Grade 5 (3:38)
Reverence and Celebration
This piece was written to commemorate the retirement of Dr. A.G. “Mack” McGrannahan, III in 2014 from the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. McGrannahan served as Director of Bands for 39 years. Spanning that time, his duties included conducting the wind ensemble, trombone choir and community wind symphony, as well as periods directing the marching band and jazz lab band. He taught various courses in conducting and methods, while also maintaining a sizable low brass studio. He has been consistently active as a trombonist in the local community, served as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States and was the director of the Lake Tahoe Music camp for over 20 years. He is very active in several professional organizations such as Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and the College Band Directors National Association, and he is a member of the exclusive and esteemed American Bandmasters Association. As illustrated in this partial list of his professional endeavors, Dr. McGrannahan has touched the lives of thousands of students, musicians and colleagues. He is among the hardest-working people in the world of music education. In my estimation, he’s a bit of an “energizer bunny” as he never seems to stop. He is always striving to provide a high-caliber musical experience to all he encounters.
I have known “Dr. Mack” (as he’s affectionately and respectfully known) since I was in high school when he traveled several hours to my hometown to present my band with the Sudler Shield and provide a clinic. His fire and passion for excellence was obvious as he conducted our band and helped us improve our performance. We reconnected several years later when I studied Conducting at UNR and served as his graduate teaching assistant for the University bands. During that time, we grew very close and my respect for him continued to grow immensely. I watched in awe as he put in 12-18 hour days, often 6-7 days per week, and he loved every minute of it. This was a man I have learned endlessly from. He takes credit as the matchmaker for my marriage (for which I am eternally indebted) and is like a grandfather to my children. Mack and I now enjoy a dear friendship, supplemented by a mutual collegial respect. Upon hearing of his retirement, I was immediately inspired to compose a piece to commemorate his service and the milestone of his retirement. I have no doubt that his years of service are not finished, simply shifting into a different realm.
Dr. McGrannahan is quite fond of Copland’s Appalachian Spring, so I utilized fragments of material from one of the famous and lively movements of Copland’s work to create a new piece for wind band. It is a simple A-B-A form with a coda. The piece represents the energy and sincerity he brought to his career each and every day and communicates the impact he has had on the lives he has touched.