The works of composer Dana Wilson that were premiered in November 2017 by the Mundelein High School Honors Wind Ensemble, and commissioned by a consortium of 15 high school and college band programs led by the MHS Bands, have been selected for publication by Boosey and Hawkes. According to Wikipedia, Boosey and Hawkes “is a British music publisher purported to be the largest specialist classical music publisher in the world.”
Wilson premiered his works “Old Number One” and “The Banquet” at MHS and also worked with the students.
“As was the case at the inception of the commissioning project, it is our hope that these new works will become standard works in the wind band repertoire,” said Jerald Shelato who directs the MHS band program along with Andrew Sturgeon. “Their publication by Boosey and Hawkes is definitely a step in that direction,” Sturgeon said.
“Continued thanks to all who assisted in making our composer’s visit/premiere event last year such a success,” Shelato concluded.
Descriptions of the two works with their Mundelein “connections” appear below:
The Banquet (2017) Dana Wilson
Protest and even "terrorism" are not new to American life. On February 12, 1916, a large banquet was held at the University Club of Chicago to celebrate the installation of George William Mundelein as the third Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, Illinois. The chef for the event, the anarchist Jean Crones, slipped arsenic into the soup in an attempt to poison Mundelein and over 100 other guests, including Illinois Governor Edward F. Dunne. Due to the late arrival of about fifty extra guests, however, it was decided that the soup should be watered down so that the unplanned-for arrivals could also be fed. Virtually all suffered considerable agony and were near death when a doctor, J.B. Murphy, though stricken himself, managed to hastily prepare a potion to help the victims. Due to the soup's dilution and antidote, the guests were able to recover--including Mundelein--and none died.
Newspapers referred to the mass-murder attempt as the "Mundelein poison soup plot." If the anarchist had succeeded, there would be no town of Mundelein, Illinois. By extension, there would be no Mundelein High School, and we wouldn't be sitting in this auditorium hearing this composition (since Mundelein's music faculty members Jerry Shelato and Andy Sturgeon organized the consortium that commissioned it).
The more important lesson, however, is that if the decision had not been made to share the soup with the unplanned-for arrivals, the dignitaries' selfishness would undoubtedly have led to their deaths. By sharing what was designated for them, they were saved.
Notes from the Composer's Score
Old Number One (2017) Dana Wilson
In 1924, the village of Mundelein, Illinois was so named out of gratitude for then-Chicago Archbishop George Mundelein's monumental financial investment in the community; this came in the form of his purchase of a business college near St. Mary's Lake and his transformation of that college into a seminary. In response to the community's gesture, Archbishop Mundelein (who was elevated to the position of Cardinal by Pope Pius XI around the same time) purchased a new 1925 Stoughton fire engine and donated it to the village fire department.
"Old Number One," as the truck has come to be affectionately known, saw 20 years of service with the Mundelein Fire Department before it was sold in 1945. The truck returned to Mundelein (from North Carolina) in 1994 and again became the property of the Village of Mundelein in time for the Village's 2009 Centennial Celebration. Since then, the village's Old Number One Fire Truck Preservation Committee has worked to preserve and showcase this piece of community history. With a roofless, open top and a maximum speed of approximately 25 miles per hour, Old Number One still makes its way around the community, appearing at local events to spread its inherent message of connectedness through common history.
Subtitled "A Wild Ride in an Antique Fire Engine," Dana Wilson's Old Number One is a musical depiction of what the truck's activity may have been like during its heyday serving the people of a still-young Mundelein, Illinois. Honking horns, pealing bells, and wailing sirens complement the work, reminding us all that Old Number One is still on the job and on its way!