By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
An 18 year-old Enid man recently realized the dream of a lifetime when a song he wrote was published by a national music publisher.
Jackson Anderson, a graduate of Chisholm High School, said his song, “The Great Land Run,” was published by C.L. Barnhouse Publishing Co. As a senior in high school, Anderson became acquainted with Ed Huckaby, an Oklahoma composer who works with Barnhouse. He directed Anderson to them.
Anderson sent an email of his composition, a band piece, and received an email from Barnhouse in return, saying the company liked it. He was given the number of a company vice president, who asked him to make some changes. Later, Barnhouse asked for more changes, then asked a third time. After the third time, Anderson hinted he did not want anymore changed. The company wrote back, saying it would send him a contract, Anderson said.
“It’s a concert band piece. It’s a program piece that tells a story through music. After some people listened to it, they said it could be a score or a Western movie,” Anderson said.
The composition premiered Feb. 16 at a Chisholm High School annual concert, where Anderson played it along with some fellow Southwestern Oklahoma State University band students.
“It was good to go back and play it,” Anderson said.
Anderson is a freshman at Southwestern majoring in instrumental music education. He can teach music in schools at any level, or be a band instructor.
His instructors at Chisholm were supportive of his music interest. He said Randy Johnson and Richard Stallcup both encouraged him to expand his musical interests.
Anderson started writing his piece while a senior at Chisholm.
The song came as he was playing the piano. When he tinkers on the piano, he plays random chords. He played a motif, liked it and wanted to expand it. He began to think about what he could add, and the writing began to take shape and sound “Westerny,” he said.
“One of my favorite things is to be an Oklahoman; it’s an homage to the state. That is the inspiration,” Anderson said.
The composition originally started as a piano piece, but when he played it for someone, they told him it could be a band piece. He wrote the song on the piano, then added percussion and other band features, and the song took shape, he said.
“That’s the cool thing about music,” he said.
“The Great Land Run” is not the first composition Anderson has written. One of the things Barnhouse asked was whether he had any other songs. He has written other pieces, although this is the first to be published. While in high school, he wrote solos and ensembles, which other students took to competitions, he said. He also wrote some band compositions. Barnhouse wants to hear them as well.
Anderson said the main goal of Barnhouse Publishing is to publish educational music, which is played in high schools and some colleges. These are songs that teach music and get students interested, as well as go to contests.
Anderson’s primary instruments are piano and French horn, and he sings tenor. He has three big compositions completed, except for some final detailing. Since he has gone through the writing process, he knows what the publisher wants. He is taking some of his older pieces and molding them into what the publisher is looking for. He also is working on a new song.
Anderson began writing songs in the seventh grade, his first year of band. He lived in Guymon then, and the schools he had previously attended did not have sixth-grade band. He started on trumpet, and his grandmother took him to lessons.
“I wanted to figure out more. I dabbled in piano, tinkering about on the piano. That’s when the passion for music began. I realized all the thing it could do for you, and I wanted to create something,” Anderson said.
The first song he wrote was a band piece titled “Slaves in Egypt.” As he listens to the song now, he said it sounds “funky,” because he didn’t know anything about the process of writing. He began to follow composer John Williams, and for a period in his life, he began to want to do what Williams does: write music for a living. That’s when he started composing. He said publishing at age 18 is very exciting.
His instructors at Southwestern have been encouraging. One of the instructors, Richard Tirk, found out he wrote a song that was published, and is interested in playing it with the Southwestern Symphonic Band.
“I really love both teaching music and writing music. Sometime in my high school years, I asked myself, ‘why can’t I do all of that — teaching music writing and showing how wonderful music is?’ If I’m discovered by somebody in Hollywood and write for their movies, that would be great, too,” Anderson said.