David Wacyk, Conductor

Featuring the SMU Jazz Combo,

Brad Schrandt, Director

and Daven Tillinghast

Electric Guitar Soloist

April 28, 2022, Marcus Pavilion, SMU
(Thelonious Monk)


CHEN YI   Spring Festival


SHUYING LI   Last Hive Mind II


            Jazz Combo: “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free”


OMAR THOMAS   Shenandoah

            Jazz Combo: “Blue Monk”



           Jazz Combo: “All of Me”


LEONARD BERNSTEIN   Simple Song (from Mass) tr. Sweeney


BRANDON GOFF   Full On Rumble 

        (Concerto for Electric Guitar)

          Daven Tillinghast, Guitarist

(Nina Simone)







While considering how best to present a concert in our Marcus Pavilion gym, it struck me that this large space needs LARGE music! This concert is all about "the masses"- people coming together to celebrate (Spring Festival), reminisce (Shenandoah), extol (Simple Song), form a collective identity (Hivemind, Thunk), or just rock out (Rumble)! When people come together for music, good things happen. We’re happy you’ve gathered with us in this space tonight!

- Dr. David Wacyk 



CHEN YI   Spring Festival

Composer Chen Yi wrote Spring Festival as a celebration of the Chinese New Year and all the traditions that accompany this special Chinese festival. While the melody is drawn from a southern Chinese folk ensemble piece called Lion Playing Ball, the form of the piece is based on the idea of the Golden Section.



SHUYING LI   Last Hive Mind II

The Last Hive Mind was written for conductor Glen Adsit and the Foot in the Door Ensemble at the Hartt School. Inspired by the British TV series, Black Mirror, and the general idea of recent increasing debate around artificial intelligence and how it will affect our daily lives as human beings. I put some of my thoughts, perspectives, and imagination into this work. Thanks to Glen for coming up with the dynamic and matching title — it also helped in the shaping of how musical narrative navigates its way throughout.


Mainly, I was struck by the idea in one episode of "Black Mirror," the "Metalhead." After the unexplained collapse of human society, a group of people tried to flee from the robotic "dogs," a vast hive mind with metal built bodies and powerful computerized "brains." The failure was almost predictable. However, a detail that struck me the most was the reason that these human beings got trapped in the crazy chase was because of their effort of searching a comforting gift for a very sick child — a fluffy teddy bear. In The Last Hive Mind, two forces fight with each other — the robotic, rhythmic, seemingly unbreakable "hive mind" music, versus the dreamy, melodic, and warm "lullaby" tune. Lastly, presented by the piano, the "lullaby" music is also a quote from my mini piano concerto, Canton Snowstorm. As the title indicates, this work depicts the struggle between the artificial intelligence, or the hive mind, and the dimming humanity; furthermore, the work implies the final collapse and breakdown of the last hive mind followed by its triumph.




OMAR THOMAS    Shenandoah

Shenandoah is one of the most well-known and beloved Americana folk songs. Originally a river song detailing the lives and journeys of fur traders canoeing down the Missouri River, the symbolism of this culturally significant melody has been expanded to include its geographic namesake -- an area of the eastern United States that encompasses West Virginia and a good portion of the western part of Virginia -- and various parks, rivers, counties, and academic institutions found within.


Back in May of 2018, after hearing a really lovely duo arrangement of Shenandoah while adjudicating a music competition in Minneapolis, I asked myself, after hearing so many versions of this iconic and historic song, how would I set it differently? I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it, and before I realized it, I had composed and assembled just about all of this arrangement in my head by assigning bass notes to the melody and filling in the harmony in my head afterwards. I would intermittently check myself on the piano to make sure what I was imagining worked, and ended up changing almost nothing at all from what I’d heard in my mind’s ear.


This arrangement recalls the beauty of Shenandoah Valley, not bathed in golden sunlight, but blanketed by low-hanging clouds and experiencing intermittent periods of heavy rainfall (created with a combination of percussion textures, generated both on instruments and from the body). There are a few musical moments where the sun attempts to pierce through the clouds, but ultimately the rains win out. This arrangement of Shenandoah is at times mysterious, somewhat ominous, constantly introspective, and deeply soulful.


- Program Note by composer







Melodious Thunk was inspired by the famous jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. Monk’s wife, Nellie Smith, nicknamed him “Melodious Thunk” because of his clunky, awkward, and brilliant(!) piano playing, and his somewhat scatterbrained and disoriented nature.


I really liked the idea of playing around with Monk’s name, first, because I personally really enjoy goofing around with “spoonerisms” (silly, ridiculous, mix-and-match letter games, which often happen by accident: for example, slip of the tongue becomes tip of the slung), and, second, because this nickname actually provided great musical inspiration. Melodious: well, that’s fairly obvious; and thunk (which is a great onomatopoeia!) became the starting points for the piece. Big, fat thunks are interspersed with pointy, clunky, bluesy blips, which are then transformed into a long, smooth, laid-back melody accompanied by a funky bass line ... I hope you’ll hear some similarities between this piece and Monk’s iconic musical style and quirky attitude. There are no direct quotes from the music of Monk, although a short fragment from Dizzy Gillespie’s tune Salt Peanuts is used.


This tuneful ballad has become the best-known and most often recorded song from this great masterwork. Featuring a trumpet solo as well as solo spots for trombone and baritone, this beautifully poignant setting has been authentically and skillfully transcribed from the original.


- Program Note from publisher



LEONARD BERNSTEIN   Simple Song (from Mass)

Bernstein’ s Mass  is a musical theatre work composed by Leonard Bernstein with text by Bernstein and additional text and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy, it premiered on September 8, 1971.


Originally, Bernstein had intended to compose a traditional Mass, but instead decided on a more innovative form. The work is based on the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. Although the liturgical passages are sung in Latin, Mass also includes additional texts in English written by Bernstein, Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz, and Paul Simon. The work is intended to be staged theatrically, but it has also been performed in a standard concert setting.Initial critical reception, including a review in the New York Times, was largely negative, but the Columbia Records recording of the work enjoyed excellent sales.


Simple Song has become the best-known and most often recorded song from this great masterwork. Featuring a trumpet solo as well as solo spots for trombone and baritone, this beautifully poignant setting has been authentically and skillfully transcribed from the original.


BRANDON GOFF   Full On Rumble 

This piece, as its title suggests, is an in-your-face raucous exclamation, confused about its own place in the world (concert hall? Rock Stadium? Back Alley?!). For the SMU Wind Ensemble, it’s just… fun. Created in 3 basic sections (ABA), it showcases the versatility of the electric guitar as an expressive instrument, and in the hands of Soloist Daven Tillinghast, capable of almost any style. Enjoy!





(click on links for more info)

Brad Schrandt (director of Jazz studies)


Daven Tillinghast (featured soloist)


David Wacyk (Director of Bands, Assistant Professor of Music)




Anna Gatlin

Scarlet Jewel

Keanu Lyons

Jazlynn Mortimer

Dioni Roberson



Melissa Drewry

Christina Evenhuis

Isaiah Kelly



Jason Morgan

Cheryl Phillips*



Diana Appler*

Grace Dunn

Tory Esperanza

Molly Gleason

Nyah Hart

Charles Leon

Lizeth Sotelo Rosas

Madison Ungren


Bass Clarinet

Alex Kurnosoff

Jeff Storvic


Alto Saxophone

Rosalva Ortiz-Bagby

Luca Trasolini


Tenor Saxophone

Nick Barene


Baritone Saxophone

Mark Wood



Tae Schaffner

Scott Taube

Larry Vevig



Kelsey Bielec

Thomas Harrison

Kyle Housden

Dawn Stremel*

Austin Trujillo

Chloe Sawyer

John Rants

Mamie VanMeter



Jacie Fabela

Roger Houglan

Ryan Wagner*



Olivia Arden

Ron Schwartz



Kaelan Tomlin

Larry Mann



Darius Nakao

Stephen Norby



Amy Barene

Chris Drewry*

Ian Mckain-Pitts

Bethany Place

James McCracken



Nick Carlson*


*SMU Faculty

SMU Jazz Ensemble


Brigitte Yapjoco 


Mark Wood


Ian Mickain-Pitts


Darius Nakao

Piano/ Director

Brad Schrandt


Special thanks to the Saint Martin’s Community


Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D., President

Abbot Marion Q. Nguyen, O.S.B., Chancellor

Kathleen Boyle, Ph.D., Provost

Aaron Coby, Ph.D., Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Genevieve Chan, Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Melanie Richardson, Ph.D., Dean of Student Affairs

Marki Carson, Director of Creative Services

Lillian Austin, Graphic Design

Steve Monroe, Director of Event Services

Dave Bocook, Assistant Director of Event Services

Dave Sederberg and Pacific Stage