rld premiere of a work commissioned by the MAFB entitled Sapphire. This composition, by MAFB Artistic Director Dr. Lee Hartman, was partially funded with a grant from the JSEF. Additional funds were raised from 34 donors to a Kickstarter online campaign.
Describing the concert, Executive Director and trumpet player James Henry had this to say: “Mid America Freedom Band's 10th Anniversary concert was a truly champagne-worthy occasion with a greatly varied musical display ranging from the intimate and glorious with Robert Jager’s To Music; to the lively and light-spirited with several popular tunes released 10 years prior; to the intellectually stimulating with Lee Hartman’s Sapphire, the composition of which employs subtle techniques celebrating MAFB; to the proud and patriotic, celebrating our openly gay veterans with Armed Forces Salute.
Focusing specifically on the world premiere of Sapphire, oboist Stacy Davidson offered that “Sapphire reflects the diversity and camaraderie within the Mid America Freedom Band. Sapphires are a form of the mineral corundum, and these stones are naturally found in every shade of the rainbow. Like gemstones, each of Sapphire’s four movements is multifaceted, echoing the diverse range of ages, occupations, musical backgrounds, gender identities, and romantic preferences of the band members. Dr. Hartman crafted this work specifically for the Mid America Freedom Band, going so far as to weave the band members’ names in musical code within the piece. The musical legacy of Sapphire and the band it was commissioned for will live on far into the future, inspiring other composers and musicians to proudly and boldly write, perform, and nurture a sense of community.”
The composer's program notes for Sapphire contain the following excerpts:
To listen to the first movement of Sapphire, click HERE.
To listen to the last movement of Sapphire, click HERE.
Based on its successful experience with JSEF, the Mid America Freedom Band is giving serious consideration to raising additional funds locally for the purpose of endowing them under JSEF management. This will help assure the long-term future of this important LGBT arts organization.
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