TJC music professor/composer to premiere two new works

Music isn’t just Micah Bell’s job – it’s his life. Bell spends his days teaching music at TJC and much of his off time composing and arranging musical scores.

Bell is in his first year as a full-time professor at TJC, where he teaches trumpet and ear training and assists with the marching and symphonic bands. He also performs professionally.

Last fall, he helped arrange the Apache Band’s 90th anniversary halftime spectacular, featuring a medley that included TJC’s fight song and alma mater.

Next week, two of his original compositions – one piece for a middle school band and one for a university trumpet ensemble – will premiere at the Texas Music Educators Association convention in San Antonio.

TMEA is an annual meeting of Texas elementary through college music programs, including band, choir, orchestra and elementary music. Each year, it attracts some 10,000 active music educators and almost 26,000 attendees from across the nation.

“It was totally unplanned how it happened, but it’s very exciting,” Bell said.

‘The Pursuit’
On Friday, Feb. 10, the Mineola Middle School band will take the stage as TMEA Class 1C Honor Band. 

On the program will be “The Pursuit,” featuring Bell’s wife, Dr. Sarah Roberts, on saxophone, as guest soloist. Roberts, a former TJC music professor, is a professional musician and travels the country as a featured artist.

“When Mineola band director Melissa Fisher called and asked if I wanted to write something for her band to premiere at TMEA and feature Sarah, I said, ‘Of course.’”

What resulted was “The Pursuit,” which, Bell said features a mixture of styles and tempos to represent the trials of life.
“There are parts that are very serene and relaxed and other parts that are very frantic and you don’t understand what’s happening. I tried to make it sound like the ups and downs we experience in life – much like middle school itself, actually.”

“There are parts that are very serene and relaxed and other parts that are very frantic and you don’t understand what’s happening. I tried to make it sound like the ups and downs we experience in life – much like middle school itself, actually.”

- Micah Bell

Bell said it was a challenging piece to write because it had to be tailored for the skill level of a middle school band but with a solo part suited for a concert-level performer.

“So, the trick was making something interesting to listen to and challenging for Sarah, but it also needed to be a fun and accessible piece for the kids to play that would also maybe up their game a little bit.”

The performance will be 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in Lila Cockrell Theatre in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

“It’s a huge theater with about 2,500 seats, and it’s always packed for these performances,” he said. “I’ll be excited to be there.”

‘Diversity United’
Bell’s second TMEA composition, “Diversity United” features the eight-member trumpet ensemble from the University of North Texas.

Dr. Jason Bergman, Bell’s high school classmate who was recently named a trumpet professor at UNT, commissioned the piece.

“‘Diversity United’ means our differences make us stronger together, because we’re able to draw on each other’s experiences,” he said. “It’s very reflective in parts and triumphant in other parts.”

“Diversity United,” will premiere during the UNT trumpet ensemble’s performance set 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.

“The UNT concert is a smaller, more informal showcase concert in a smaller venue in the convention center,” he said. “They will also be using the piece in some other performances this year.”

What’s next
Bell is currently at work on a new composition to be performed during TJC’s 90th Anniversary Music Extravaganza set 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, during TJC’s Arts Festival month. The piece will feature the school’s choral group and wind ensemble.

For more on TJC’s Cultural Arts District and upcoming programs, go to www.tjc.edu/PerformingArts.

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