This Friday, August 14, 2020, Brothers Kevin Day and Chad “Sir Wick” Hughes will have their works premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Low Brass Quartet as part of the Tanglewood Chamber Festival. Due to COVID-19, the traditional outdoor summer concert festival has been transformed to adapt to the virtual world. The festival includes both free-of-charge archival offerings as well as newly created content available for purchase.
Brother Kevin Day, a young and rising star in the music composition world, describes Ignition, the work being premiered, as “a high-octane and intense piece that depicts racing at high speeds.” When the Boston Symphony Orchestra called him to write a piece for low brass, he decided to adapt this work from a previous commission by James Jackson III for the Hartt School Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble back in 2018. The adaption reworked several passages, but the concept of the original piece is still there. “I think the quartet version is a little bit more polished, and I hope audiences will enjoy this adaptation,” says Day.
Brother Chad Hughes was presented with the opportunity to write for the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Low Brass Quartet after being introduced to the Principal Tubist and fellow Sinfonian, Mike Roylance. With the notion that his work would be premiered in Boston, the home of the New England Conservatory where Phi Mu Alpha was founded, Brother Hughes decided to write Tribute to Sinfonia. The work is inspired by Sinfonia Hymn (Let Each Man Take His Lot and Place), a song commonly performed by brothers of the Fraternity.
Chad’s composition has further connections to the Fraternity than some may realize. The Boston Symphony Orchestra was founded by businessman, philanthropist, and fellow Sinfonian Henry Lee Higginson in 1881. In 1885, the establishment of The Boston Pops Orchestra, a related ensemble that was founded to present Henry’s wish to have “concerts of a lighter kind of music.”
Brother Arthur Fiedler (Delta Omicron Chapter – Boston University – 1950) was the conductor who did the most to increase the fame of the Boston Pops Orchestra, over his tenure from 1930 to 1979. He was also the first American-born musician to lead the orchestra, and he established the Boston Pops as a national icon.
Brother Hughes has loved the orchestra since he was a kid. “Hearing the Boston Symphony was my favorite thing ever. I would sit as a kid next to my sister, loving the sound of the orchestra.” Hughes feels “humbled by this opportunity,” and calls it a “blessing.”
Additional details about the performance can be found by clicking HERE.
Congratulations on this outstanding achievement, Brothers!
Composer, Chad Hughes
Epsilon Chapter – 1995
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Dr. Chad E. Hughes, Director of Bands at Morehouse College, was born in Detroit, Michigan, graduating from Cass Technical High School. He studied composition under James Aikman, Erik Santos, Bright Sheng, Curtis Curtis-Smith, Dinos Constantinides, Craig Weston, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. His compositions and arrangements have been premiered and performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Indianapolis Pops Symphony as well as by ensembles at Morehouse College, Graceland University, University of Memphis, University of Michigan, Alcorn State University, Bowling Green State University, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Clark Atlanta University, Baker University, and Montana State University.
Dr. Hughes has been commissioned by Weston Sprott, Acting Principal Trombonist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Demondrae Thurman, Associate Professor of Low Brass at Samford University, Everett Martin of Prince Georges County Public Schools, and Kenneth Thompkins, Principal Trombonist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. As an adjudicator and clinician, Hughes has been active in the states of Michigan, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kansas.
As a trombonist, Hughes has performed with The Temptations, Martha Reeves, Dwele, Tia Fuller, Aretha Franklin, and Marcus Belgrave.
Throughout his career, Hughes has been influenced by his Fraternity Brothers. Dr. Jason Berckley (Epsilon – 1995) and Dr. William Tonissen (Epsilon – 1997) pushed him to finish some of his compositional works, which resulted in Hughes’s soundtrack, A Tale of Two Fools. He also credits Brothers Damien Crutcher (Gamma Epsilon – 1987), Dr. Armand Hall (Epsilon Chapter – 1999), Cozbia Smith, III (Eta Xi – 2000), James “Dean” Sexton (Eta Xi -1984), Robert Yancy (Epsilon – 1995), Kristoph Schneider (Epsilon – 1999) and Mark Croft (Eta Xi – 1979) as guiding and supportive influences on his career and music. Hughes also attributes Dr. James Aikman (Alpha Sigma -1979) as the most influential person in his compositional development.
Composer, Kevin Day
Delta Mu Chapter – 2018
Texas Christian University
Kevin Day is a composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, and native of Arlington, Texas. Day is currently attending the University of Georgia working on his Master of Music in Music Composition Degree. He currently studies with composer Peter Van Zandt Lane and conductor Cynthia Johnston Turner. Day received his Bachelor of Music Performance Degree from Texas Christian University (TCU), where he studied composition with Neil Anderson-Himmelspach and Euphonium/Tuba with Richard Murrow (Mu Nu – 1970). He has also worked with and has been mentored by distinguished composers Gabriela Lena Frank, Frank Ticheli (Alpha Alpha – 2009), John Mackey (Theta Pi – 2017), William Owens, Julie Giroux, Marcos Balter, Anthony Cheung, Matthew Evan Taylor, and Valerie Coleman.
A winner of the BMI Student Composer Award, Day has written over 150 compositions and has received numerous performances across the U.S., Austria, Australia, Taiwan, and South Africa, as well as commissions for a wide variety of new works. In 2020, his works were debuted at Carnegie Hall, as apart of the New York Wind Band Festival. He has also been a finalist for the William Revelli (Alpha Lambda – 1935) Composition Contest, the ASCAP Morton Gould (Alpha Delta – 1947) Contest, a semi-finalist for the Alexander Zemlinsky International Composition Contest and the Detroit Symphony ACO Earshot Residency. Kevin Day currently serves as the Composer-In-Residence of the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra for their 2019-2021 seasons. His works are published through Murphy Music Press, Cimmaron Music, and Kevin Day Music.
Principal Tuba, Mike Roylance
Mu Eta Chapter – 1988
University of Central Florida
Mike Roylance is Principal Tuba with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where he occupies the Margaret and William C. Rousseau chair.
At Rollins College, in Winter Park, Fla., Roylance served on the faculty conducting the brass ensemble and directing the Pep Band. Roylance was also the professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of Central Florida.
After relocating to Chicago, Roylance performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He also served as the principal tubist with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the 2001-02 season.
Prior to that, Roylance spent 15 years as a freelance musician and teacher in Orlando, Fla. He performed on tuba and electric bass in a wide genre of ensembles such as orchestras, chamber groups, Dixieland bands, big bands, and Broadway shows. He was a member of Walt Disney World’s “Future Corps” and principal tubist with the Walt Disney World Orchestra. Roylance was also a member of Rosie O’Grady’s Dixie-Land Jazz Band.
His career also includes performances in Europe and Japan. While in Japan, he performed as a soloist and taught masterclasses. His European performances have included the Classical Festival Orchestra in Vienna, Austria, and with the Sam Rivers Rivbea Jazz Orchestra in Portugal.
Brother Roylance earned his B.A. from Rollins College, he studied with former BSO Tubist Chester Schmitz as well as University of Miami professor Connie Weldone, James Jenkins (Jacksonville Symphony, Eta Omega Chapter – 2014), Bob Tucci (Bavarian State Opera), Gene Pokorny (Chicago Symphony), and Floyd Cooley (San Francisco Symphony, retired).
BSO Founder, Henry Lee Higginson
Alpha Alpha Chapter – 1915
Phi Mu Alpha National Honorary
Henry Lee Higginson is best known for founding the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1881. He was an amateur musician, Civil War veteran, banker, Harvard benefactor, and philanthropist.
Henry worked diligently to set an example for other businessmen to establish a tradition of generosity towards others, especially towards those who were less fortunate. He would not tolerate any deviance from the high standards he set by the professionals he engaged, and as a veteran and survivor of the Civil War who lost many friends to the war, he firmly believed that those who had survived had a moral obligation to make America a better country, which meant creating better cultural institutions.
Higginson was very passionate in his belief that we all must live according to high ideals. In each of his personal and professional pursuits, he approached them with an “active and unceasing thought of and work for others.” When he created the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it was with the idea that he wanted to “give orchestral concerts of the best attainable character and quality at a price which should admit anyone and everyone likely to care for such things.”
Brother Higginson funded the BSO for 37 years. He also sponsored the education of many students, supported higher education for women, founded the Morristown School in New Jersey, helped to establish the Harvard School of Business in 1908, participated in the first transcontinental telephone call in 1915, and was initiated into Phi Mu Alpha in 1915.
In 1919, shortly before his 85th birthday, Brother Higginson passed away. He was regarded by friends and associates as being “a man of the world… nevertheless wholly without sophistication… He had known pain and sorrow, but he kept unspoiled… a zest for life, the heart of youth, and the gift for friendship.”