Dance of the Spirits, by Michael Sweeney (b.1952)
Conducted by Lauren Ryals
Lauren Ryalswas raised along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Littleton, Colorado. Blessed with beautiful natural surroundings at the University of Colorado to nurture her artistic and musical spirit, she graduated with her bachelors of science degree in music. As a masters of music education with certification student at Vandercook College of Music, Lauren’s thesis project is focused on integrating a holistic approach to teaching music. Determined to inspire future generations through musical discovery and connection, Lauren has, among countless other opportunities, served on the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Percussion Association, directed the percussion program at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colorado, and successfully teaches private percussion lessons. Under Lauren’s direction her students have obtained over $500,000 in college talent scholarships to date.
Dance of the Spiritsis a piece by Michael Sweeney commissioned for the 2011 DeForest (WI) Middle School Eighth Grade Band. Painting with sounds, Dance of the Spirits is a musical description of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights phenomena. Inspired by the Native American Cree tribe, who call this phenomenon, dance of the spirits, Mr. Sweeney creates a musical impression of the ever changing mood, texture, and energy of the Aurora Borealis throughout the journey of the piece. Percussion instruments are used to create mysterious and other worldly sounds. Mr. Sweeney resides north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he is the Director of Band Publications for Hal Leonard Corporation. He has published over 500 compositions and arrangements and is a University of Indiana Alumnus.