Trills, Spills, Chills, and THRILLS!

7:30PM Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022
Mitchell Hall Theatre

Trills, Spills, Chills, and THRILLS!

Music for life’s most significant moments

UCO Wind Symphony
Dr. Brian Lamb, conductor
Jaleesa Beavers, soprano
Da’Kneisha Nikoyle Blount, guest composer
Justin Noel Hall, guest composer


Wild Nights! (2007)
Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)

Keepers of the House (2022)
Conni Ellisor (b. 1953)

  • Movement 1
  • Movement 2

Khronos (2021)
Nikoyle Noel
Da’Kneisha Nikoyle Blount (b. 1988)
Justin Noel Hall (b. 1990)      

  1. Hearts Aflutter
  2. Chaos
  3. Carpe Diem
  4. Nothing, but Time (Somewhere)
  5. There’s So Much In-Between
  6. Time is Ever-Fleeting
  7. Ascension

Jaleesa Beavers, Guest Artist, Soprano

J’ai été au bal (1999)
Donald Grantham (b. 1947)


Frank Ticheli (b. 21 January 1958, Monroe, La.) is an American composer and conductor.
Ticheli joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music in 1991, where he is Professor of Composition. From 1991 to 1998, Ticheli was Composer in Residence of the Pacific Symphony, and he still enjoys a close working relationship with that orchestra and their music director, Carl St. Clair.
Ticheli is well known for his works for concert band, many of which have become standards in the repertoire. In addition to composing, he has appeared as guest conductor of his music at Carnegie Hall, at many American universities and music festivals, and in cities throughout the world, including Schladming, Austria, at the Mid-Europe Music Festival; London and Manchester, England, with the Meadows Wind Ensemble; Singapore, with the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band; and numerous cities in Japan, with the Bands of America National Honor Band.
Frank Ticheli is the winner of the 2006 NBA/William D. Revelli Memorial Band Composition Contest for his Symphony No. 2. Other awards for his music include the Charles Ives and the Goddard LiebersonAwards, both from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Walter Beeler Memorial Prize, and First Prize awards in the Texas Sesquicentennial Orchestral Composition Competition, Britten-on-the-Bay Choral Composition Contest, and Virginia CBDNA Symposium for New Band Music.
Dr. Ticheli received his doctoral and masters degrees in composition from The University of Michigan. His works are published by Manhattan Beach, Southern, Hinshaw, and Encore Music, and are recorded on the labels of Albany, Chandos, Clarion, Klavier, Koch International, and Mark Records. (biographical note from

Wild Nights! is a joyous, colorful seven-minute musical journey inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem:

Wild nights! Wild nights! 
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

Numerous composers have set the words of Wild Nights! to music (Lee Hoiby‘s song setting and John Adams’ Harmonium come immediately to mind). However, to my knowledge, no one has used this wonderfully sensuous poem as the basis for a purely instrumental tone poem. This was my aim, and in so doing I focused most heavily on the lines “Done with the compass,/Done with the chart” and “Rowing in Eden!/Ah! the sea!” These words suggested the sense of freedom and ecstatic joy that I tried to express in my work.
Throughout the piece, even during its darker middle section, the music is mercurial, impetuous, optimistic. A jazzy syncopated rhythmic motive permeates the journey. Unexpected events come and go, lending spontaneity and a sense of freedom. The work is composed in five distinct sections, but contained within each section are numerous surprises and a devil-may-care swagger. Surprises are found at every turn, and continue right through the final cadence.
Wild Nights! was commissioned by the California Band Directors Association in celebration of their 50th anniversary.  (program notes by the composer)


Conni Ellisor (b. 25 September 1953) is an American composer and violinist.
Ms. Ellisor was trained at The Juilliard School and the University of Denver’s University of Denver, Lamont School of Music, and rose to prominence as composer-in-residence of the Nashville Chamber Orchestra in the late 1990s.
As a violinist, she has served as a member of the Denver Symphony, concertmaster of the Boulder Philharmonic, first violin in the Athena Quartet (now the Colorado Quartet), and is now a top-call studio musician and member of the Nashville String Machine.
Ellisor has written multiple works for the Arlington (N.Y.) High School Philharmonia Orchestra and recently completed a three-year residency with Stringendo, a nonprofit community strings program in upstate New York.
Ellisor has also had a career as a contemporary jazz recording artist. Her Night at the Museum album, one of four solo albums she’s released, climbed to #13 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative chart. (biographical note from

Keepers of the House
Conni describes her inspiration for the piece:
I am intrigued by the relatively new data that all trees are interconnected; that indeed they communicate, send energy to each other, and care for each other. The evidence is overwhelming that all of our forests are alive and communicating, that the “magical trees’ we dreamed about as children are real. And I wonder what that means for us. I find it unlikely that we are the exception, but more probably we’ve just lost the innate intuition that we are also part of the vast interwoven web of life. (program notes by the composer)

Da’Kneisha Nikoyle Blount (b. 17 October 1988, Kansas City, Mo.) is an American composer, singer and educator.
Ms. Blount grew up in the Kansas City area; she began singing gospel music in her grandparent’s church. Her mother, Ivy Bradley, recognized a gift for music in her, so she would have her singing hymns around the house as well as at church at a very young age. The first lady of First Baptist Church of Bethel, Sister Monica, would be the first person to introduce Da’Kneisha to classical singing; she fell in love with it. From there she would go to participate in concert chorus, madrigal singers as well as compete in solo contests throughout her high school career at J. C. Harmon High School Kansas City, Kansas.
Her love of music followed her throughout college at Emporia State and Wichita State; Da’Kneisha has studied in Italy, New York, and New Jersey; she has participated in college stage plays; various musicals and operas. She has sung with The Houston Ebony Guild, an African American opera association that performed negro spirituals, operas, and other classical genres.
Da’Kneisha regularly performs as a principal voice with the American Opera Studio. Her most recent role was Lavecchia from the opera Gianni Schicchi; the studio toured Spain and Portugal performing the opera and a series of sacred music.
Da’Kneisha has served as a worship leader at various churches in the state of Kansas as well as Texas where she was singing both traditional gospel, contemporary Christian, and urban contemporary music. she is currently serving as the worship leader for both the adult and youth praise teams at Grace Tabernacle Family Life Center Outreach. (biographical note from

Justin Noel Hall (b. 18 September 1990, Biloxi, Miss.) is an American composer, singer, model, and percussionist.
Mr. Hall was raised in a New Orleanian household by his military father and educator mother along with an older brother and younger sister. Through primary school, Justin was involved in choir, band and took a couple of years of piano lessons. During middle school, his family relocated to Derby, Kansas, from Anchorage, Alaska. High school introduced him to marching band, madrigals, drama, drumline and the Wichita Youth Orchestra program, where his love for large ensemble music really took off. He was already taking private lessons for percussion and stayed auditioning and getting selected for state ensembles and receiving high marks for his solos during festival season.
Justin graduated from Wichita State University with his master’s degree in music performance in 2019. He’s worked as a drumline Instructor since 2009. Justin has also been the music director at Holy Savior Catholic Church since 2014, and been singing with the gospel choir since 2009. Most recently, Justin has worked with the Forum Theatre as a composer and assistant music director, having received a Mary Jane TeallAward for his original music in the Forum Theatre’s production of The Agitators, his first professional gig writing music for theatre.
In addition to his music career, Justin does professional commercial modeling and acting. (biographical note from

Khronos was written by the duo Nikoyle Noel, made up of Da’Kneisha Nikoyle Blount and Justin Noel Hall.
The idea for Khronos came to Da’Kneisha and Justin during a conversation they had after meeting with Dr. Timothy Shade about commissioning a new piece. Their first thought was, “What do we want to say?” It was then they decided they would write a piece that illustrates these moments of the human experience, all through the lens of time. Khronos reflects on seven different facets of the human condition through the lens of time; butterflies from love, envy of “The Joneses,” stagnation, and aging being a few of those themes.
The first movement, Heart Aflutter, is about Justin’s experience with getting butterflies while walking into a downtown restaurant and becoming both nervous and smitten with a young man serving gelato. He was so anxious that he didn’t know how to say hello. It wasn’t until after conferring with his friends, that he mustered up the courage to walk back to the gelato guy and ask him out on a date. The guy did not walk to the same beat, and disappointment fell over Justin, but at least he had those butterflies to remember him by.
Chaos is all about the rat race of life. Today, we live in a capitalist society which doesn’t allow for much respite or ease, but a “buy, buy, buy” and “hustle harder” mentality that keeps everyone on their feet, more literally than metaphorically, it seems. The hemiola in the bass, syncopated horn and percussion, and ever-changing time signature and key centers portray the ever-changing “algorithm” of our tech-centric world amidst a lonely soul (the flute) trying to make sense of how to fit into such a exponentially growing digital space amidst the analog world.
Next, Carpe Diem is literally about seizing the day. This movement portrays time specifically as a woman. We all want a piece of her, we all want more of her, and yet she’s always out of our reach: a seductress bending us to her will.
Nothing, but Time (Somewhere) is a movement dedicated to their friend Renee Macdonald. Upon moving to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she contacted Da’Kneisha and Justin about writing a piece for her to perform at her going-away recital in Wichita, Kansas. The piece illustrates the journey of cherishing your time spent with the friends you meet in life, but ultimately deciding to listen to your calling, which sometimes is geographically apart from where you may be now. Near the end, Da’Kneisha writes, “My time has come; I must move on; there’s so much more. Please know my love will linger on engraved in time.” This movement is a cyclical love letter, from Da’Kneisha and Justin to Renee, and vice versa.
There’s So Much In-Between is about not rushing through life. After we’ve found our calling, is there a reprogramming that needs to happen with the lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to, especially if the existence you’ve had prior to a life-altering experience has now become stagnant, regressive, and leading to a life unfulfilled? There’s so much in between, but we rarely take the time to see it.
Nearing the end, Time Is Ever-Fleeting is a movement that illustrates the life expectancy of the average American person. After 30,000 sunsets, how do we comprehend time ticking away our last moments? And when we’ve spent these seemingly countless revolutions around the sun living, what all was it for?
Lastly, Ascension is the homegoing. In Black churches, it’s customary to use the phrase “homegoing celebration” for a person’s funeral service because it refers to the deceased “going back home” and it’s also a celebration of the soul returning to eternal glory. Their hope for the final movement was to embody the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!”  (program notes by the composers)

Donald Grantham (b. 9 November 1947 in Duncan, Oklahoma) is an American composer and educator.
He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Grantham went on to study at the American Conservatory in France with Nadia Boulanger.
Grantham is highly regarded as one of the most accomplished and influential composers for winds working today. Grantham is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes in composition, including the Prix Lili Boulanger, the Nissim/ASCAP Orchestral Composition Prize, First Prize in the Concordia Chamber Symphony’s Awards to American Composers, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, three First Prizes in the NBA/William Revelli Competition, two First Prizes in the ABA/Ostwald Competition, and First Prize in the National Opera Association’s Biennial Composition Competition.
His music has been praised for its “elegance, sensitivity, lucidity of thought, clarity of expression and fine lyricism” in a citation awarded by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In recent years his works have been performed by the orchestras of Cleveland, Dallas, Atlanta and the American Composers Orchestra among many others, and he has fulfilled commissions in media from solo instruments to opera. His music is published by Piquant Press, Peer-Southern, E. C. Schirmer and Mark Foster, and a number of his works have been commercially recorded. Along with Kent Kennan he is co-author of The Technique of Orchestration, published by Prentice-Hall.
Donald Grantham is the Frank C. Erwin Centennial Professor in Music at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music, where he teaches composition.  (biographical note from

J’ai été au bal is a celebration of some of the popular/folk music styles of Louisiana, in particular Cajun music and the brass band tradition of New Orleans. The dance flavor of much of the music is suggested by the title (“I went to the dance”), and two traditional Cajun dance tunes are employed. The first appears near the beginning and later at the end. “Allons danser, Colinda” (‘let’s go dancing, Colinda’) is a boy’s attempt to coax Colinda into going dancing, and part of his argument is “it’s not everyone who knows how to dance the two-beat waltzes.” The touching little tune does work better in a syncopated two, but is usually represented in the notation as 3+3+2. The second Cajun song is “Les flames d’enfer” (‘the flames of hell’), most often performed as a heavily-accented two-step. My version is much faster and lighter, and is introduced by a country-fiddle style tune. The brass band begins with solo tuba, followed by a duet with the euphonium, and culminating in a full brass presentation. (program notes by the composer)


Brian Lamb has served as the Director of Bands at the University of Central Oklahoma since 2001.  He conducts the Wind Symphony and the Marching Band, and teaches conducting and instrumental courses; hecontinues to guide all aspects of the UCO band program.
Dr. Lamb made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2005, performing with UCO friend and colleague Tess Remy in the Weill Recital Hall. In 2006, Lamb and the UCO Wind Symphony performed for a full house in the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. The UCO Wind Symphony, with Lamb as conductor, has garnered international attention and acclaim from audiences, composers, and critics alike for outstanding and creative performances and for playing an active role in commissioning projects and consortiums, including work with Carter Pann, David Maslanka, Carolyn Bremer, Richard Danielpour, Michael Daugherty, Michael Colgrass, Samuel Magrill, and others.
Lamb received his bachelor’s degree in music education from Baylor University, a master’s degree in trumpet performance and literature from the University of Notre Dame, and the doctor of musical arts degree in conducting from the University of North Texas. He has been fortunate to study with many outstanding musical mentors, including Eugene Corporon, Michael Haithcock, Gary Sousa, Larry Rachleff, Alan McMurray, Jack Stamp, Dennis Fisher, John Haynie, Barry Hopper, and William Scarlett. Prior to his UCO appointment, Dr. Lamb served as Director of Instrumental Studies at Southwest Baptist University and as director of bands and chairman of the fine arts department at James Bowie High School in Arlington, Texas.
Still active as a trumpet performer, Dr. Lamb plays in the Redbud Brass Quintet, the UCO Faculty Brass Quintet. Dr. Lamb is active as a clinician and guest conductor all over the world, and his groups have received acclaim for performances at regional, state and national conventions.  In his 22-year tenure at UCO, the Wind Symphony has been selected to perform at three College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Regional Conventions, and they have been the collegiate honor band at six Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OkMEA) conventions. Under Lamb’s baton, the UCO Wind Symphony has released 5 CDs on the prestigious Equilibrium label, which are available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, CDBaby, and all other relevant streaming services. He has contributed several published works to various journals and textbooks, and he is the author of “Music is Magic,” a children’s radio program that aired on KUCO-90.1 FM. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, the College Band Directors National Association, Oklahoma Music Educators Association, Music Educators National Conference, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.  He was honored as a Friend of the Arts by Sigma Alpha Iota, he is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national band service fraternity, and he was recently inducted into the Oklahoma chapter of Phi Beta Mu, the international band directors’ fraternity.


Naomi Tomko – Del City, OK – Bachelor of Music
Bryanna Louch – Choctaw, OK – Bachelor of Music
Karissa Denham – Moore, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Abbie Childers – Tuttle, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Becca Boulden – Edmond, OK – Biology

Braeden Jermain – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Gerald Warlick – Guest Artist

Abbie Claussen – Bartlesville, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Ryan Holcomb – Tulsa, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Micah Adkins (contrabassoon) – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Cristian Celis – Justin, TX – Bachelor of Music
Kyle Nolting – Mustang, OK – Mathematics
Mikayla Walker – McAlester, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Sara Roark – Tuttle, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Jasmine Wright – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Fernanda Ceron – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Roseanna Medina – Chickasha, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Bass and Contra Clarinets
Noah Billingsley – Bartlesville, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Eli Hellstern – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Anthony DeLozier – McKinney, TX – Bachelor of Music

Jeffrey Stevenson (Bari) – Madison Heights, VA – Master of Music in Jazz
Eric Neel (Alto/Soprano) – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Jalon Thomas (Alto) – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music
Nick Cockerill (Tenor) – Moore, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Caleb Rollins – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music
Miranda Highby – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music
Brock Lewis – Choctaw, OK – Bachelor of Arts in Music
Laila Martinez – Edmond, OK – Nursing
Cameron Hadley – Tulsa, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Blake Sullivan – Mustang, OK – Philosophy
Becca Geitzenauer – Enid, OK – Bachelor of Music
Alex Hamm – Checotah, OK – Bachelor of Music
Cristalynne Burns – Oklahoma City, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Isaac Rodriguez – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Naomi Wharry – Idabel, OK – Bachelor of Music
Austin Oden – Tulsa, OK – Computer Science
Mateo Rivera (bass) – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Lucas Haught – Coweta, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Matt Card  – Bachelor of Music Education
Riley Crow – Cushing, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

String Bass
Cullen Smith – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Kyle Broadbooks – Verdigris, OK – Bachelor of Music
Mike Hill – Tulsa, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Zach Kimber – Piedmont, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Katelynn Moore – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Eric Sturgeon – Mounds, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Trey Brabham – Mustang, OK – Bachelor of Music Education
Treven Cowherd – Edmond, OK – Bachelor of Music Education

Huiru Hu – Fujian, China – Master of Music

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