Schedule / Wednesday
Baseball and the Wind Band - An American Story
3:30 pm - Thursday, March 8
Adams Center for Musical Arts - Band Room (Room 301)
The wind band and the game of baseball are both major threads in the tapestry of American life, stretching through much of our nation’s history. Reaching back into our collective past, baseball and bands are even more intertwined than many realize – bands played a major part in many of the most important games in the history of baseball, especially those at the turn of the twentieth century.
This presentation will detail the many historical connections between the American wind band and organized baseball, focusing especially on the influence of Boston’s Royal Rooters, who created traditions that are ingrained into the sport today. It will also describe John Philip Sousa’s relationship to the game, including his National Game March and his barnstorming baseball team. The presentation will conclude by detailing the influence that baseball left on the nostalgic music of Charles Ives.
Brian Coffill is the Assistant Conductor of the Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble at the University of Maryland, where he recently earned the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting. His dissertation, "The Wind Band Works of the MENC Contemporary Music Project Library," is a major addition to wind band scholarship, annotating the collected wind works of the important mid-twentieth century musical initiative.
Brian earned a masters degree in conducting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His thesis, "Bands and Baseball at the Turn of the Twentieth Century Through The Lens of Cubs on Parade,” resurrected a long-forgotten march celebrating the 1907 World-Champion Chicago Cubs. As part of that project, Brian transcribed and re-scored Cubs on Parade for band and conducted it in performance with the University of Illinois Wind Orchestra. He is happy to take at least partial credit for the Cubs' ensuing playoff success.
Brian is a Connecticut native, born and raised in nearby Litchfield, and a graduate of the University of Connecticut. He has held teaching positions in the public schools of Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research as well as the SABR Baseball Arts Committee, and is an editor for the upcoming SABR Journal of Baseball Arts. His paper, “Charles Ives’ Decoration Day – A Conductor’s Guide” will be published by the CBDNA Journal in 2018.
Despite being a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, Brian currently resides a short fly ball away from Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and daughter.