with Tim, along with the rest of the projects. The prompt was…interesting to say the least. XD

You can learn more about ZFestival by visiting zfestival.org

Good News Everyone!

A few weeks ago I wrote a preview post of what I was currently working on and now have some news to accompany one of the projects.

In it, I mentioned that I was working on a film score that included 12 tone craziness among other things. Well, I’m proud to say that the film that Jason Schumacher and I have been working on the past few months was selected for the MnKino Film Score Fest.

This means that it will be screened with a LIVE ORCHESTRA playing the score simultaneously!! As a bonus: there is a theremin in the orchestra this year ( and yes I utilized it in the score)!!

The Event takes place at the Science Museum in St Paul MN on July 20th at 7:00 PM.

A link to the Facebook event page can be found here where you can reserve tickets. But, you’d better act fast because I’m told they go quickly.

Additionally, there is a pre-screening at 4:30 of the films that did not quite make the cut for the live orchestra to play. They are the product of months of hard work by talented collaborating artists of differing disciplines and deserving of viewing as well.

If you can’t make it because MN is a bit too far away, or have another reason (i.e. work and family obligations, or you couldn’t get tickets) I have even better news for you.

This event is live Streamed!!! Please make sure that you follow the Facebook page and click the “interested” button in order to get reminded of the event and receive a link to view it.

Additionally, if you got the Futurama reference in this post, we can be friends.

Hope to see you there!

Composer Kitchen News May 2019- letting the cats out of the bag

Hello Friends and Fellow Music fans,

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag.

Couch Potato kitty!

No- Not this one!

Not this one Either- though he will be important soon!

I am working on not one, but two big projects.

The First that I am excited to tell you about is a BRAND NEW Horn Solo. This one is going to be very special when it is done as it is being written in remembrance of a very special individual who made a positive difference at the Dana School for several people and was loved by many, as he loved all of his students: Mr. Bill Slocum. Bill Richter commissioned me to write a horn piece for his Master’s Degree Recital (where he is doing something fantastic and commissioning and premiering several new works from composers). This was the perfect opportunity to write this piece and pay my respects to this beautiful soul and gregarious spirit. There are other reasons why this is going to be an extra special piece and I promise to post more about it at a later date. For now, here is a preview video of the first bit as I’ m working on it.

Next, I am participating in the MnKino Film Fest again this year. It is this fantastic event (that I missed last year thanks to Snowmageddon) where composers are paired with independent film makers and you make a film together. The added bonus is that live musicians play the score to the film at the premier.

Fortunately, I was paired with the infamous Jason Schumaker and he is kindly allowing me to bask in his awesomeness (seriously though, he is a very humble and kind individual in addition to being extremely talented). I encourage you to check out some of his films on his website (LINK)

At this point, we don’t know if our film will get chosen to be screened, but, I can tell you that there’s going to be a Birthday party, Human Fire, a giant cat (yes the one in the above picture) and some crazy 12 tone music action (and other music filled awesomeness). Heck, we don’t even know what it’s going to be exactly, except for AWESOMESAUCE of course!

Shot of the cast and crew of this film in progress.
I am not in this picture because my car died on the day of filming, but I hope it inspires you to go to the film fest on July 20th.

Till Next time,

Happy Musicing!

Fading Into Shadows:A neat Experience with a Future Film Composer (from 2014)

DISCLAIMER* this is a past post from 2014 that failed to get published until now for various reasons. I am sharing this now because it was an awesome experience  and goes tho show that you don’t  necessarily need to go to a large school to do a project like this. Sometimes it just takes a little extra persistence and creativity.

For this blog Post I have invited  fellow YSU Alum, professional Sound Engineer and now Film Composer,  Ryan Cunningham to co author. Last January (2014), Ryan was looking for people to play for this awesome Sr. project Idea that, to my knowledge, had not been attempted at Dana until he had done it this past November. He and his brother, Barry Cunningham, had produced an independent film and he (Ryan) had written the music. Ryan was using the opportunity to combine all of his skills that he had learned as an Undergrad by having us perform the score live (as if we were at a professional scoring session), record it and balance it, then set it to the film for all to watch in the second half of the recital.

Now I will let Ryan  Take the stage  and Tell us a little bit about the process in creating this Project and all of the work that went into it.

Well, the capstone for the recording program at YSU is called the “Senior Project”.The only requirements that the instructor, Jack Ciarnello, puts forth for it is that it 1.) It be something that has not been done in the last 5 years or more and 2.) Be something that you’re extremely passionate about. The school of music requires that it pool all your knowledge of recording from your coursework and that it be presented in a recital setting.

Film, TV, and game music is something that I’m extremely passionate about. More than two-thirds of my iTunes library consist of score music from all 3 genres. I decided that I wanted to do something related to that because Music Recording and Sound Engineering aren’t that too far displaced from Screen Scoring. But, I had nothing original to score to. My brother Barry is a graduate assistant at the University of New Orleans and I decided we should film a short film to give us both experience and an addition to our work reel in our respective fields. Over the course of November and December 2013 we filmed a short film in the Youngstown area. It’s called “Fading Into Shadows”.

After Barry finally got done editing it, I wrote the score in about two to three weeks. During that time I listened to tracks from various TV, film, and video game sources to try and draw inspiration for the music. I didn’t want it to sound like those sources but, hey, it was my first scoring project and I needed to start somewhere. I also posted flyers and contacted people about playing in the ensemble. I would have liked to have a full chamber orchestra ensemble but sadly, that was not to be. Finally, when the music was completed and everyone recruited, the ensemble began having rehearsals in the spring ’14 semester.

We had to push the performance to November ’14 because of an oversight in scheduling for the recital. We lost some members due to this but we gained new members as eager to participate in such a rare and exciting project. the one thing i was excruciatingly frustrated by was how few string players volunteered for the project. That’s not to make any insinuations about the instrument or anything, but everyone seemed to busy or not willing to take a “gratis” gig. I obviously couldn’t pay them but was more than willing to offer my services as a recording engineer for any recitals they might want/need recorded. It was also extremely difficult to try and get some members to show up to rehearsal. I suppose I could’ve sent out reminder texts to remind people to show up. They’re not getting paid to play so it should have been on me to be responsible. At any of given time i could have just threw it all out the window and say “screw it” but I didn’t. I kept going because I am confidant that is what i want to do for the rest of my professional life.

I’ll admit that it was hard on my ego and my confidence. I wasn’t exactly happy when I had to put it off for a semester and replace some members. All kinds of thoughts were going through my head about it.:

“I have to do this over again. I’m gunna lose more people cuz they’ll see me as a schmuck that can’t hack it. I’m never gunna graduate. Why do I SUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKKK?! ”

But I persevered.

In the recital, I conducted the music for the scenes, pieced some together with the audio/video, and played it for the audience (after the intermission). Two months later, the video has been successfully completed and uploaded to YouTube.

All in all, it’s one of my fondest and proudest musical achievements. It proves to me that when the going gets tough and you feel like life’s beating you to your knees, that isn’t when you give up. It’s when you rise up and get the job done that you can finally see whether or not it was really worth it.

At this point I will take over and tell you a little bit about what it was like from the performance standpoint.:

Performing on this recital was a completely new experience for most of us involved. We received sheet music for cues.It was similar to the way that music is in musical pits in that you may have pieces with a long tacit and maybe a hit every once in awhile. However, instead of accompanying actors on a stage, you were accompanying actors on a screen and, being prerecorded, there was less flexibility for tempo fluctuations. We began the whole process by watching the film sans  live cues to get a picture of the final project. . Ryan conducted the cues wearing headphones and we took several takes to get it just right, being that this was such a new experience for all of us.

My first reaction to the music itself was that of amazement and intrigue. This was my first experience really hearing Ryan’s music and loved the darkness and neo-tonal aspects of his score. It was not quite what I expected given his mellow yet fun personality, but I nonetheless enjoyed it and felt that it accompanied Barry’s film quite well. I was also impressed at how well the film and project were put together, despite  the few difficulties that Ryan discussed prior.Also, it was awesome how the recital was similar to demoing a live recording session for a film to the public, as we played the cues (which were recorded on site) and Ryan then mixed them into the film. After the Intermission, we watched the final  result of the project.

I hope that reading about this project might inspire other composers to team with other musicians and people from other disciplines and think outside the box to come up with new types of projects. Overall, it was a great experience for all involved and one I won’t soon forget.

EDIT as of 11/2016: Ryan would like to note that he will be re-scoring the film in the future.  A few years have passed  since this project wrapped up and he has improved as a composer and feels, along with Barry, that the score could fit the film a bit better (especially since there is no longer a looming graduation deadline).

Additionally, If you are interested in seeing the film in its current incarnation, you can view it here.