Meet a Roadrunner: Ethan Wickman reflects on musical tribute to JFK

Ethan Wickman

UTSA Assistant Professor Ethan Wickman at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
>> View video excerpts from "Let the Word Go Forth," Ethan Wickman's musical tribute to John F. Kennedy.

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(Nov. 20, 2013) -- Meet Ethan Wickman. Last January, the UTSA assistant professor of music composition and theory was at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., listening to the 23-minute original musical tribute, "Let the Word Go Forth," which he composed to honor the nation's 35th president, John F. Kennedy.

Wickman spent nearly two years composing the commissioned selection, which incorporates orchestral music and a 330-member choir with excerpts from Kennedy's most memorable speeches.

Wickman researched Kennedy's speeches and listened for snippets that he felt could be poetic and meaningful. Then, he started writing segments for piano and vocals, orchestra and instrumentals.

After the composition was complete, Wickman published and distributed it to choir singers representing high schools and universities in five states.

After months of preparation, the flawless performance was presented to a Kennedy Center crowd of approximately 1,700.

"I wanted to compose a piece that would show that there is real meaning in public service, and that there are universal messages that we can share that go beyond whether someone is a conservative or progressive," said Wickman. "We should all try and come together to make our country a better place."

On April 5, 2014, Wickman will host a performance of his 23-minute musical tribute to John F. Kennedy in the UTSA Arts Building Recital Hall at the Main Campus.

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