homepage logo

Composition competition: Shepherd senior’s musical fanfare to be played on CATF 30th anniversary opening night

By Staff | May 1, 2020


SHEPHERDSTOWN — Over the past few months, the Contemporary American Theater Festival received a number of entries from Shepherd University music students and alumni for its 30th anniversary musical fanfare composition competition. On Saturday, the winning fanfare was announced.

The competition was sponsored and funded by CATF’s former board president, according to CATF Public Relations Manager Gabrielle Tokach.

Shepherd University faculty members Scott Beard, Mark Cook and Kurtis Adams judged the compositions, and they, along with CATF Associate Producing Director Peggy McKowen, said they were proud of how this competition celebrated the university’s relationship with CATF.

“The fanfare is a wonderful way to honor the relationship between CATF and Shepherd University. The collaboration speaks to the synergy that exists between the organizations,” said CATF trustee and anniversary committee co-chair Susan Mills.

The competition piece was originally planned to be performed this summer. However, because of the festival’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the performance will be delayed until next summer’s opening night celebration.


Shepherd University senior Andelenda Jackson, of Hagerstown, Md., is the winner of the competition. Although she is still studying music composition at Shepherd, this won’t be her first time having one of her compositions performed for the public.

According to Jackson, her original score for the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater’s performance of “Orlando” in Nov. 2019 may have been one of the most challenging composition experiences she has faced.

“I’d never done anything like that before. It was certainly a valuable learning experience,” Jackson said, mentioning her composing process depends upon her mood. “Somedays I’ll put it all down on the page at once and then others I add musical elements one at a time.”

Both Jackson and the runner-up fanfare composer, Daniel Morris, of Martinsburg, will receive cash awards. The winner received $500 and the runner-up received $250, according to Morris.

Morris is a senior double majoring in music education and composition, and will graduate with his degrees this year. After learning about the competition last year, Morris decided to work on writing a collection of pieces for his Nov. 2019 senior composition recital that would include a fanfare appropriate for submission into the competition.

“My idea/story for the piece was a culmination of ideas when it came to my ‘Sketches for Brass Quintet,'” Morris said, mentioning the competition requirements were for up to five brass instruments and two percussionists. “An idea of just brass in a ensemble, along with the CATF competition, lead me to writing a collection of pieces (along with a fanfare) for both the competition and to open my senior recital. The fanfare was limited to three minutes and 15 seconds.”

Morris patterned his fanfare after the work of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

“I start by thinking about the story I want to tell with the music,” Morris said. “This competition gave me a great opportunity to write and challenge myself. This was my first competition, so I’m using this opportunity to hone my skills for future competitions.

According to Tokach, the winning and runner-up fanfares were picked because of how they honored the festival’s creative mindset.

“Andelenda Jackson reimagined a typical fanfare to include modes and keys she doesn’t often have the opportunity to use. This musical creativity mirrors the festival’s innovative nature,” Tokach said, before describing Morris’ work. “Passion for storytelling is another hallmark value of the festival. In both of their creative processes, Andelenda Jackson and Daniel Morris demonstrate ideals that parallel CATF values.”