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Museum Changes Tune
Student composition may get fall performance.

Milwaukee Public Schools student Derrick Hahn will get a chance to hear his composition performed at the Milwaukee Art Museum after all, a museum official told Plenty of Horne in an e-mail sent yesterday.

The message came in the aftermath of a public relations situation in which Hahn’s was the only entry to a music composition contest for MPS students sponsored by the museum. The news was first reported last week by Plenty of Horne.

Prior to the publication of the article, the museum had no plans for the performance of Hahn’s composition “A New Rising Dawn” despite it having already been recorded by a 70-piece unit of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra after months of effort and rehearsals.

But that changed this week after museum director Dan Keegan had a conversation with Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School composition teacher Adam Murphy.

“Yes, we have spoken with Adam and we intend to include Derrick’s piece in some way in our [Lakefront Festival of the Arts] programming in June,” wrote MAM Public Relations Manager Kristin Settle.

When, exactly, the composition will be performed has yet to be decided. The LFOA performance was Murphy’s hasty, if not impetuous idea to see his student’s considerable effort recognized, but he quickly reconsidered, once he considered the logistics.

He wrote to Settle later that afternoon with a counteroffer:

“I agree that the Lakefront Festival is a perfect event for presenting Derrick's piece but I'm worried that we won't have a full concert band. I've had difficulty getting commitments from my performers and MYSO since we are a month away and because it is the end of the school year ...

“I spoke with Derrick regarding the performance and he'd rather wait till the Fall when we would have more time to prepare and coordinate a better performance.”

As Murphy tells Plenty of Horne in an e-mail:

“I had a very direct and honest conversation with MAM President Dan Keegan about the lack of communication and he apologized on behalf of MAM for the way the competition was handled. He graciously accepted my offer to perform Derrick's piece at the Lakefront Festival of the Arts but due to the time of year and it being only one month away I've run into difficulties being able to wrangle enough performers to give the piece an excellent performance. I've spoken with Derrick and he is most interested in receiving a solid public performance of his piece rather than rushing into a mediocre one.”

MAM photo by Adrian Palomo. 

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