top of page
David Wacyk, Conductor Joanna Mendoza, Viola-3.png
Zachary Cairns, Guest Composer



The UMSL Wind Ensemble is honored to have you join us this evening, as we continue our celebration of the University's 60th anniversary! This season we are celebrating UMSL through 5 newly commissioned fanfares, the second of which we will premier this evening- Zachary Cairns' (UMSL Professor of Theory) Unless First a Dream. Following the fanfare, the UMSL Wind Ensemble will continue with a riveting program, unified by nostalgia and a sense of longing.


The program includes two classics of the wind band: Gustav Holst's iconic and ever-important Suite for Military Band in Eb (the first of two such suites, ca. 1909), and Percy Grainger's Molly on the Shore (ca. 1920)-  at all times frenzied and bursting with joy, Grainger helps us get in the holiday spirit! 

The centerpiece of this concert is the midwest premier of Joel Puckett's I wake in the dark and remember. This new concerto for Viola and Winds is nostalgic and gorgeous throughout, and Joanna Mendoza's (UMSL professor of Viola) interpretation and dedication to exploring this unique sound-world is completely captivating. 

We hope you enjoy this music!  

- Dr. David Wacyk 

ZACHARY CAIRNS Unless First a Dream (world premier) 


Unless First a Dream was written to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The piece takes its title from a line in the fourth stanza of a poem by Carl Sandburg called “Washington Monument by Night.” Though neither the topic of the poem, nor any other lines from it have any relevance to this fanfare, the line “Nothing happens unless first a dream” is carved on a stone archway outside the Thomas Jefferson library on the University of Missouri – St. Louis campus, and as such, seems a fittingly inspirational title for the occasion.


Musically, the piece is derived almost entirely from a three-note motive: B♭-C-G. This group of notes is presented in different orderings, different transpositions, and different rhythmic shapes throughout the fanfare. About five minutes after sharing the finished piece with my friend and colleague Dr. David Wacyk (Director of Instrumental Studies at UMSL), I realized that, when transposed to E♭-F-C, this motive forms the foundation of Gustav Holst’s First Suite in E♭ for Military Band. Though the connection was completely unintentional, and though that unconscious reference to one of the most recognizable pieces ever written for wind band caused me some immediate frustration, I now view this as a happy coincidence, and suggest that this fanfare be programmed alongside its accidental ancestor.


-notes by the composer

GUSTAV HOLST Suite in Eb for Military Band ("first suite")

There are three movements in the suite: Chaconne, Intermezzo, and March. Holst writes, “As each movement is founded on the same phrase, it is requested that the suite be played right through without a break.” Indeed, the first three notes of the Chaconne are Eb, F and C, and the first three notes of the melody when it first appears in the Intermezzo are Eb, F, and C. In the third movement, March, Holst inverts the motive: The first note heard in the brilliant opening brass medley is an Eb, butinstead of rising, it descends to a D, and then a G; the exact opposite of the first two movements.


The Chaconne begins with a ground bass reminiscent of those written by Henry Purcell or William Byrd. It is performed by tuba, euphonium and string bass and is repeated throughout the ensemble sixteen full times as varying instrumental textures and variations of the theme are layered within it. Following a delicately scored chamber setting of the theme, the music steadily builds to a brilliant Eb Major chord that concludes the movement.


The Intermezzo is light and brisk and features soloistic passages for the cornet, oboe and clarinet. Holst prominently displays the agility and sensitivity of the wind band through transparent textures and passages where the melody and accompaniment are woven into a variety of instrumental settings.


The March begins suddenly. It consists of two themes, the first of which, performed by brass choir and percussion, is a march light in character. The second theme is dominated by the woodwinds and is composed of a long, lyrical line reminiscent of the original Chaconne melody. The movement concludes with both themes intertwining as the band builds to a final culmination. 

JOEL PUCKETT I wake in the dark and remember (midwest premier)

Below is the W. S. Merwin poem that inspired this concerto. Please take a moment to read these words and listen to the sounds they provoke in your own imagination.

Rain Travel

I wake in the dark and remember
it is the morning when I must start
by myself on the journey
I lie listening to the black hour
before dawn and you are
still asleep beside me while
around us the trees full of night lean
hushed in their dream that bears
us up asleep and awake then I hear
drops falling one by one into
the sightless leaves and I
do not know when they began but
all at once there is no sound but rain
and the stream below us roaring
away into the rushing darkness

W. S. Merwin's (1927-2019) poetry has been a constant in my adult life. His words bring me comfort in times of anxiety, smiles in times of happiness, and comfort in times of grief. 2020-2021 brought difficult times for all of us, and I once again found myself turning to Merwin's words. 

I rarely know exactly what his poetry means, but I love how they make me feel. This was no different for the poem that inspired my viola concerto, I wake in the dark and remember. As I was writing, I rolled over the imagery in my mind: "wake in the dark and remember," "listening to the black hour," "you are asleep beside me while around us the trees full of night lean," etc., etc. These images are so vivid and clear, yet they lack any strict narrative, so my imagination became free to run wild and see the sounds the words inspire.The concerto is in two movements but played without a break. 

- Program Note by composer

PERCY GRAINGER  Molly on the Shore

In setting Molly on the Shore I strove to imbue the accompanying parts that made up the harmonic texture with a melodic character not too unlike that of the underlying reel tune. Melody seems to me to provide music with initiative, whereas rhythm appears to me to exert an enslaving influence. For that reason I have tried to avoid regular rhythmic domination in my music -- always excepting irregular rhythms, such as those of Gregorian chant, which seem to me to make for freedom. Equally with melody, I prize discordant harmony, because of the emotional and compassionate sway it exerts.

- Program Note by composer


David Wacyk, Conductor, Music Director 

DR. DAVID WACYK is a conductor and educator dedicated to serving students, the community, and the profession through meaningful music making. David serves as Director of Instrumental Ensembles and Assistant Teaching Professor of Music at University of Missouri- St. Louis where he conducts the UMSL Orchestra, UMSL Wind Ensemble, chamber ensembles, and coordinates the “Triton Sound” Pep band. 


Prior to his arrival at UMSL, David was Director of Instrumental Music at Saint Martin’s University, and previously taught instrumental conducting at Towson University. As a Doctoral student at the University of Maryland he served as Assistant Conductor of the Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. Prior to his Doctoral work, David was Director of Bands at North Harford High School, where he directed instrumental ensembles and taught music theory. 


David's scholarship focuses on modernist and avant-garde wind music of Twentieth-century composers, including Igor Stravinsky,  Edgard Varese, and Ida Gotkovsky. Additionally David has led discussions related to re-evaluating existing systems of concertizing and programming, and addressing systemic inadequacies in the field of wind bands. Recently he has accepted invitations to present at the CBDNA (Symphonies of Winds: toward a new understanding of pitch structure, and The Intelligence of Sound: matters of ethos and style in the wind music of Edgard Varese), IGEB (The Wind Music of Ida Gotkovsky), WMEA (The Future is Flexible: Small bands as leaders in creativity, and DNMC (New Music and New Paradigms: an honest conversation on the future of college ensembles). The Wind Music of Ida Gotkovksy was also presented as a national webinar. In October, David travelled to the Paris Conservatory to present on Gotkovsky's music, and in January David will lead a pre-concert discussion for the SLSO. He has been named a finalist- and awarded second place- for the American Prize in conducting. 

David holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music degree in Conducting from University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Western Michigan University.  David maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States, including as a conductor for the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He resides in Clayton, MO with his wife Laurel, and son Roger.

Joanna Mendoza, Viola 

JOANA MENDOZA, Professor of Viola, and Chair of the Music Department at UMSL, joined the Arianna String Quartet and the music faculty of the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2008.

With the ASQ, Ms. Mendoza regularly performs throughout the U.S. and abroad; most recently at international music festivals in Aguascalientes and Naolinco, Mexico, and Santa Catarina, Brazil. The ASQ can be heard on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” and on “Live from Music Mountain,” broadcast to 125 stations in the U.S. and to 35 countries. The Arianna Quartet’s recent recordings of the two Janacek Quartets, and the Early and Middle Beethoven Quartets, all released on Centaur Records, received critical acclaim.

Highly sought-after teachers, the ASQ is regularly invited to colleges and conservatories worldwide including Peabody, Oberlin, University of Houston, Northwestern, and in South Africa at Stellenbosch and University of Pretoria. Additionally, Ms. Mendoza’s students have been accepted in graduate music programs at the Jacobs School of Music at IU, Peabody Institute, Northwestern, DePaul, University of NC-Greensboro, and East Carolina University, and have participated in festivals including Music Academy of the West, Colorado Music Festival, and Madeline Island Chamber Music.

In addition to teaching applied music and chamber music, Ms. Mendoza also teaches music history and co-teaches an interdisciplinary course in the UMSL Pierre Laclede Honors College with UMSL Professor of Chemistry, James Bashkin.

Prior to joining the Arianna Quartet, Ms. Mendoza was a ten-year member of the Harrington String Quartet, featured in the PBS documentary, A Sound Collaboration: The Harrington String Quartet, and recorded a Grammy-nominated album of the works of Daniel McCarthy. She has served on the faculties of West Texas A&M University and the University of Oklahoma.

Ms. Mendoza received her bachelor of music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied with Richard Blum and Sally Chisholm of the Pro Arte Quartet, and received her master of music degree from the Juilliard School where she was a student of William Lincer and the Juilliard Quartet.

Zachary Cairns, Guest Composer

ZACHARY CAIRNS, Associate Professor of Music, coordinates the music theory curriculum at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He received his Ph.D. in Music Theory from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester (2010), an M.A. in Music Theory (2003), and a B.S. in Music Education (2000) from Penn State University. While at Penn State, he also earned a Performer’s Certificate in Percussion.

Dr. Cairns' research interests involve the modernist music of the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev Thaw, rhythm and meter in rock music, and film music theory. He has presented at numerous international, national, and regional conferences, and his work has been published in Studia musicologica, Music Theory Online, Indiana Theory Review, Gamut, and Music Theory and Analysis. In 2012, he was awarded a grant from the University of Missouri Research Board to conduct research at the Tanyeev Library of the Chaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Russia. And in 2021, he was awarded a campus-level grant to travel to Los Angeles to study film scores at several different libraries and studio archives, to work on a project dealing with the musical depiction of Russian and Soviet "villains" in Hollywood film scores.

As a composer, Dr. Cairns' works have been performed across the United States and in Europe. His work Two Pieces for Baritone Saxophone and Percussion won first prize in the 2014 Percussive Arts Society's Composition Contest. An expanded version of that work, Interactions for Baritone Saxophone and Percussion, was premiered at the World Saxophone Congress (SaxOpen) in Strasbourg, France in July 2015. A work for wind ensemble titled Refracted Moonlight has been performed by numerous collegiate and advanced high school bands across the country. Other works include Rhythmic Ceremonial Ritual for 7 antiphonal tambourines (yes, you read that correctly), The Land of Nod for two-part treble choir with piano, clarinet, violin, and percussion (also available for SATB choir with the same instrumental forces), Concert(in)o for Marimba and Wind Quintet, and Passing Through for alto saxophone and string trio.  Another work, Blumenlieder (for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello, and piano), based on the poetry of St. Louis native Sara Teasdale, was premiered in Stuttgart, Germany in 2018 as part of the American Days festival. Several of Dr. Cairns' works are available for purchase through C. Alan Publications and Carl Fischer. 

Zachary Cairns lives in St. Charles, MO with his wife, Whitney, and their two children.




Katlynn Connor 

Pamela Hereneen

Liah Kahn

Alissa Smith

Caroline Kidwell


Joy Floyd 

Paul Evans


Dave Metzger 

Joseph Hendricks


       Tyler Teague

       Joey Brown

       Sam Brown

       Jeanine York-Garesche*

       Lauren Tremusini 

       Amber Matronia

       Anne Winkler* 

       Laurin Council

       Sara Thompson

       Heather Decker

       Linda Tessereau 

Bass Clarinet

Chris Hollingsworth 

Miguel Oseguera


Alto Saxophone

       Caleb Browne

       Alfredo Deleon

       Dani Strehle

       Odessa Willet 

       Jennifer Roberts


Tenor Saxophone

        Shane Wolz

        Tarick Brisker

       Baritone Saxophone

       Tyler Mcfarland

       Zoe Barron


Sara Mullins 

Bernadetta Newkirk Sommer

Tommy Ahl 

Morra Lawrence

Heidi Abbott


Krishaun Dotson-Orange 

Cristian Fudge

Seth Peters

Abby Pierce

Mark Tessereau

Joshua Veal

Brianna Meyer


Jamie Blaylock

Ryan Scott

George Todd

Patrick Wilke

Caroline Kidwell

David Kreipke


Michael Merritt Jr. 


Nathan Hopkins

Charles Wilkes

Elizabeth Whitmore


Adam Anello*


Rick Breyer

Jacob Brewer

Eric Carranza 

Bailey Kayser

Kaenen Purgahn

Patrick Harris


Megan Stout


Tyler Mcfarland

* UMSL Faculty

bottom of page