Niu Valley Middle School

An International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme World School

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Posts from July 2014

Noted Composer Brian Balmages Dedicates “Spirit of Aloha” to Niu Valley Middle School Band

By Mr. Justin Mew on July 12, 2014

Having a memorable and professionally inspiring experiences in working with the Niu Valley Middle School Band Ohana, Composer Brian Balmages contemplated on a personal way to thank the students, teachers, and parents of Niu Valley Middle. Baltimore Crab Chips didn't do it. Neither would Chocolate Burgers, which he presented after the last rehearsal in Cedar Rapids. Inspired by our student-musicans response to his work, by their warmth in giving, in practicing the IB Learner Profile, and the Aloha Spirit, he set out to compose a score to convey his thanks to our students. After Mr. Fanning accepted recognition from ASBDA President Beaber, Composer Balmages presented the original score to "The Spirit of Aloha" dedicated to the Niu Valley Middle School Band. He asked that the NVMS Band perform the World Premier next summer.  A second copy was given to the ASBDA Foundation to auction off.  We were speechless with Mr. Balmages' gift. Unprecedented. Significant. Noteworthy. Imagine a World Premier in Hawaii!


He Hit a Home Run

By Mr. Justin Mew on July 12, 2014

Composer Brian Balmages was commissioned by the ASBDA Foundation to compose a score for the 2014 ASBDA 60th National Convention. Mr. Balmages took his inspiration from high school friend and astronaut who is on the International Space Station. Intrigued by the sounds of metal disks clanging in a baggies while floating in space, inspired by the launch of the space shuttle--anticipation, lift-off, G-Forces, orbit, and interested in the work of his astronaut-friend, Mr. Balmages set out to compose "Open Space." As Mr. Balmages lifted his baton to conduct the Niu Valley Middle School Band in the World Premier of "Open Space," the audience recalled the video of the astronaut demonstrating the sounds created by the disks, and images of a shuttle launch. During the performance, a long-time ASBDA member leaned over to say, "He hit a home run!" There were frequent nods of agreement, tapping, swaying and nods of approval. They were for the score, and the musicality of the Niu Valley Middle School musicians. Those in attendance gave a rousing standing ovation. In the audience were a hundred ASBDA members, NVMS chaperones, parents and family who made the trek to Cedar Rapids to experience history in the making. Bravo, Mr. Balmages! Bravo, Niu Valley Middle School Band musicians! Bravo, NVMS Alumni, Faculty and Boosters.


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