Smith and Taylor’s on Campbell Hill (suite)
for Wind Ensemble
K. Cato 2014
Smiths and Taylors on Campbell Hill is a tribute to my brother Ronnie Cato and I's middle school, high school, and College music teachers Steve Taylor, Russell Campbell, and Timothy Smith. I would have loved to included all the teachers and mentors we've had the pleasure of working with throughout our musical career, but that would have constituted a full length movie score. Instead, I decided to honor the three music educators who had the most influence on the way we approach our overall music programs. Don't get me wrong, Dave Eshelman, Dan Zinn, Frank Laroca, and Allan Curran are without a doubt a major factor as to how I can compose so frequently and why I can create new ideals so quickly. (Especially all the improvisational methods I learned from jazz improv and combo courses!) Likewise, the Form and Structure course I took during my graduate studies in Dance performance and Choreography changed the way I thought about creating forever.
As such, Steve Taylor introduced me to a program which offered so many new experiences and opportunities that a reserved introvert like myself didn't fully participate in. Mr. Taylor had endless amounts of energy and encouragement that he gave out unselfishly to the students. He kept pushing us to improve and try new things. It was incredible that he was originally a vocal teacher who learned how to teacher instrumental music and grow the instrumental program to the level we achieved.
Russel (Russ) Campbell, former Director of Fairfield High School's Scarlet Brigade Marching Band, brought integrity, commitment, dedication, excellence, and a high standard to the forefront in my young musical career. He inspired me to be better than I thought I could be and motivated me to want to change in order to be a better person not only for myself, but for the entire program. I still remember having a terrible audition the end of my 8th grade year yet Russ said, "You're going to come to Fairfield and I'm going to make you a star." I assumed he said that to all the students. Apparently, not. (I asked all of my friends) He suggested that I take trumpet lessons from the principal trumpet player of the Air Force Band which truly changed my playing with a complete embouchure change and more than a octave of increase range.
Mr. Campbell's strong will and unshakable beliefs helped instill a newfound sense of discipline and determination to perform at my highest level at all time and hold myself to a higher expectations as the program was built on a tradition of excellence. One of which my older brother Ronnie had gone through previously. Under his direction we experience so much success individually as soloist and lead player and with our outstanding ensembles that were nearly undefeated in competitions.
With that said, I never wanted to let him down or be the weak leak in his program so I worked extra hard and learned how to be more efficient in order to maintain my practicing and later as my role as the drum major. As Drum Major I knew I needed to be the physical representation of the spirit and honor of the program. Needless to say, I took the position very seriously. My four years at Fairfield are unforgettable largely in part to the direction of Russ and his never say die attitude.
Timothy Smith can be describe as nothing less than a musical genius. His complete understanding of music and teaching is profound and extraordinary. The way he can take any ensemble from point A to point B in a matter of minutes is remarkable. Tim not only internalized the numerous concepts of being a musician, but he thoughtfully and intelligently conveyed the secrets of music making to the point a musician of any age could comprehend and produce the way he suggested a the player perform. I still haven't seen another director come into a rehearsal so thoroughly prepared. Right down to the minute with every musical score analyzed and a clear lesson plan delivered and executed.
Without a doubt, Tim's preparedness, professionalism, knowledge, and ernest desire to always improve and grow has left a lasting mark on my personal life and musically career. I've realized with thorough planning for all situations, predicaments, and issues allows for success and accommodations for all involved. It's was apparent Tim was on a mission at every rehearsal regardless of date or duration. I always found it surprising when he would make additional changes and requests of the pieces at the dress rehearsal of the performance. He expected everyone to be professional and rise to the occasion. People can do amazing things if they believe they can and Tim believed we could.
Lastly, I carry with me pieces of their wisdom, knowledge, character, heritage, and tradition that I continue to impart on my past, present, and future students with the pride and respect that each rightfully deserve. Please enjoy the piece as it incorporates thematic material inspired from my experience in each of their programs and the research I did as to the origination of their surnames.
Taylor- the Tailor, Taylour, to cut, alter
Campbell-Scottish Translation: "...the beautiful field, the fair field"
De Campobello- French Transalation:
"...of the beautiful field"
Smith-strike, hit, smite
Grade 4, 15 min