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Well-Composed

Well-Composed
Greg Schaber

When the Lima Symphony Orchestra needed a grand finale for a scheduled performance with the Clark Montessori Steel Drum Band, the conductor knew just whom to call: Kaleel Skeirik. The Lima ensemble was planning to perform Skeirik’s “Caribbean Voyage,” a work premiered two years ago by the steel drum band and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, so the chair of the University’s department of music was a natural choice.

But this time, instead of creating from scratch, Skeirik’s task was to take an up-tempo, two-and-a-half minute Latin-inflected piece by Clark director Bruce Weil and transform it into an orchestral work. “They said, ‘We want it to go on forever—seven or eight minutes,’ ” Skeirik recalls. “So I added in a lot of new stuff.”

The result was “Loadin’ the Truck,” a work that combines symphonic sections with space for improvisation and even dance by members of the steel drum band. The name, Skeirik says, derives from the work’s energetic feel. “The Clark kids have to load their steel drums into the truck every time they have to go to play,” he says. “So we wrote a piece that felt like loading the truck.”

“Loadin’ the Truck” premiered March 6 in Lima. Plans call for the piece to be performed by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra in the near future.

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