Every piece of music has a composer, and students of Creston Community School District band classes had the opportunity to meet the man behind ‘Vision’, an original composition commissioned by the CCHS band.
Dr. Thomas Bough, composer and director of bands at Northern Illinois University, visited the Creston Community High School band class Monday morning to interact with students and witness them perform the piece.
“He and I have been friends since we were 19-years-old,” said CCHS band director Mike Peters.
Peters and Bough first met as members of Phantom Regiment, a drum and bugle corps out of Rockford, Illinois.
“He’s originally from southern Missouri, and I’m from Nebraska, so how the heck we met in Illinois is just chance,” said Peters.
Bough is now an accomplished composer, with works published by Alfred Publications, Cimarron Music and GPG Publications.
“He is an amazing composer,” said Peters. “Right now, he is doing a lot of clinics and traveling around the country.”
With Peters entering his 25th year of teaching at CCHS, he decided he wanted to do something special.
“The Conover Grant became available, so I decided to use those funds to commission a work,” said Peters. “This was a couple years ago. I had to get on his list early. About 18 months ago, we started talking about it more, and last summer we got into details.”
Peters wanted the piece no later than this January, and Bough delivered right before Christmas. The two worked through any changes the piece needed over the last two months.
“The piece is called ‘Vision,’” said Peters. “I’ve been in the midst, for a while, of writing a book about teaching and my vision. I sent Bough a chapter titled ‘Game Changer,’ which was about things that changed me as a teacher: What I wanted to do with my life, what I thought wanted when I was a young teacher, things that happened in my life that changed what I really wanted to do and what my vision was for teaching.”
Bough based the piece off of this idea, not necessarily telling the story but encompassing the over all feeling.
“Once we got that done with, I told him ‘Hey, I would really love if you came and talked to the kids about it, too, and worked them with the piece,” said Peters. “What was interesting about that is the Creston Booster Club and the Yamaha Corporation helped fund to get him here.”
Bough came from Chicago to work with the students and the whole band for two hours. Peters said that after the fact, he noticed an improvement in playing from individual students.
“He then did a whole brass clinic, since he’s a tuba artist for Yamaha,” said Peters. “Both the high school and middle school brass players did stuff on breathing and tone production. Some of my high school kids, when they left were like, ‘Oh, it makes sense.’”
The original piece will be premiered by the Creston Community High School Band, and later will be performed by Bough’s band at Northern Illinois University, where it will then have the potential to be sent in for publication.
“It would be publicized and be performed by bands all over the world,” said Peters. “And that piece was originally commissioned for Creston High School, so it’s cool for those kids in that ensemble to be able to say ‘We were the first ones to get to play this.’”
‘Vision’ will be premiered at the upcoming concert 7 p.m. March 9 at the Creston Community High School auditorium.