Rosemount teacher’s musical trip climbs Mount Everest

Rosemount band teacher composes runner-up entry

Rosemount High School band teacher Bojan Hoover placed second in the Take Your Music Further with Garritan contest for his 90-second composition, “Sargarmatha.” Photo submitted

Few people have ever ascended to the top of Mount Everest.

But a Rosemount High School band teacher can take you there … in less than 90 seconds.

Bojan Hoover isn’t a Sherpa, but his musical composition “Sargarmatha” allows one to feel the power and immensity at the summit of the world’s highest point.

His evocative 90-second trip was so effective that he earned runner-up in the “Take Your Music Further with Garritan” contest, which had more than 200 works submitted.

“A lot of them were really fantastic,” said Hoover, who earned a $700 United Airlines gift card for his effort. “I am very humbled by the entire experience.”

Assembling the piece took about eight hours for Hoover whose square one was a two-measure motif, which Make Music Inc. supplied.

“I compose things very melodically,” Hoover said, “so as soon as I am able to create a melody that I like, the rest of it is fairly easy.”

At first he experimented with the motif at different tempos, key signatures and with different ornamentation.

In addition to the time constraint, the contest required each piece to evoke a travel destination.

“When I first started writing the piece I did not have a specific destination in mind, but after a while of writing the music, it became clear that the piece had an ominous, epic sound to it,” Hoover said.

That’s when he reached Mount Everest and used the Nepalese name for it, “Sargarmatha,” or goddess of the sky, for his title.

Hoover then added to the piece using only bits from the specific sound library Garritan; no live instrumentation could be used.

“I think my piece stood out because it was fast and energetic, and it used some different composition techniques that made it unique,” Hoover said.

He said one person commented that the submission used “a dynamic range, rhythmic complexity, tempo variations, and metric modulation. Melodically, it had energy and direction.”

The composition will get even more direction in the next few weeks as the school’s symphonic band will perform a longer version at its May 24 concert.
Musical background

Hoover, a 2010 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities music education and performance graduate, joined the Rosemount band department in the summer of 2010 to replace John Theisen.

“I was in the right place at the right time when the position opened, and I am very fortunate to be working there now,” Hoover said. “My predecessor was a percussionist and taught percussion lessons, percussion ensemble and drumline, so when he left the other band directors naturally wanted to hire someone with those same skill sets.”

Hoover’s main instrument is percussion and he has played with several orchestras, chamber ensembles and drum corps in Minnesota and beyond.

He teaches and arranges several drumlines and marching bands in the area, including the Anoka High School Marching Band and Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps.

He’s the secretary of the Minnesota Chapter of Percussive Arts Society and vice president of the Minnesota Percussion Association Board of Directors.

With all of that going on, Hoover still has time to keep the band program, which will have 410 students enrolled in it next year, successful in Rosemount.

“Since the band program has experienced so much success in the past decade, it is sometimes difficult to meet our expectations every year,” Hoover said. “Fortunately, we have a very supportive administrative team and parent community which helps make what we do a reality.”

To hear Bojan Hoover’s composition, go online to https://apps.facebook.com/garritancomposer/entry/sagarmatha. All of the entries are at https://apps.facebook.com/garritancomposer/entries.

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