The audience at the King Arts Spring Band Concert heard something few other had heard before: “Boom Symphony,” composed, arranged, and conducted by eighth-grader Howard Godfrey.
Howard orchestrated 21 different instrument parts in his composition, and also did all of his own transpositions for instruments that play in different keys, an impressive accomplishment for any composer.
“It started as a melody in my head, and then I used a music app and did eight parts, and then I had to move to a bigger app and add more parts so it grew from there. I felt it was finished when I heard all the (musical) elements a piece should have,” said Howard. The finished piece took Howard approximately two months to complete.
“Boom Symphony” utilizes meter changes, minor key melodies, and creative instrumentation to create a unique and beautiful sound. Howard printed the full score and all 21 instrument parts for his fellow musicians to begin practicing. With the help of Amy Church, Director of Bands at King Arts and Lincoln Elementary schools, students practiced the piece in preparation for the premiere performance. Howard conducted his masterpiece on April 25 at an assembly for King Arts students and also as part of the school’s Spring Band Concert, which featured two of the four bands at King Arts, the Concert Band and Symphonic Band.
Howard plays clarinet in Symphonic Band, saxophone in Jazz Band, the cello in orchestra, and also plays the flute in small chamber ensembles. He also sings and plays keyboards in the Rock ON’semble, and has played guitar in the guitar ensemble.
“Howard is a very talented and motivated student! It has been a privilege to see him grow as a musician in the band program these past five years, always striving to learn more instruments, and setting even greater goals for himself,” said Ms. Church. “We are all proud of him here at King Arts; his accomplishment serves as an inspiration to all of us.