(Level III) Union - An original composition inspired by the wedding of Romeo and Juliet
(part of the University of Northern Colorado's Romeo and Juliet
Project). The wedding of Romeo and Juliet had to be a secretive and intimate one because of the long-standing feud between their families. The repetitive 8th-note figure that recurs throughout the piece gives the feeling of excitement that young lovers experience on their wedding day — the butterflies in the stomach. The Friar, stable and grounded, is represented by the bass melody that sings underneath the constant motion above. The star-crossed lovers are too blinded by their love for each other to heed the Friar’s warnings of what might come. Romeo (voiced in this piece by the solo trombone) and Juliet (voiced by the solo alto saxophone) each profess their love, and the music builds to a climax as they are united in marriage. The powerful chords in the trombones and the rhythm section burst forth with joy against the backdrop of the repetitive figure. In that moment, nothing else on earth matters to Romeo and Juliet, and nothing could possibly change the way they feel. The music returns to a place of intimacy, and the piece ends with the newlyweds celebrating their marriage, oblivious of the trouble that awaits them.
Solos for trombone 1 and alto 1. The wordless vocals really
make this chart extra special.
Mike's website https://colossusjazz.bandcamp.com/track/west-point
View all charts by Mike Conrad
MIKE CONRAD is a composer, improviser, and teacher from Iowa. He
graduated with a Master’s degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging from
the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Bill Dobbins and
played lead trombone in the Eastman Jazz Ensemble. Conrad
has been recognized for his arranging and composing with four ASCAP Herb
Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards and five Downbeat Student Music
Awards, as well as awards from the American Society of Music Arrangers
and Composers and Ithaca College’s Jazz Composition
Contest. He has been commissioned by several organizations such as the
West Point Army Jazz Knights, Excelsior Charter Schools, and the New
York Youth Symphony Jazz Band. His string quartet version of The Genesee
was performed as part of Barack Obama’s Inauguration
in Washington, D.C. in January 2013. Recently, Conrad was invited to
Trossingen, Germany for the premiere of a piece he wrote for the
BuJazzO’s 2016 Jazz Composition Contest.
From 2013 to 2015, Conrad was the Head Band Director at West High School
in Waterloo, IA where he directed the Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensembles
and taught Music Theory and Jazz Improvisation. He also led his own
large jazz ensemble called COLOSSUS and is currently
leading and writing for a unique 15-piece group called the All Angles
Orchestra. A highly sought-after performer, Conrad enjoys playing
creative improvised music on both trombone and piano, and continues to
come up with fresh and exciting works for a wide variety
of ensembles. Conrad is happy to be a Teaching Assistant at the
University of Northern Colorado where he is in the process of completing
his Doctorate in Jazz Studies.