Life Update- Summer 2021 Recap

Just a heads up- the TLDR version for this is going to be: I’ve been VERY busy.

If you stick to the end, Great! Thank you!

If not and you decide to move on, that is ok too. Thank you for clicking and helping the algorithm !

So, what have I been up to this Summer?


  1. I took a 2 week trip/ honeymoon around Minnesota and Wisconsin with my Husband.

We went all over Minnesota and Wisconsin and did the low cost things that most people who actually live here seldom take time to go do. Some highlights were Duluth, Splitrock Lighthouse, Itasca State Park, Gooseberry Falls, The International Wolf Center In Ely, Crane Center in Baraboo, and Eagle Center in Wabasha, The House on the Rock, Seeing friends and Family in Lacrosse and Baraboo, and Axe Throwing in The Dells. Also, Pantsless Paul Bunion- Seriously- He has no pants!……. Probably No Chill either…. Or maybe he does?!?

2 I’m Back to In person Teaching and have actively been trying to recruit Students.

If you know anyone interested in Studying Piano, Trombone, Composition or Music Theory, please send them my way!

I’ve also been spending time lesson planning and creating videos for students to play along to.

3) I’ve been working on Lots of Projects:

  • This last week, I was finishing the edits on the first incarnation of Painless Parker’s Giant Bucket of Teeth. Now I’m looking for a couple of bands to read through it and receive some feedback before officially releasing it into the world.
  • I’m also working on wrapping up the Mill Creek Concerto Edits….Finally!
  • Finished Edits for The MnKino Film Score Fest. By the Way , if you are reading this before September 4th, and will be in the St. Paul Minneapolis area, you should come. It’s going to be fun.
  • I’ve been working a private editing project….I can’t say much but it has a lot of fun campfire songs in it!

4) I participated in a new to me composition festival

Check out this post on ZFest to see what I did

5) I’ve been Composing!

I only have some sketches at this point but with the busy summer wrapping up, I should hopefully have the time to get more things done!

6) I’ve been creating content.

On my Facebook page, I’m posting a memory a week on #ThrowbackThursday and a piece of mine that is connected to it. I’ll also be combining these into a recap at the end of the month on this blog. Let’s see how long this lasts.

I’m also working on being more active on SM to get out there in general.

7) I’ve been in talks to get my music played more.

It looks like I’ll be working with Calypsus Brass a bit more in the future! Stay tuned for details.

8) I’ve been learning new things!

This summer I made it a point to learn a few new things.

At Z fest I learned a bit more about how to use microphones and work with people across the country. I’ve also been making more of a point to stay healthy and in that journey I’ve been learning how to properly lift barbells at the gym and I’m having a blast. Watch out world!

I’m also learning how to program using a music program called Chuck. It’s been interesting ūüôā

9) I got to be a Guest Clinician at YOUth Can Compose again!

10) I’m back to playing in some ensembles–YAY!

Check out the Twin Cities Brass Band website for concert info

I also went to a Swing Sisterhood Big Band Rehearsal and that was fun!

If you made it this far, again, Thank you for reading!

What’s New in the life of Sam?

Well, lots of things as a matter of fact. First of all, I applied to be accepted to a 12 day Summer Composition intensive in Indiana and….I GOT ACCEPTED!!! This is an awesome opportunity as I will get to study with professional composers such as Zae Munn, Michael Schelle, Kristin Kuster, ¬†Jay Batzner, ¬†and Joshua Marquez,¬†meet and network with other young composers who have¬†similar musical goals in mind, and learn some new techniques to broaden my horizons. I will also be working my tail off in the near future to save for this learning experience (though I will also be gratefully accepting donations so that I can justifiably afford to eat).

Secondly,I’ve recently heard back From Avguste Antonov concerning the upcoming CD with Cumulus Humilis on it and that is nearing it’s final stages. As a contributing composer to his Debut album, I am both honored and excited.

Thirdly, for your playing Pleasure (or agony), several new Scribbles and Doodles have been released. Please feel free to investigate these and if you wish to perform any of them, they are free of charge, though it would be appreciated if you would send a copy of any programs.If your instrument is not there, do not worry. It will likely make it on there in the near future. Also, any recommendations or requests for a new scribble are always welcome.

Fourthly, I wrote a new Band Piece! This one is very different from most other works I’ve produced as of yet due to its placid simplicity. It is called Reverence and was composed with a young or small band in mind. The profound Fraggle Rock quote from Cantus the Bard ” There is Movement in the stillness just as there is Music in the silence.” was the main inspiration for the mood of this piece (as well as the 2 night long bout of insomnia and boredom from not sleeping). I tried to Follow Steven Bryant’s advice that he gave to me during a very fortunate meeting at Midwest last December, which was to build off of a simple motive rather than be programmatic, and kept the lessons that were learned talking to music educators teachers about needs in repertoire and what would help their students in mind. Hopefully, I’ve succeeded…or at least come close.

Fifthly, life has been a whirlwind of musical performance meeting real life lately. A midst preparing to move out into an apartment¬†this summer and searching for¬†a new job (as sadly I must leave my library campus job when I graduate), life has had an interesting way of creating musical opportunities that present themselves to keep one busy. Since February, I’ve been singing with ¬†the Youngstown Trinity United Methodist Church ¬†on a regular basis (my first full time church choir gig since 2008), performing in several concerts (Trombone day, ¬†The C.P.E. Bach premiere, ¬†multiple recitals and others) writing essays, and working on Scribbles and Doodles to keep myself composing on a regular basis. Any spare time has been spent organizing, practicing and rehearsing groups for an upcoming recital.

Speaking of which, the planning for the Sr. Composition recital is well underway. This will take place April 25th  5pm at Trinity United Methodist Church in Youngstown. thanks to 23 willing Victims  musicians who graciously volunteered to play my music. Stay Tuned for an update on the program.



Update on Summer Vacation ’13 and Goal list

A while ago, I posted a blog entry which outlined my intended goals for the summer of 2013. With the Summer drawing to a close and the beginning of the last  year of my undergrad swiftly approaching, I feel that this is a good time to reflect on what I have done  and still need to accomplish before school starts.

Goal number one: Compose/arrange twenty minutes of music

Mission Acomplished! However, the pursuit of this goal had some mixed/unintended results.

1)Orchestrating the rest of Of Wizards and Dragons For Wind Ensemble-and in the process learning how to orchestrate- This piece is now about 65% done. In the process of playing with this piece and having received valuable guidance From Scott Pfitzinger this summer, I have learned so much about this process, but there is still so much that I want/ need to learn still. There are  so many possibilities that I want to exploit before releasing the final version.

2)Working on Music for The Adventure Path series, and hoping to write a blog post about it soon-More Music has been written. However, before I can post a blog entry, I must get permission and clearance from the producers. Development for the series is now in progress and it sounds as though it will be awesome when it’s done. If you are interested in learning more about the series,¬†click HERE for a link to their Facebook page.

3) Writing an accapella vocal piece per request of my teacher– This work is now in progress!

4) Correcting old scores, touching up Hoover’s Paradise,¬†and finishing my just for fun band arrangement of Ghostbusters– Hoover’s Paradise has been improved/ reworked ¬† (and will hopefully be premiered this School year!) However, I have yet ¬†to finish the rest of this goal¬†due to some of the pieces that have popped up. To Elaborate:

a) A¬† Fanfare that¬†I had hoped would¬†be played¬† sometime during a YSU Football game this season. It blends elements of YSU’s Alma Mater ( a melody from Brahms Symphony no 1) and the Fight Song. There is also an audience involvement cheer as well. At least¬†the experience of having written it will hopefully help prepare me for¬†if I ever¬†get a commission to write something akin to it in the future.

b) Characture, a woodwind quintet that I had begun in early spring has been expanded an completed (outside of the edits that are sure to appear in my lesson). The piece illustrates the situations and people that one may encounter on a daily basis.

c) A just for fun brass trio about ¬†cloud-sailing pirates. This has been put away for the time being but will likely be picked up on a day when ¬†the orchestration for¬†‘Dragons¬†isn’t flowing.

d)The Essay-UPDATE: due to a last minute situation with personnel, we were unable to perform it as planned. However, the professor has offered us the chance to come in and perform it in one of his fall classes. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned but I am elated that he is giving ¬†us this chance. I am currently in the process of negotiating a time/date for the performance. Also, if anything, the piece will be performed live at my upcoming senior ¬†composition recital (Date TBA).

Goal Number Two: Get as much trombone performance and practice in as possible

This goal is a never ending work in progress. Currently, I am working on the audition excerpts even more so after a lesson that turned simultaneously into  a confirmation that the work has been paying off and a wake up call that I need to learn the excerpts much better than I felt that I had them.

YACCB Trombones 2013 playing the National Anthem at the Scrappers baseball  game  August 11th.
YACCB Trombones 2013 playing the National Anthem at the Scrappers baseball game August 11th.

I feel that joining the YACCB for the summer was the best decision I made for improving my playing because of the ample performing opportunities and, the commitment that I had made gave me even more incentive to pick up my horn and practice. Also, as an added bonus, the Trombone section had the privilege of playing the Star Spangled Banner at ¬†a Scrappers baseball game this past Sunday, This is an opportunity I would have missed if I didn’t join.

Goal number Three: Learn something new

I have definitely accomplished this goal and then some. Camping at Pennsic was the best thing that I did for this.  During that wonderful week in the current middle ages, I was taught (rather unexpectedly) how to tell a story as people might have done back then (and told to stand up and do it myself- and I enjoyed it too), the history, identification and application of henna, tips for performance in front of an audience, the art of filk and folk songs of the SCA, and a host of other miscellaneous facts.

Also, I learned that:

Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family

Pirates and sailors  used limes, not usually oranges, to treat scurvy.

Pirates would use rum for a variety of things, most notably to sterilize water (or to drink instead of water because alcohol kills germs and was deemed safer than water) and to get a person who needed a limb amputated , possibly from gangrene, so drunk that he wouldn’t really care that he was ¬†in immense pain.

There is a proper method to choosing and tying a leather belt.

The Ghostbusters theme matches the medieval dance “Black Nag”.

Celtic/ Indian history fascinates me.

Goal number Four: Make sure that I spend some time with Friends every week and do something non music related with them (at least 3 hours per week).

I feel that I have done a good job in holding this goal up. Also, in keeping with learning something new as well, I have begun taking  weekly driving lessons.

Now my new goals to accomplish before I run out of time are to send out the rest of my letters, get the rest of the portfolio ready to send out, and to get some new music posted to the site for some feedback.