Wind Ensemble remembers Dr. Myron Moss
Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter –
This past Thursday, the Southern Connecticut State University Wind Ensemble performed a concert In Memoriam: A Tribute to Dr. Myron Moss. Moss passed away July 2, 2012. Moss was the chair of the Southern music department and director of Southern’s various bands from 1996 to 2006 before joining the Drexel University music department, as the university’s director of music.
Assistant professor Walter Stutzman described what Moss meant to all those that had the pleasure to know and work with him, Moss was everyone’s conductor, colleague, teacher, and friend, Stutzman said.
The evening’s program began with a somber tone in the first half before ending on a more uplifting note.
The band began with American composer Mark Camphouse’s In Memoriam, which Stutzman described as alternately dissonant and consonant thematically, and is drawn from Russian Orthodox religious worship arrangements.
Following In Memoriam was Anthony Iannaccone’s After a Gentle Rain; a two part composition which the composer depicted as a study in contrast. The first part The Dark Green Glistens with Old Reflections is solemn while the second part Sparkling Air Bursts with Dancing Sunlight is much brighter, and were the wind ensemble’s concert became more inspiring and upbeat.
Next the band performed Gabriel Faure’s Chant Funeraire, a 1921 composition that premiered at the centennial ceremony of Napoleon’s death. Band director Craig Hlavac said that the arrangement the band played was a 2004 composition Moss orchestrated for wind ensemble.
Stutzman said it was a piece that showed Moss’s understanding of the sonic palette of a symphonic band. Following Chant Funeraire, Hlavac and the wind ensemble performed Triumphal March. Hlavac said this was an important piece to Moss.
“The piece was written by Clarence Cameron White,” Hlavac said, “an African-American composer, for which Mike [Moss] was a champion of.”
The original piece was performed in 1927 but this working was lost, and the arrangement the wind ensemble performed was created by Jack Stamp and was edited by Moss, Hlavac said.
The Stamp/Moss arrangement was first publicly performed by the Southern Symphonic Band on March 20, 2003 under Moss’s direction. The wind ensemble played Gustav Holst’s three part First Suite in E-flat for Military Band and John Philip Sousa’s march Gallant Seventh. The wind ensemble played a suite and a march in honor of Moss’s symphonic band repertoire. To close the concert, the wind ensemble performed Splanky, a Neil Hefti big band piece that was originally commissioned for Count Basie’s band in 1958. Stutzman said jazz was important to Moss.
“Mike always insured that jazz always had a place in Southern’s music making,” he said.
In between the selected pieces, members of the wind ensemble who knew Moss shared their thoughts on their friend. Band member Dori Stern reminisced about Moss’s strong belief in music and how he always pushed the band to find every nuance in the musical pieces the band performed.
“I owe him a lot,” Stern said. “I miss him and I regret that I’m not going to play with him again.”
Stutzman said Moss’s teaching effort was second to none.
“He was such a wonderful teacher,” Stutzman said. “He knew when to let go, he knew when to intervene, and he did it all with love.”
Southern librarian Kelly Perry said when she first transferred to SCSU she asked Moss about borrowing a saxophone to play in her spare time, and Moss invited her to join the band, where she’s been playing since.
“He was a good guy,” Perry said. “Always approachable and warm. I miss him.”
Hlavac summed up the event for the every one of Moss’s friends and colleagues in attendance.
“It’s a bittersweet evening for us,” Hlavac said.