ASCAP Winner Blends Teaching, Performing, and Composing
Kevin Kaisershot, composer of the “Teacher’s March”
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) decided to thank and honor the music education profession by creating a contest to compose a new work, the “Teacher’s March.”
ASCAP announced that Kevin Kaisershot of Aurora, Illinois, won the the “Teacher’s March” composition contest. His work will debut June 22 during MENC’s Music Education Week in Washington, DC. The march will be performed during the U.S. Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants Gala Concert, which will also feature student honors musicians.
A freelance composer and arranger and trumpet soloist, as well as a music educator in Aurora, Kaisershot has taught at all levels of instrumental music, in both public school and college. An MENC member, he is also a member of ASCAP and the International Trumpet Guild.
When asked how he has been able to combine teaching, performing and composing, Kaisershot said, “In a lot of ways the composing was an outgrowth of the teaching because much of what I wanted to do with my students wasn’t available at their level. So I just began to customize my writing to the specific need of each group or individual. Performing was something I naturally enjoyed, and it was also a way of showing my students that I practice what I preach.”
Of his inspiration for the piece, Kaisershot said, “I have been very fortunate in my teaching career to be influenced by a number of outstanding teachers and colleagues .… The piece reflects the energy and drive they all had and how it affected me, as well as the energy it takes to be a teacher in the first place.”
Here are a few additional questions and answers from the interview with Kaisershot:
Q: Have you taught composing in your classes?
A: My high school teaching included a Music Theory/History class that was pretty much comprehensive in its approach. It was in this class that the students did a lot of writing and arranging coupled with the various historical applications of each period. I’m all about Music History and find the subject fascinating. In some instances, some of these people’s personal stories are more interesting than their music! Overall I guess you could say that anyone who truly knows me would never question my motivation when it comes to anything music related.
Q: How long have you been composing?
A: Seriously composing? Probably for about 35 years or so even though I wouldn’t necessarily take those early years all that seriously. Most of that was just putting the toe in the water, so to speak. Then of course there were the obligatory college courses that for some tend to take the fun out of writing, since some pieces usually wind up being more what the professor thought they should be instead of what the student originally thought. I will admit to some of that happening with me, but not enough to sour me on the experience and maybe more of a means to motivate.
Q: How do you feel about hearing your winning composition piece performed?
A: I have written quite a number of things over the years and have heard a great many premieres, most of which were with my own groups. I have written things for colleagues in the area as well as friends of mine all over the country. This, however, is the one that is being premiered on the biggest stage. I am planning on being in attendance at the concert this coming June. I feel honored and at the same time humbled to be associated with this project and hope that this piece will be remembered for the people that it honors — teachers!
Kaisershot earned a bachelors degree in music education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he graduated with honors. He received his Masters Degree in Trumpet Performance from Illinois State University where in addition to playing in the Faculty Brass Quintet, he was also the Graduate Assistant and Assistant Conductor in the ISU Band Department. He has done additional postgraduate work at Northern Illinois University (Supervisory Endorsement) and Vandercook College of Music. He was a finalist for Kane County (IL) Educator of the Year where he received the Distinguished Educator Award. He also received an Award of Recognition from the Illinois State Board of Education as part of their “Those Who Excel” program.
Kaisershot is a familiar conductor and clinician throughout the midwestern United States. Internationally recognized as a composer/arranger, especially of music for trumpet and brass in general, his music has achieved critical acclaim. His music has been performed not only in the United States, but also in several other countries including Japan, Korea, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Norway and Germany.
His band, orchestra and solo/ensemble compositions are presently on several state contest lists. He has won several awards for his band compositions, including the distinction that his march entitled Spectre of Fortune was adopted by the State of Massachusetts Lion’s Club Organizations as their official march. Since 1994 he has also been a yearly recipient of the annual ASCAP standard awards for his contributions to the advancement of American/Educational music.
— Roz Fehr, February 11, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education.