Posted 6 months ago
By John Axtell
Numbers written by two Chadron State College music students were performed recently at the school’s March 23 music department honors recital.
“Fire Sheeps” by Conrad Gachne of Gering was debuted by CSC faculty members Dr. Sid Shuler and Dr. Jim Margetts, while “One Step” by Tanner Johns of Alliance was played by group that included himself, faculty member, Dr. Sandy Schaefer, Nick Brooks of Alliance, and Drew Kasch of Highlands Ranch, Colo.
“One Step”, a salute to jazz legend Miles Davis, isn’t the only number by Johns to be played at CSC. Last year, the college Jazz Band performed his song “Breathe” and the group debuted his big band piece “Dirty Bubblegum” at this year’s High Plains Jazz Festival…the day after the honors recital.
Conrad Gachne, working on his second CSC degree, was in the audience for the recital and the premier of his number. “Hearing my piece performed was very surreal, he says. “I really had a hard time believing it was happening right up to the first note.”
Gachne has taken two semesters of private composition lessons with Dr. Michael Stephen along with theory and arranging classes with Dr. Schaefer, Dr. Joel Schreuder and former faculty member Dr. Adam Lambert …some of which occasionally included simple composition assignments. He found he likes the challenges of composing.
“I like taking a simple idea, something like a five-note phrase, and using that as the basis for a full piece. I don’t like how slowly I write. I tend to try to make each individual note in the piece the best possible note, and sometimes get stuck at a part where a single note in a chord or phrase sounds off. It will frustrate me right up until I find something that I like.”
Gachne has a number of favorite composers covering many genres and centuries from Bach to Pat Metheny. “Duke Ellington is another, along with Gordon Goodwin. J.S. Bach will always astound me. I like many French composers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, like Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Ask me who my favorite composers are next week and I might say something completely different.”
Although he enjoys writing music, Gachne has no idea what role it will play in his life in the future. “I really don’t know what role composition will play in my career. I will continue to write, but I see it mainly for myself. I feel no pressing desire to be a renowned composer,” he says.