TCNJ Wind Ensemble and Choirs were named a national finalist for The American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music, 2023, for their October 2021 world-premiere performance of Rollo Dilworth’s “Weather: Stand The Storm.” Winners of the award will be announced later this fall.
“To be named a national finalist for The American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music is a tremendous honor for our students, department of music, school, and college,” said Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music Eric Laprade, who conducted the world-premiere performances. “It speaks to the immense talent and dedication of our students, the forward-thinking collaborative work of our faculty, and TCNJ’s investment and commitment to music and the arts.”
Dilworth’s composition set to music the poem of the same title written by Claudia Rankine, acclaimed author, poe
t and professor of creative writing at New York University. The poem speaks to the national climate at the intersection of the pandemic and racial
injustice — including the George Floyd case in Minneapolis — in June 2020.
Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities John Leonard has performed and conducted several of Dilworth’s compositions. Leonard initially shared Rankine’s poem with Dilworth, who was inspired to write and compose the music. The work was commissioned by TCNJ and a consortium of schools and ensembles as part of The Artivism Project at TCNJ.
“This honor is all the more special knowing how much our students poured their hearts and souls into learning and performing Weather. This piece not only lives on through the numerous performances that it continues to receive across our country, but in the hearts of our campus community where it began,” Leonard said. “As a finalist for The American Prize, we — the students, faculty and staff in the Department of Music — are realizing our collective hope with this piece: to initiate a work of art that is making a lasting significant positive impact on the struggle for justice and equity for all people across our nation.”