by Amy K. Lavender

Music lovers came out in droves to meet composer Jim Grant at a recent performance and meet and greet dubbed “Being Jim Grant: Inside the Mind of a Composer” at the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center. The event was part of the Mike and Andrea Stone Visiting Artist Series and was hosted by the University of West Georgia’s School of the Arts.

Jim GrantAttendees had the opportunity to meet Grant and mingle with performers before the show. One of those performers was UWG Associate Director of Bands and Instructor of Low Brass Cale Self, who admitted to being a bit star struck and very excited about the opportunity to work with Grant.

“Jim has long been a friend to the tuba euphonium world, and he has written a ton of pieces. But his ‘Three Furies for Tuba’ is really famous because, well . . . it’s really hard,” Self laughed. “It’s used in competitions all the time, so that’s how I first heard his name.”

Self, who is a tuba euphonium musician, said when the opportunity came to work with Grant, he was eager to get UWG on board.

“When I started working here at UWG, Kelly Thomas and Mark Nelson in Arizona were commissioning Jim to do a double concerto for tuba euphonium with band, and I said, ‘We have to get on board with this!’ So I went next door to Josh Byrd’s office to talk with him about it, and we were one of the 22 universities who premiered his double concerto in 2014.”

In the process of preparing that piece, Self and Byrd were in regular contact with Grant, which sparked a relationship that has grown rapidly. Since then, UWG has premiered three of his pieces for band, and Self has premiered several pieces for solo tuba or solo euphonium.

Building on that budding relationship, Mike and Andrea Stone asked Grant to be this semester’s visiting artist. The Stones’ were on hand at the event to welcome all the guests.

“On behalf of Andrea and myself, thanks for supporting the Visiting Artist Program,” Mike said. “We appreciate you being here. We’re glad to have this as a gift to the community, but more importantly, we’re glad to have the opportunity to impact the education and lives of the students at the university.”

Grant agreed that it is crucial for both communities and students to have the chance to hear directly from artists as they help society make sense of the world we live in. He said it is also the job of artists to move society forward.

“Every generation in every art form challenges the previous generation,” he explained. “We push the envelope, and this is how cultures and civilizations evolve. It’s very important to bear that in mind when viewing or listening to art that doesn’t immediately make sense. Bear in mind that the artist is exploring and trying to push the definition of what’s important.”

The evening’s performances included Self playing Fury VII from Grant’s “Three More Furies” arrangement; David Jones on alto saxophone and Wayne Gilreath on piano playing “Valentine from Chocolates;” and Dr. Jane Marrero singing “Texts from Scout,” accompanied by Gilreath on piano.

Posted on March 6, 2017