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Simmons' Annual "Trunk or Treat" Features Music Composed by HHS Senior

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28-Oct-2013 (SMS) – Hundreds of parents packed Simmons Middle School’s gymnasium Monday night for the school’s fourth annual “Trunk or Treat.” The popular community event features the always interesting optics of band members performing in Halloween costumes, followed by parking lot trick-or-treating.

“The costume concert has quickly become an annual tradition here at Simmons,” band director Mrs. Valerie Morgan said.

But this year’s costume concert had a twist: the signature musical performance, titled “Ghost of the Lost Ship” – was composed by music whiz Tyler Grant, a Hoover High School senior.

“I wanted our students to collaborate with a composer and experience quality music through his perspective. This is a truly unique opportunity that few students will ever have,” Simmons band director Mrs. Valerie Morgan said. “Tyler was a natural choice. He connects well with students…both musically and personally. That he is a local student was an extra perk.”

After the commission from the Simmons band, it took Tyler about six week to compose first draft of “Ghost of the Lost Ship” – a programmatic piece telling the musical story of a ghostly buccaneer. He worked with Mrs. Morgan to make tweaks specific to her bands’ styles. The title itself was selected by Tyler from student submissions. For Tyler, whose music has been published and performed by bands all around the country, this particular piece was a pleasure to compose.

“On a practical level, it’s just supposed to be a fun piece of music for middle school kids to play,” Tyler said.

Tyler, son of Hoover High School counselor Dr. Debbie Grant, was on hand Monday night to address the audience about “Ghost of the Lost Ship” and recognize the students who helped named the piece. He was thrilled to see the young musicians masterfully execute his piece.

“They got it right on the money – exactly. It’s always exciting to hear a piece of music that I composed played. It’s amazing.”

According to Mrs. Morgan, “Ghosts of the Lost Ship” has already been signed with FJH Music to be published in their 2014-2015 catalogue. At the top of each piece of sheet music, “Commissioned by the Simmons Middle School Band, Hoover, Alabama” will be printed. The piece will be performed by bands from all over the country. Mrs. Morgan says none of this would have been possible without the terrific financial support of the Simmons Middle School Band Boosters and Simmons Middle School P.T.O.

“[Our band students picked up on this piece] incredibly well. This is testimony to not only the quality of our student musicians in Hoover, but also Tyler’s writing. He has a prodigious understanding of what works with young musicians. He is one of a kind….remarkable. In my 26 years as an educator, I’ve never met anyone like him! VERY talented, very personable, self-disciplined….passionate about music and what band can do for kids,” Morgan said.

Eighteen-year-old Tyler is a member of Hoover High School’s Symphonic Winds Ensemble, Football Marching Band and Competitive Marching Band. He’s composed hundreds of pieces in his short life, having twenty or so of those published. Learn more about him at http://www.tylersgrant.com/

-Jason Gaston/HCS

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