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Student-composed fanfare to herald investiture

Jonathan Blake, a graduate student in trumpet, has composed an original fanfare for the investiture of Kenneth Evans as the 15th president of Lamar University. 

The investiture will be held Thursday, Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. in the Montagne Center. A public reception will be held after the event to give the public opportunity to meet President Evans and his wife, Nancy.  

“They had a fanfare picked out that was very nice,” said Courtney Horton, special assistant to the president. “I had been over to hear recordings of all the chosen music.” 

“We had one we were going to use, but we wanted to up the spirit of it,” said Kurt Gilman, chair of the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music. “Jonathan said, ‘I could write one that fits the bill.’” 

Jonathan Blake“Jonathan told Kurt that the fanfare was not nearly grand enough for this momentous occasion and he had written something better,” Horton said. “Kurt said to me, ‘You told me you wanted this music to be big and grand. Well, this fanfare is spectacular.’" 

Blake said, “Dr. Scott Deppe mentioned something about a trumpet fanfare that the president’s office requested for when Dr. Evans steps up. That kind of got the wheels spinning in my mind. That is kind of neat, maybe I should write something, just for myself, whatever.” 

“So, I went home and started writing, and I just came up with some ideas, but I let it sit for about a week or two,” he said. 

Writing original music is fairly new for Blake. Apart from some theory projects and arrangements, he hasn’t put all that many notes to paper. That doesn’t mean he isn’t thinking musically. “I’ve always got ideas running in my mind, but I usually don’t write them down, unfortunately,” he said. “I was just so impressed by this occasion that I felt the need to write this down.” 

“In wind ensemble the two trumpets played a fanfare that day, and it was just … it didn’t really work,” Blake said. “It didn’t really fit the occasion. Dr. Deppe said he didn’t think it was quite what we were looking for, but let’s keep looking. I don’t know, I guess I just saw that as my opportunity. 

“I told him I was writing this thing, and I pulled it out and finished it and showed it to Dr. Deppe and my trumpet instructor Dr. Shook in class the next day,” he said. “They both liked the fanfare and Dr. Shook suggested some revisions.” 

Blake said, “It is kind of a collaborative effort. We played it in trumpet ensemble, and I made revisions from their suggestions, and that’s how it came to be.” 

Blake, a 2011 graduate of McNeese State University with a bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance, grew up in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, and considers Lake Charles his home. 

Now in the second year of a master’s in music education, he will complete the music portion of his degree in the spring and will continue with student teaching in the fall.  

He is finding being a graduate student intense. “The course work is much more demanding, although you don’t go to class as much,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with budgeting time between classes, music for the classes, and ensembles that you are in.” 

“Really, it is my fiancé, Amber, who keeps me on track,” Blake said. 

“I was inspired by the occasion of the investiture. It is a big deal, a very prestigious thing. I just thought I would like to show my support for Lamar and for Dr. Evans. That was my way of doing it, my little creative outlet. 

“It’s all about building,” Blake said, describing the fanfare. “It starts out in unison and the parts kind of split and it grows. It is very stately. It grabs the attention at the very beginning and commands the attention of the listener.” 

“It is very articulate, and it continues to build and build and has a nice rhythm at the end that ends in a large chord,” Blake said. 

“We plan to call it the ‘Investiture Fanfare’ written in honor of our new president Dr. Kenneth Evans,” Gilman said. 

For more information, visit lamar.edu/investiture or call (409) 880-8419. Funding for the investiture generously provided by Gay and Bill Scott.