When Pulaski Community Middle School seventh-grade band director Jackson Smith lifts his baton to lead a massed sixth-grade to 12th-grade band on Sunday, Jan. 27, the 366 musicians will play an original three-part work written by Delafield composer Rick Kirby especially for the Pulaski Community School District.
The band will play the piece around 2 p.m. at Sunday’s annual PHS Music Boosters Chilirific Musicpalooza fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Pulaski High School. At the fundraiser, the PHS and PCMS bands will perform along with PHS choir groups and PHS and PCMS jazz groups. The event also featured all-you-can-eat chili, sandwiches, milk and coffee. Dessert is also available.
The Pulaski Music Boosters funded the entire composition project.
The first section of “A Midwestern Trilogy” is titled “The Beginnings”. This piece uses galop-like rhythm throughout the section as a tribute to cavalryman Casimir Pulaski, after whom the village is named. (The galop is a lively ballroom dance in duple time, popular in the late 18th century.) The second, more peaceful section, is “Tranquility” and is representative of peace and well-being as settlers developed their farm lands and harvested the abundant lumber in the area. The third section is “Celebration”, a rousing and joyful polka. Although not a traditional polka, it takes many of its rhythmic and melodic characteristics from this dance.
Kirby – a long-time music educator at the high school and college levels – retired in 2001 to pursue a career as a composer and arranger. He estimated he has composed and published about 500 pieces of music over the years. He was in Pulaski Tuesday and Wednesday to work with PHS and PCMS band students in preparation for Sunday’s performance.
Kirby said he has worked with many school districts and the Pulaski district ranks high. “Pulaski should be very proud about their band program,” he said.
He is impressed with the program. “All the kids have been great. They are very serious about what they are playing,” Kirby said.
PCMS eighth-grade band director Tim Kozlovsky said he approached Kirby a year ago to write something especially for the PCSD band students to perform. PCSD students performed a Kirby composition that was commissioned by Fond du Lac High School at last year's Chilirific event.
PCSD music teachers who commissioned the piece and who have been working with students who will perform the piece on Sunday are: Thomas Busch and Michael Guerrero at PHS and Kozlovsky, Smith and Michelle Henslin at PCMS.