August 11, 2006
I’m back from the post office, where I just mailed all of my materials for consideration on the next Texas UIL “Prescribed Music List.” For those who don’t know, the state of Texas has a big list of music — band music, orchestra music, solo and ensemble music — and schools can choose any of the music on The List to perform at Solo & Ensemble contest each year. My understanding is that schools can play what they want during the year within their own school, but performing it at “Contest” requires that it either be on this list, or that special permission be granted on a piece-by-piece basis. Schools are simply more likely to play something in the first place if they have the option of also playing it at the contest.
Last year, Grapevine High School — consortium member for “Turning” — applied for special permission to perform “Redline Tango” at their area contest. That request went before the UIL board, they voted, and it was determined that Grapevine was allowed to perform it — but only Grapevine. See, the UIL board has several options when a school makes a special request like that. They can say no, they can say yes — but just for you and just once, or they can say yes and add the piece to the Supplemental List, meaning that it’s basically added officially to The List. “Redline Tango” was only approved as a one-off, meaning that anybody who wanted to play it this year at contest had to again apply for special permission.
The good news is that every four years, The List is redone, and right now is when the committee is going through materials to decide what will go on the next list. I sent in four pieces — “Redline Tango,” “Strange Humors,” and “Turbine,” all for wind ensemble, and “Mass” for percussion ensemble. The whole process ended up being pretty expensive. All members of the committee are to receive a package with each score and a recording, which meant making eight copies of each of the three band pieces (but fortunately only one copy of the percussion ensemble piece). I put everything on nice, heavy paper, which added a considerable surcharge. (My thinking on that is that even though I’m self-published, the materials need to look good — and “legit” — not like I’m selling them out of my garage.) With binding, the copying bill was $150, plus $80 for postage.
Nearly $250 is a chunk of change for photocopying and postage, but if even one piece ends up on The List, it opens up a lot of performance (that is, rental/sale) opportunities. That’s a big “if,” for sure, but it’s like the lottery. You can’t win if you don’t play.
In other news… It looks like Jerry Junkin is doing “Redline Tango” at the University of Texas on, of all days, October 1 — my birthday. I’d sure love to attend that concert. A few days later, Sarah McKoin is doing “Turbine” at Texas Tech, and there is a chance I’ll be at that one. That’d be fun. Well, except for the travel. Who would have guessed that flying was going to be even less-pleasant this fall than it has been?