Texas Tech University

SWE Receives Glowing Praise for Midwest Performance

Shannon Sears

January 23, 2019

Texas Tech University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Midwest Conference, Chicago, IL 2018

In December 2018, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, IL.

The Symphonic Wind Ensemble at the Texas Tech School of Music has enjoyed an extraordinary year, with invited performances, the presentation of world premieres, consistently packed audiences, and exciting opportunities to share the magic and talent of our incredible young musicians. 2018 ended on a high note, as the Symphonic Wind Ensemble was selected as the grand finale concert to close the 73rd Midwest Clinic, an event which attracted 18,000 teachers, composers, performers, and industry from all over the world.

The ensemble traveled to Chicago where they performed with guest artists John Hagstrom (trumpet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and H. Robert Reynolds (USC principal wind ensemble conductor and Director of Bands emeritus from the University of Michigan). The performance was rewarded with a prolonged standing ovation, and praise continued to pour in long after the conclusion of the Midwest Clinic. Below you'll find some highlights of the response generated by the ensemble's performance and presence at Midwest. Congratulations to Dr. Sarah McKoin and all the members of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble for this incredible achievement!

Texas Tech University School of Music Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Midwest Clinic, 2018

"The beauty, sensitivity, dynamic control and absolutely tremendous musicianship was astounding. I have never heard a better live performance of a University ensemble ever! I have been attending the Midwest Clinic for 35 straight years and I have to say your group's performance is certainly one of the highlights I will always cherish!"
- Theo Vernon, Director of Bands, Grissom High School Band

"I was in attendance at your thrilling concert at Midwest. What a tremendous musical experience you provided the audience! Seldom have I seen so many people moved by the emotional content of the selections you chose to perform. I could not let the opportunity pass without expressing my grateful thanks for a memorable performance."
- Gary Wells, Phi Beta Mu, Secretary/Treasurer, Texas Bandmasters Hall of Fame

"I wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I enjoyed your concert on the final Saturday performance of Midwest this past year. I was so moved by the whole performance. So many times, groups at Midwest are well-rehearsed (of course), but your ensemble was clearly well-rehearsed, musical, passionate and enjoying the experience. It was so nice to hear the final performance be something to remember - something that was truly emotionally meaningful to all. Thank you."
- Elizabeth B. Peterson, Associate Director of Bands, University of Illinois

Texas Tech University School of Music Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Midwest Clinic, 2018

"I just wanted to send you and your ensemble a message of congratulations and gratitude regarding your performance at Midwest this year. I was not only moved by the performance, but appreciated the diversity and effort put into the programming. Thank you and bravo tutti!"
- Ryan Caloud, Waunakee High School

"It's been several hours, but I'm still processing everything that I took in at the Texas Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert this afternoon. It goes without saying that all of the pieces were done incredibly well. Grainger's "Colonial Song" was easily the best I have ever heard. Matthew Maslanka's tribute to his father in the 10th symphony was a truly intimate look into their relationship which really tugged at my heart strings. And, I'm inspired to look into Adam Schoenberg's music more deeply.

But, the piece that REALLY got me was. "Into the Silent Land" by Steve Danyew. Those that know me also know that when I go to concerts, hard as I try, it's really hard for me to listen without my conductor ears. This piece had me from the very beginning and held onto me the WHOLE time, but when that ending happened, I was absolutely sobbing. I can say, honestly, that I have never -ever- had that kind of visceral reaction to a piece before. In fact, I don't even remember the Sousa march that followed it, because I was still in the moment of the previous work. Thank you Steve for writing such a powerful piece, and thank you Sarah McKoin for sharing it with us. This was an absolutely stunning concert.

Wow. Just, wow."
- Dr. Jon Noworyta, Conductor of Wind and Orchestra, University of Indianapolis

Texas Tech University School of Music Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Midwest Clinic, 2018

"It was an absolute pleasure to work with you and your students. You all truly found the heart of the music and committed to it with your whole souls. I look forward to many more years of connected, powerful music making."
- Matthew Maslanka, son and co-composer of David Maslanka's Symphony 10

"As a member of the Board of Directors of the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic, it was my privilege to serve as liaison to the Texas Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble as they prepared for performance at the 2018 Midwest Clinic.

Dr. McKoin's performance provided the grand finale for this year's conference at which there were over 18,000 in attendance. My purpose in writing is to share with you the overwhelmingly positive response we have received about the Texas Tech Concert. The student musicians were incredibly well-prepared; the choice of wind literature and flow of the concert was superb, and the artistry displayed on the podium by Dr. McKoin was truly outstanding. The entire concert made an indelibly strong statement about the quality of music-making at your institution. Dr. McKoin's leadership and musical sensitivity made this a concert that those in attendance will not soon forget. She touched the musical soul in a most profound manner.

In a world where (to borrow from Salieri) there are "too many notes," Sarah McKoin and her musicians explored that rare landscape between the notes in order to create a profoundly expressive and memorable performance. Sarah also provided a much-needed role model for the many young ladies in the audience who aspire to become consummate music educators, and regrettably, still have few female role models at the university level.

Thank you for your support of this outstanding ensemble, and their conductor. This performance truly placed Sarah McKoin and the Texas Tech Wind Ensemble among the finest conductors and wind ensembles in our profession."
- Dr. Paula A. Crider, Professor Emerita, The University of Texas

Texas Tech University School of Music Symphonic Wind Ensemble at Midwest Clinic, 2018