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Two Hochstein alumni collaborate and debut new trombone piece

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Two Hochstein alumni collaborate and debut new trombone piece

Last weekend, Hochstein alum James Gates had his conducting recital as part of his master’s degree program at the Penn State School of Music. The program was called The Triumph of Peace, and included a new arrangement of a special work – “Peace I Leave with You” written by Jonathan T. Madden, another Hochstein alum and currently the Assistant Director for the Hochstein Youth Singers. 

The piece was written in memory of Hannah Metzler, originally as an eight-part choral arrangement. James said, “This piece holds special significance for so many in my hometown of Fairport, NY, and I am blessed for Jon’s willingness to arrange his piece for Penn State’s Trombone Choir.” Listen to the livestreamed concert at https://www.facebook.com/events/1398417664148307. This piece begins at 26:30.

James and Jon are both from Fairport and also both attended Hochstein, overlapping for one year in the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra. They became friends through their musical activities – both at Hochstein and in the Fairport schools. And now it has come full circle, with James conducting Jon’s piece. The Penn State Trombone Choir will be bringing it to the Eastman School of Music this spring for an annual trombone festival.

JamesGates_IMG-20221...James Gates started in Junior Wind Symphony at Hochstein when his middle school band director, Kirsta Rodean, told him about it. Kirsta is also on the Hochstein woodwinds faculty and was assistant director of Junior Winds at the time, with her husband, Casey Springstead, as the JWS director. James continued at Hochstein with trombone lessons and in the Scholarship Trombone Choir, Youth Wind Symphony, Philharmonia, and later the HYSO. So when Casey took over from Nancy Strelau as director of the HYSO in James’ second year, he already had that connection.

In addition to his music studies at Penn State and being a grad assistant with wind ensembles, James works with the athletic bands including the Penn State Blue Band – seen in this picture at a football game. James has travelled to both the Rose Bowl and the Peach Bowl with the Penn State Blue Band.

JonMadden_Young-Voic...Jonathan Thomas Madden participated in Hochstein’s string program all the way through high school as a cellist, participating in private lessons, chamber groups, and each of Hochstein’s orchestras. He also served as HYSO Conductor Apprentice for two years, making his international conducting debut on their 2016 tour of Austria and Germany.

A graduate of St. Olaf College with a degree in composition, Jon is currently pursuing graduate studies in choral conducting at the Eastman School. He sings with many local ensembles and serves as Director of Music at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pittsford.

As Assistant Director and Composer-in-Residence for the Hochstein Youth Singers, Jon directs and accompanies the singers and also writes new music for them that seeks to engage the students in the creative process. The Youth Singers premiered his piece “The Sheen of a Peacock’ in June 2023. You can watch the livestream of that concert here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoYGg5uymMg.

Congratulations to both James and Jon on all of their musical pursuits!

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