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NYSB Composer Contest 2019 Results

For the 2019 NYSB Composers Contest we were privileged to receive nearly twenty new Christmas pieces.  The variety in the music and variety in the demographics of the composers was wonderful to see.  In the end we ended up with three pieces in the finals that represented the variety of the overall entries. We are pleased that Joel Collier’s new piece “Personent Hodie” has been selected as the winner and will be slated for publication in the American Band Journal in the near future.  This will be a great addition to the journal and a great addition to the library of any brass band.  In addition, the New York Staff Band will record this new piece on a new Christmas album to be released in the fall of 2020.  Congrats to the finalists for a job well done! – Derek Lance, Territorial Music Secretary & NYSB Bandmaster


NYSB Composer Contest 2019 Results:

1st place:  “Personent Hodie” by Dr. Joel Collier 
2nd place:  “Yuletide Treasure” by Marcus Venables
3rd place:  “Swing Song Merrily on High” by Yves Ramel

Congratulations to Joel on winning first place! Thank you to all of the composers for your willingness to write for The Salvation Army and the New York Staff Band.


Comments from Tom Scheibner, Assistant Territorial Music Secretary:

Personent Hodie

This piece is written by a composer/arranger that is very familiar with brass band scoring.  There are excellent harmonies, rhythms and effects included throughout the work. An ‘eerily’ effective start leads into lively, captivating music with an ‘Irish’ type of lilt.  This music is somewhat deceptively difficult because of the tempo and technique required, but is worth the practice/effort to make this succeed.

Yuletide Treasure

An exciting beginning starts off this work, with a tune included based on ‘Deck the Halls’.  A different treatment of the tune in ¾ time makes the music interesting.  Persistent driving music in the background with the constant same rhythm is well-written.  This item is not long in length (just over 2 minutes), and this would make it a good concert opener.   There is good scoring with effective rhythmic and harmonic treatments used throughout.

Swing! Song! Merrily on High

This item is very playable as written as a “swing” type of selection.  There are good rhythms and harmonies displayed throughout the arrangement.  This is not a typical Sunday morning type of selection, but a good item for variety’s sake to include in a Christmas music festival.  There are good solo opportunities included for the principal trombonist and principal cornetist.  The piece ends on the slow side, in contrast to the more lively music presented throughout most of the piece.


Comments from Dorothy Gates, Senior Music Producer:

Personent Hodie

This piece has everything for me, a good sense of form with an excellent journey; a great sense of harmony and harmonic progression with a purpose.  It is all packaged together with beautiful scoring and lovely textures.

Yuletide Treasure

This is indeed a musical treasure! Striking textures create interest right away. The form is well rounded and satisfying and the writer has a good sense of harmony and harmonic progressions.

Swing Song Merrily on High

There is some nice writing in this piece.  A good sense of harmony, and nice textures in the scoring. This writer has a good concept of writing for ABJ.


Dr. Joel Collier – Biography

Dr. Joel Collier has been making music his entire life. Growing up in a musical family, music has been one of the main focuses in his life. Receiving recognition as a performer, composer, and teacher of music, Joel has enjoyed sharing his gifts with audiences and students in the United States, Peru, England, Austria, and Germany. After receiving a Bachelors degree in Music Industry from Drexel University, Joel moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia to pursue a Masters degree in Euphonium Performance. Joel has continued his studies, and in 2016 completed his doctorate in Euphonium Performance, Pedagogy, and Literature. His teachers have included Aaron VanderWeele, Barry McCommon, Bob Gale, and Kevin Stees.

Dr. Collier has won numerous awards as a soloist, including first place at the 2012 North American Brass Band Championship and second place in 2016 at the same contest. He has been featured as a soloist with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Drexel University Concert Band, the JMU Brass Band, the JMU Wind Symphony, National Capital Band, Massanutten Youth Brass Band, Pendel Brass, the New York Staff Band, and many other ensembles. Joel currently performs with River Brass, the Brass Band of Louisville, and The Salvation Army Southern Territorial Band.

Dr. Collier’s doctoral research focused on the origins and development of the brass band euphonium concerto, and his document discusses the compositional background and evolutionary development of the Horovitz euphonium concerto, both Golland euphonium concerti, the Ellerby concerto, and the Wilby concerto.

Dr. Collier is also a composer and arranger, with several titles for brass band and choir already published. His compositions can be heard on numerous recordings, including his own solo CD, the New York Staff Band recording – Endless Power, and the National Capital Band release – A Musical Offering. He has been the primary arranger for the JMU Tuba-Euphonium ensemble, and several of his compositions have been performed by the JMU Brass Band, the JMU Chorale, The New York Staff Band, International Staff Band, and others.

Dr. Collier recently released his first solo album, Shadowed. The album features many first recordings and new commissions of works for euphonium and brass band. It is available on his website, JoelCollier.com, and from other brass music retailers.

Dr. Collier is presently based in Louisville, KY as the Divisional Music Director for The Salvation Army’s Kentucky-Tennessee Division, where he serves with his wife, Alicia.

Dr. Collier is a Besson performing artist, and performs on a Besson Prestige, BE2052 Euphonium.


Personent Hodie – Synopsis 

This piece is a brief expiration of the 14th century Medieval song, celebrating the birth of Christ. The common 20th century translation, On This Day Earth Shall Ring, highlights the songs of the children and the angels in the first and last verses, yet tells of the lowly nature of the manger scene in the second. These three verses are the framework for this arrangement.