Carson City conductor takes on musical role in celebrating statehood
David Bugli has a busy summer ahead.
The conductor of the Carson City Symphony, leader of the Mile High Jazz Band and vice president of the Carson City Historical Society, to name just a few of the many hats he wears, is part of a musical project to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Nevada’s statehood next year.
The Reno Philharmonic has asked Bugli to produce multiple arrangements of “Home Means Nevada,” the official state song, for orchestra and choir as well a range of school bands.
“It’s a major summer project,” said Bugli, who also organizes and runs the Jazz & Beyond: Carson City Music Festival, a two-week concert series in August. “I know how to handle crazy. I think that’s one of the reasons the philharmonic works with me. I usually have four projects going at once.”
According to the philharmonic, the effort will involve 400,000 Nevadans, mostly K-12 students and teachers throughout the state. A compilation video of performances of the song will be produced and the arrangements will be posted on the group’s website for use free of charge. The project will culminate in the Reno Philharmonic’s premiere of the orchestral piece in October 2014.
The project is being funded with a $179,000 grant from the E. L. Wiegand Foundation, which will also pay for the purchase of a new grand piano for the 45-year-old arts organization.
The song, written by Bertha Rafetto, is currently arranged for piano, so Bugli will be creating five new arrangements. The most complex will be for full orchestra and choir for what he says is called SATB — soprano, alto, tenor and bass. For students, he will produce four arrangements including two for the youngest musicians, one featuring piano and a single voice line and another for a single voice and strings because Carson City and Reno elementary school programs excel at strings, Bugli said. An arrangement geared toward middle school bands will add soprano and alto harmonization, and a fourth for high school musicians and youth orchestras will feature strings and soprano, alto and bass.
So how will Bugli handle the multitasking job?
“The first thing I do is write a to-do list and get an envelope and throw scraps of paper in there. A lot of great ideas come to you at different times,” Bugli said. “Then I build on that.”
He expects to start with one of the simple arrangements for the young musicians and work off that base to create the other student arrangements. Finally, he’ll work on the orchestral arrangement, which he likens to moving a bill a through Congress.
“The House does some work on it, then the Senate, and then it goes to conference. Finally, it goes to the president,” Bugli said. In this case, the president’s signature means approval from Tim Young, the president of the philharmonic.
Bugli said he’s doing research, reaching out to teachers who already teach the song and reviewing videotaped performances of it on YouTube. The music has inherent restrictions on how it can be arranged, but there is always room for interpretation, he said.
“Even something as simple as the placement of a comma,” Bugli said. “My sheet music has a comma after ‘Home.’ I’m still trying to get my mind around that. Does that mean the singers should highlight the word home? I was emphasizing Nevada.”
Bugli hopes the project, which combines his love of music and history, can lead to arrangements of other Nevada songs, such as “Silver State Fanfare,” to help preserve the state’s musical heritage.
In the meantime, he has his work cut out for him arranging “Home Means Nevada.”
“There’s a Duke Ellington quote I like,” Bugli said. “‘I don’t need more time; I just need more deadlines.’”