Years of Testimonials
From the INCEPTION of STORMWORKS in 1992-93, I have relied upon the words and thoughts of our colleagues.
They have indeed said it best.
BAND FROM NETHERLANDS WAS INDESCRIBABLE ... Review of WASBE Concert on 10 July 1999
"Normally adequate words that normally adequately describe such an event simply fail; thunderous, triumphant, supreme, overwhelming -- words even like those inherent superlatives still fade from the task of telling what happened.
It was music, and more.
Conductor-Music Director Maurice Hamers and his 60 instrumentalists created sounds that filled the hall itself and then filled everyone in the capacity audience in Harmon Hall, reaching every anatomical, sensory and spiritual component of the human experience.
Take a deep breath. Now: Listen to the creation of the world as seen by Stephen Melillo, a composer who confesses his personal God-link in such works as GODSPEED and SPEECH OF ANGELS, each of which opened the two sections of the program. It was like this: a shattering of the former silence, and then an opening, an awakening of the spirit (in GODSPEED) after which a choir of sounds never heard before (SPEECH OF ANGELS) brings a message of comfort and hope. Melillo is to wind music what Beethoven was to the symphony orchestra, and he follows a Beethovenesque design of increasing the musical tension almost to the breaking point, receding, and then reaching again. It is superlative musical craftsmanship and inspiring to hear." Marvin Sosna, Special to The Tribune.
"Steve, I am right now working on the score to A WALK ON THE WATER and it reminded me so much of all the things I wanted to tell you about our time together, and the MUSASHI experience. It is very difficult to put in to words, but you and your music are a real breath of fresh air in this world of meaningless, commercial hum drum compositions that pollute the ears and minds of young musicians. More importantly you always kept the integrity of your music FIRST in spite of so many things that you had to overcome. It is with much pride and admiration that I had the opportunity to work with you and more importunity to be able to call you a friend." Harry Pfingsten, Commissioner of Musashi
"I´ve been looking for excellent music to be played in my next concert, first rehearsal 2 days later. I needed a special final to make the band blow out the audience of the hall. And there came that special music to my inner ear and a good friend's signing his letters: GODSPEED. What comes next was so easy!: A short mail contact with Steve, followed by visiting his Stormworld and ordering the music. Paid fast and secure and minutes later it is there: my own version of GODSPEED. 5 minutes later the music is printed out and if necessary I could rehearse it 15 minutes after the thought struck my brain! Steve, the way I can order and receive your music is so simple and fast! I love it! Thanks a lot for that uncomplicated way to be a part of your musical world. Fast as a storm and at least thrilling like one... Liebe Grüße," Jochen Lorenz, Musikschulleiter, Dirigent, Diplom Musiklehrer
"With over 30 hours of internationally championed commissions, Stephen's groundbreaking Music for Ensembles of the 3rd Millennium™ offers inspiring new choices from beginners to pros. "Melillo is one of the truly few creative, pioneering composers of Music for our ensembles. Over the past 22 years, his Music and methods have been regularly imitated, his many tangible influences on the publishing world significant, and all while working 'outside' the system. As a modern, musical David, he has not defeated any Goliath, but Goliath is singing a different tune! And these Musical journeys are enhanced by effective Teaching Tools with Stephen's direct support." Jochen Lorenz, Musikschulleiter, Dirigent, Diplom Musiklehrer
"Since we met Stephen Melillo 11 years ago my orchestra and me are inspired by his emotional music touching the hearts. We played some of his great pieces in our concerts and felt the power of his music occupying us and our audience. You cannot play Steve's music without being involved with heart and soul - Music from Stephen Melillo is like an earthquake and a prayer in equal time." Karl Geroldinger, Conductor
"Steve, We are SO fortunate that you choose to apply your values, insights, and skill sets to the domain of music and music education. Many lives, mine included, have been and will continue to be uplifted by your creative efforts. With admiration," Tim Savage
"Without reservation, Stephen Melillo is the most notable composer in our music profession today. His compositions are unique in every way. The depth and passion that surrounds his beautiful melodic lines supported by elevating harmonic colors, and rhythmic intensity surpasses all musical expectations. Stephen Melillo's compositions, unlike any others, shape the musical truth and integrity of artistic expression." Edward S. Lisk, Clinician, Conductor, Author, Oswego, NY
"I have now watched The DVD of That We Might Live and just want to say what a truly significant experience it generates for me. I was moved multiple times throughout but most of all … near the end when you have the pages and pages of names on the screen. That was alone was a powerful … POWERFUL visual. As an active-duty line officer in our United States Air Force, I want to thank you for such a thoughtful, intensely well researched, and ravishingly honest musical documentary such as this. Also, thank you for offering it as a tribute to all of our veterans." DANIEL W. BOOTHE, 1Lt, USAF, Commander/Music Director, USAF Band of Flight
"Hello Stephen, today, I get the CDR and the DVD. I used your warm-ups for two rehearsals and get only positive reactions by the musicians and already a better intonation... Thank you! Kind Regards from Switzerland," Stefan Roth
"Composing is an art form that comes from the soul. A true composer brings ideas to life because he/she HAS to do so. It is not a mere exercise in which an individual puts notes on paper to sell substandard "songs" to the masses. This process cannot be copied or mimicked as it is often done. Stephen Melillo IS a True Composer. His music is real, meaningful, and original. Because of this I regularly expose my students to his compositions, I use his teaching techniques/educational tools, and I am proud to be considered a STORMDIRECTOR." Lou Vitello, Clarence HS, NY
"Steve, Audience and Band members had tears, we had a standing ovation at the conclusion and audience members spoke about it to me after the concert ended. My neighbor who is a Purple Heart Marine hugged me after and raved about the honor the 'Hymn to the Marines' brought to the Corps. In an otherwise fantastic concert, the Hymn was still a highlight for many. I was proud and honored to conduct your work. It took several seconds for me to regain my own composure to be able to speak after the final chord release. Godspeed." Don Jemella
“There are a bunch of children in Haiti who are seeing the profits of your Music”. Mike Grimm, Haitian Relief
"Hello Steve - only a short notice but packed with excitement: Yesterday (5 Nov 2011) we had the Herbstkonzert with Stadtkapelle Wasserburg with your stunning Ahab! It was a huge success - people got crazy with it - applause like in a Pop concert. Great performance of Jörg Herwegh - local actor. Will send some pictures and impressions soon. Thank you so much for your music!! Best Regards / schönen Gruß" Michael Kummer, Conductor
"I have heard 4 CDs of Stormworks this week and want to say thank you very much for sharing these deep emotions with your audience, your musical language is certainly breaking the speech barrier and touches musicians worldwide. Best regards and sorry for my English, yours" Michael Pietsch
"Thanks for the extra time and your "Learning the March" game It was fantastic. What a difference. I have tried every trick I know to get that to happen. Your approach works! You are a master musician and a master teacher - so rare to have both. Thanks so much. You have made such a difference in what I do. Be well. Humbly" Ted Scalzo, Bayshore HS, NY
"I attended a reception in the president's suite after our concert. Nearly everyone referred to OUR TIME as a SONG in the UNIVERSE in some manner. Even the people that did not get it... the piece STILL had some profound effect on them. They just couldn't express it. And so, once again, I can prove that there is SOMETHING in your Music, your Orchestrations, God only knows because even I still cannot explain it. We can play and play, sound really good... then jump into a Stormworks, and the same group sounds completely and profoundly different. When I was on Sabbatical last semester, I went to the Veterans Concert, this time conducted by Mark. They played and played and sounded great. I was not only very happy, but really impressed at the quality of the group under Mark's leadership. Then, the premiere of the piece for the Chancellor started (DESPITE ALL ELSE) and....the entire sound changed. It surrounded the audience. Suddenly, we were all awash in this amazing sound... more than just the sound, though. This is what I am still trying to understand about your Music. People who don't know immediately write it off to the use of electronics, but that simply is not the case. They don't get it. The electronics certainly add to it, but that is not the only reason. I have played and heard other pieces using electronics, including my own, and it does not achieve the same effect. So, my study continues. Your friendship and guidance and willingness to share continues to help me understand Music and myself a bit better each day." Ralph Ford , Troy University. (Ralph. Thank you for so much. for your Kindness, your Generosity. The kids sounded great, and in fact brought tears to my eyes. I thank them and I thank you for allowing me to share these thoughts with other Conductors.)
"By the way I tried your set-up with both my wind ensemble and my 120 piece 7th grade band and I have to say the sound difference is really amazing. The Horns and T-Bones love the space and they are playing better because of it. I have also been using your FUNCTION CHORALES everyday and the kids love them! Thanks for everything! My groups are starting to really sound dynamite! And… Man I wish more companies were this efficient. Thanks!!" Dan Hayes, Three Villages Central Schools, NY
"After listening to the new Chapter 13 CD, I must say that Stephen Melillo's music keeps getting better, and it was and is always excellent. The majority of band music published each year is not really composition. It is original arranging and most of it is in a 19th century style. Stephen Melillo's music has always been in an innovative and contemporary style, which makes it true composition. I highly recommend his music to you. You will find it to be very powerful work." W. Francis McBeth
"Music is not notes. It is the Love we choose to bleed onto paper for the sake of others". I think Stephen's own words sums it up when someone asks what is Stephen Melillo's music." Michelle Gabriele, WHRO Norfolk, VA
Well, Ladies & Gentlemen, this may be the only thing you need to read. I am deeply grateful to Glenn and to all those dedicated Teachers who have offered not only their words of support, but their hard work in making a new reality.
"Ok, Steve. It took me a few days, but I got it. The music in the STORMFilms™ opening tutorial is JIDAI. And please, feel free to use this testimonial.
Steve, I've been using your methods for a few years. But not to the extent of recent, mostly inspired by the STORMSummate. If you have the chance to go watch Steve work, or work with him, do it. You WILL be transformed; you will be energized and refreshed and so will your students.
As of this year, ALL students in grades 7-12 know all 15 major scales, thanks to SCALEWORKS™ and the process included therein. We practice 15 scales almost daily. The days we do not are spent working on specific scale challenges, be it playing all flats, all sharps, 3 flats and 3 sharps, or 4 and so on and up. We are exercising more creativity in our scale work than ever before, and it is showing up in the language used in the concert & jazz ensembles.
The FUNCTION CHORALES™ work we do has added a new dimension to our rehearsing as well, adding transposition at sight, intonation and tuning, creativity and musicianship to the warm-up process. No longer is warm-up "routine" (a DANGEROUS notion in music!). Using the FUNCTION CHORALES™ as a blueprint, we have explored the concepts of modality, poly-tonality, chord changes and improvisation, transposition, musicianship and creation. Student musicians now are beginning to develop a keen sense of musical reasoning. In one instance, a group of 7th graders and I played a Function Chorale as a trumpet quartet. The resultant tones were absolutely fantastic.
Using RHYTHM Readers™ as a basis for musical thought in both ensemble and classroom music has really spurred the creative process and understanding of music. Students in 7th Grade Music have taken rhythmic dictation including examples in alternating meters: 5/4, 3/4, 6/4, and 9/8, 7/8, 5/8 and 3/8, and averaging scores of 80 or better.
At the University level, we are just beginning our journey, although the foundation was laid before them a year in advance. In a University that is NOT a music school, the concert band has begun to approach tuning and intonation the same way that a professional ensemble does, and is beginning to tackle similar challenges.
The use of PAD Bass, which until this year was used only in my public school job, and not in its ideal way (until this year) has transformed the sound of the ensemble. When tuning a 7-8 band from the bottom up, we hear such overtones that flutes can be heard... when none are playing. The smiles and giggles that happened in the flute section were immediate; all because the overtones that THEY would play were already sounding! This is the exact same approach to tuning that professionals use: listening for colors in the sound they want to hear. Yes, Resonant sound IS within the grasp of young students.
In short, the approaches used are NOT gimmicks that force the students into a corner to think a certain way. It is an approach that, when given creative application and careful thought, brings out of the students the inner musician that is inside of everyone. There are NO flashy pictures, no cartoon characters, no merchandising or silly pre-packaged and contrived, meaningless pandering. It all rests on the shoulders of the creative educator to bring about; but trusting in the music that Steve writes even into "exercises" brings about a transformation like no other music. Be prepared for "lesson books" to take a back seat to musicianship and creativity.
PS: I tried desperately to keep it to-the-point; there is so much more...
Then there is the Music. This Music is completely different from the typical "band music". It has depth, meaning and connection both to other works and the world; indeed the Universe around us. I have been approached after concerts where your Music in on the program by audience members (lately that's nearly every concert I have the privilege of conducting) who always allude to the same idea: they feel the Music very clearly. One audience member told me it made her toes curl and that she could not believe that these were 7th and 8th graders. Another said, "I laughed, I cried, I felt it all."
THIS is why people go to concerts; THIS is the purpose of all art: to make you feel, think and react, and to take those lessons and apply them to yourself. There is a definite lesson in all of Steve's Music that does lift one and give hope.
There is an energy created by his Music and the pedagogical approaches necessary to fully realize it. Each ensemble takes on that energy with tremendous drive.
There is a very interesting video on YouTube where John Corigliano is discussing the role of the composer in an address to the Pittsburg Symphony board, and how the symphony orchestra has evolved over the years. According to Mr. Corigliano, the contemporary orchestra dates to Mahler's time. There are no saxophones presently on consistent payrolls; and nearly no electronics used at all.
In contrast, Steve's Music, looks forward. He has, with the use of PAD Bass, voice sounds, harp sounds (most schools I know do not have harp players, so most will need to synthesize them), and recently, the innovative use of video, creating new forms entirely, in such works as LAST WORLD STANDING & THAT WE MIGHT LIVE, to pre-recorded sounds as in OUR TIME as a SONG in the UNIVERSE and The UNIVERSE BELOW broken ground and explored areas not explored by "commercial" composers.
From its inception, with part distribution on CD-ROM, STORMWORKS has been ahead of the curve by a good decade. This is the breath of fresh air needed in todays music world. With arts organizations beginning to experience financial difficulty, and so many classical concert goers having "white hair", it is now left to the younger generation to become supporters of the arts. Music with meaning (such as Stephen Melillo's) does much to create this future audience. His is Music for its own sake, not created to fill a contractual need or pre-determined output with specified borders and boundaries." Glenn Roberts, Lisbon Central School & St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY
"The whole thing (referencing LAST WORLD STANDING) was beyond description. Just healing and love and grief and regret and joy and gratitude - I could even say your music reflects our human condition with all its imperfections while also encouraging it to the most noble expression of itself. Your music makes one want to stretch in the direction of perfection even as we admit our deepest flaws." Hope Fitzgerald, Audience
"Dear Steve, I hope, You remember Your trip to Austria feeling good. Now I have some days off and time for thinking about what has happened. It was like a miracle: with You there are so many impulses for our efforts playing music – or better living music! Thank You very much for these professional tips! But there is even much more than growing competence – there is a deeper connection to music from heart – and now there is more wisdom for becoming a good man. I have got some deeply impressing feedback to our concert in Brucknerhaus: for example:
a) Now I am going to concerts for 30 years – but this concert is on the top of all concerts I have ever heard.
b) Thank You for this concert. Tears are in my eyes and I hope, that everyone hearing this concert is changed now. Thank You for showing us our responsibility for peace and I hope, that the people will think about it.
c) Your concert touched me in my soul – it was much more than a concert!" Karl Geroldinger, Conductor Sinfonischen Blasorchester Ried.
"Dear Mr Melillo, Thanks for your great, lyric, powerful musical eloquence ... it's quite elysian! You've owned with your works a new musical dimension ... a light never seen before! Thanks and best regards from Germany, Osnarück!" Jens Schröer
"Thanks! Your music and mission. The voice with which you speak has truly been and will continue to be an inspiration to me. It has reminded me of what is true, right, noble, and noteworthy about what we do and WHY we do it. No words could suffice to describe what an inspiration, motivation, and yes... sometimes even a kick in the pants it has been." Larry Barnett, Teacher
"Why is it that the precious few beautiful moments that occur at middle school always involve a piece of Stephen Melillo's music? A Song in the Universe is just glorious. Genuinely awe-filled and awe-inspiring. And there's nothing my students love more than to perform a "Massive Fist-Clenching Ritard"! Judy Voois, Fugett MS, West Chester, PA
"Hi Steve! On tuesday I rehearsed (correct english?) with my band with the PAD bass and just after few minutes I and many of the musicians could hear the perfect fifth playing only C. This is a great thing, and so they start to hear and listen what they are playing! I would thank you an other time for your teaching." Giovanni Bruni, Italia
"Steve: I want to thank you for making my last concert as a concert band conductor one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It obviously couldn't have happened without you. No other composer's music would have sufficed for me to take all that I was feeling and the kids were feeling, and make it not a performance but a monument. Please know this. I will say it again: No other composer's music would have sufficed. Not just would have been appropriate, or useful, or any other word...the art, the life, you pour into your work was vitally necessary for this to have taken place. You provided us with the vehicle to go where we needed and wanted to go. For that I will be eternally grateful to you." Jeff Waggoner, one of the commissioners of Last World Standing
"Steve, I talked to the audience a bit before we played CUBA. As you know, you are well known here, so the audience was expecting something big and powerful. And they got it. It was a tremendous concert to a capacity audience. The applause, yelling and screaming from the crowd, which began about 5 seconds after the "Cuba's" D major triad was concluded with the lone timpani note, was something I wish you could have heard and I will remember forever. All I can say is THANKS! We are so fortunate to have you and your unique approach to the world of wind bands. From the heart and from the Cal Poly Wind Ensemble." Dr. William Johnson, Cal Poly Tech, San Luis Obispo, CA
"Stephen, Thank you so much for sending us the CD Chapter 5:8 Writings on the Wall... That was incredibly kind of you... After that phenomenal experience with our son playing in your New York Conference All-State Band last month in Rochester, I started listening to the other tracks on Wait of the World, A Walk on the Water and now the most powerful and epic Writings on the Wall... (That work is musical theatre in the truest sense!) I have to tell you that in as much as we enjoyed the very dramatic pieces that were played at all-state, I discovered that there are also dozens of other exquisite pieces in these three compilations... As a matter of fact, I want to order the whole Stormworks series! The more I hear the music, the more I hear it! It is beyond awesome!!! In this music, I hear a rare spirituality that has awakened me in a profound way. There is a soulful, poignancy in all of the melodies - an unfulfillable longing that leaves me breathless in its incredible beauty. The music is like a journey... It is a parallel to life... You never know what's coming next or when you will suddenly find yourself at the edge of the precipice...or at the gates of Heaven... It is all fresh, original and full of hope, glory, pain, sorrow, joy - all of the elements of life! You have made me a Stephen Melillo fan for life! I can't wait to hear what's coming next!!! All best wishes," Laurel Bern - "band mom", dancer and music lover
"Every September I ask my brand new 6th grade students if they have ever heard a concert band perform. They all roll their eyes and say "Duh!" Then I play "Once More Unto the Breach" for them. At the conclusion, after they stop applauding and cheering wildly, I ask them if they have ever heard a concert band sound LIKE THAT. They all shake their head incredulously and say "No." Then I ask them, "Why not?" And they invariably reply, "Because we never played music LIKE THAT!" To which I quietly reply, 'Well, you're going to now -- welcome to MY band program." And we're off! You just need to give them something meaningful and fulfilling to care about -- like your music." Judy Voois, Middle School Teacher, West Chester, PA
"Steve! I just wanted to write and thank you again for all that you've contributed to the music ed world. Between your methods and those of our friend Sir Edward Lisk, this has been a truly remarkable year for my bands! Less than three weeks into my daily rehearsals and the groups are tuning so well that they're getting the overtones to sound! I've been rendering By Love Compelled... with my 9th grade band. The levels of teachable music are astounding. I even took your suggestion about relating the music to the literature the english classes are reading. When I told them this music was "heroic like Atticus Finch" (every 9th grader just finished the book) the sound clicked! So thanks again for everything. And be on the lookout for a PO from Lower Merion HS for Escape From Plato's Cave - I can't wait to turn my advanced wind ensemble onto the same piece that introduced me to the world of stormworks! Sincerely", Aaron Datsko, PA
"Stephen's new CD, Chapter 5:8 "Writings on the Wall is indeed a historic groundbreaking album and a total artistic triumph. The Japanese military band and American voices superbly deliver a phenomenal performance of music that is at once gripping and spellbinding! From the moving mega work Kakehashi to the great uplifting rendition of God Bless America this double CD set is packed with masterworks. Cuba skillfully weaves music which creates two distinct atmospheres - one of the fun party nature of Tropicana - like casinos and the other of the oppression of the island's present dictatorial regime. Melillo migrates back and forth between these two moods with absolute musical mastery and with the full command of all his instrumental resources. The Violin Concerto, on the other hand, symbolizes the utmost in modern Romanticism. It is an outstanding expressive work which puts the violin through a myriad of expressive and technical paths. Bravo to Melillo on this fantastic achievement!" Aldo Rafael Forte, Composer
"Steve, We rendered "That We Might Live" last night. It was amazing! Your music was the central piece for the evenings performance, which included works like: Mendelssohn's War March of the Priests, Grieg's Funeral March, Sousa's Semper Fidelis...among others. The concert was even more special for me, because last night was the first time that the students rendered this piece of music without it being an "academic" pursuit. Finally, they just "let go" and chose to simply embrace the music.....it brought out truly powerful emotions for me and the audience. It was like something just clicked with the orchestra....and all of a sudden they all realized simultaneously what this music was really about. You should have heard both the horn and violin soli near the beginning of the piece......my heart melted! Thank you so much for writing music that is not only REAL, but challenges our students to be sensitive, caring, and thoughtful individuals." Scott Hensil Orchestra Director- AP Music Theory CB West HS & CB South HS
"I am proud to tell that The Bispehaugen Symphonic Band won the first section in the Norwegian Championship with Wait of the World. Thank You for writing music that inspired both me and the musicians in the band to give of ourselves." Tomas Carstensen
"In the concert, when we played all the pieces without breaks, the difference between your music and the other music we played was so huge. Your music and the other ones were really two different worlds. I would like to live in the world, in which your music would be playing!!!!" Petra Buchmann, Germany
"Your rendition of my Danzas Brillantes with the 2006 New Mexico All-State Concert Band is simply fantastic. You captured every nuance in the piece and so much more. The excitement of the outer movements comes through with the utmost energy and you navigate through the wide changes in mood of the second movement seamlessly and with the utmost artistic expression. Your performance is a great tribute to the memory of Maria Diaz to whom this work is dedicated. You led this wonderful group of musicians in a magnificent way. Melillo, you are a superb musician of the highest order! - Aldo Rafael Forte, Composer
"We now have students wanting to write their own function chorales! I know this has happened at other schools, but I felt it was necessary to continue the story of how great these are. We rendered the first student's chorale affectionately entitled "Godspeed" yesterday. I since received "A Mighty Forbidden Fortress" and "In School Suspension". These are all settings of theory class projects, but they have really grabbed the students. I thank you for the gift of them and please know they are being put to excellent use. Also, thanks for the new clarinet player! Now you may ask what do I mean? The students have been trying to convince a 9th grade girl who felt she was too busy for band to join. I finally decided to get involved after some research and invited her to spend a period with us. The lesson plan included "By Love Compelled" I spent our time warming up etc. and did an in-depth rehearsal on By Love...never coming close to the end. (It was very good too! That is another story) Needless to say we did not finish, but the girl (right in front of the podium) looked up and said "But I need to know how it ends!" To which I replied "That is the next rehearsal." She is with us now." David Knott, Bishop MCDevitt High School, Harrisburg, PA
"Hello Steve, STORMWORKS...Chapter 5:8 WRITINGS on the WALL was heard. It was very wonderful. It is full of the gratitude for the thing that Steve thought of the thing of my hometown so much. Thank you really! KAKEHASHI was very impressed. The thing that there is no border in music has been transmitted very well through this music. The favorite my is best CONCERTO for VIOLIN and GOD BLESS AMERICA and MUSASHI. Impression was very received. This work collection will really become Steve's highest masterpiece. It is the highest masterpiece in me. Thank you really for the elegant gift: Shinya Tagawa, in JAPAN
"Dear Steve, We did MUSASHI 5 times since May, and we feel increasing our fascination and love for this extraordinary music. We played Musashi at World Music Contest in Kerkrade last Sunday. The audience was moved on and electrified, we got standing ovations. This Music is to touch the souls and to inspire people." Karl Geroldinger, Conductor of SBO-Ried, Austria
"Steve, words cannot express the soaring emotions which one experiences when hearing this monumental work. You deserve the Medal of Freedom for this piece of patriotism, especially for your success in having the spirited cooperation of a once-despised and brutal enemy. I salute you, Sir!" Joseph R. Priestley, LCDR, USN (Ret.) Served in WWII, Korea & Vietnam
“Your Music is so beautiful, but it is more than beautiful. It is not for European or America or Japan, but for whole world.” Ms. Satsuki Miya, Ms. Rieko Suzuki's agent... after recording the Concerto for Violin on 17 May 2005
"Steve-san, I heard "FURUSATO" in a car today. I am very splendid! It was the atmosphere that a totally Japanese composer arranged. You understand Japan from the heart. Wonderful!!!" Taku Karasuyama, Nagasaki City Symphonic Band Conductor
"And now I see that you are to music what Winston Churchill was to British WW II politics, a man of destiny, though others may or may not see that; I see it and hear it when you do your work." Sue Pumphreys, a parent who attended the Alabama All-State Concert of 24 April 2004.
"How can anyone put to music–make something good–of such deeply suffered events so memorably cruel, so personally humiliating, so heart-breaking to survivors and the families of those sacrificed? “It can’t be done,” repeatedly said author Dorothy Aldrich, survivor Jack Aldrich and others who felt the pathos or personally endured the then-seemingly-unending event. “It’s impossible,” they said, when he told them what he intended to do. And for the first time, that weekend in April 2004, they came, they saw and they learned that Melillo could do and successfully did do the impossible." From the Jan Girand Article: MISSION POSSIBLE
"So many people approached me to say they could not believe the sound of the ensemble, the emotion conveyed through the music and the overall quality produced by Penndale’s Middle School Wind Ensemble. We played Haiku #14, Time in the Balance and By Love Compelled as our part of the program. My Mom was in attendance at the concert last night – the first she has been able to make in 7 or 8 years. She thought the music was breathtaking. In her words…by the middle of the Haiku, she was in tears and by the time we were in the middle of By Love Compelled…at the hour of shadows she said she just could not possibly cry anymore and that she was just plain out of breath due to the beauty of the music." Beth Sokolowski, Penndale Middle School, PA
"As an introduction to your truly unique writing for wind groups, I used Truefire! on our Holiday Concert a couple of weeks ago. It was the hit of the concert. The audience response was tremendous and the aftermath was incredible. Since we live in a small community, I often see parents at the store, etc. Without exception, they all made a point of telling me how much the loved Truefire!" Scott Humphries, Covington, VA
"I just wanted to tell you that a group of Norwegian band children under my baton performed nine movements from Stormquest on Aug. 3. The performance found place in Bø in Telemark. They had been on a band camp from Monday and had about 10 full band rehearsals to prepare. After some struggle to get things going I was amazed at how well they were able to give a moving performance of the selected movements. One of their favourite movements was Time in the Balance. This music really works! I hope to bring some of your music to a bandcamp in Finnland next summer. Thank for writing really good music for younger people!" Hilsen Egil J. Lysebo, Norway
"Last night, I rendered Search for Truefire and By Love Compelled with this year's Symphony. I came away even more awestruck and amazed than last year. Your music is such an inspiration for the kids (and for me) At the end, I stood on the podium with such respect for what the kids had accomplished. I turned around to announce the next piece and suddenly realized that I was unable to talk because of the lump in my throat. The kids rendered the pieces with such intensity, love, and total giving... I wish with all my heart that more orchestra teachers discover your music and have the opportunity to experience what I had the privilege of being a part of last night. Thank you! Again!" Scott Hensil, Pennsylvania
"Mr. Melillo, I first became acquainted with Stormworks during my freshman year in high school. While I am now a junior in college, that single work is the most memorable piece of music for wind ensemble I have ever heard. I have the Stormworks I CD, and virtually every track on it is incredible! For me, your music has lived well beyond the concert hall and CD player. It has become a literal soundtrack for life and living in general! I can't wait to hear Stormworks III and V! Thank you so much for sharing your vision and testament with the world." Kelsie Jackson Junior Music Major, Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, Texas.
"O Steve, there were really funny and great things with your pieces: I did "Time in the Balance!" with my youth-band, the kids are about 12 and 13 years old. I wrote a 20/8 measure on the board and explained the rhythm "ta-mh-mh-ta-mh-mh" and so on.... and the kids could play the piece!! That was unbelievable for me!! The next concert of this band is at the end of November, but "Time in the Balance!" is for the concert in January. But the kids don´t want to play the pieces for November-concert - they want only play this "cool new piece"!! Thank you!" Andreas Grandl, Germany
"I received the Chapter "0" CD today and I'm listening in amazement as I try to prepare tomorrow's lesson plans. I'll be better at what I do by just having this fabulous music in my ear!!! Wonderful sounds!!! When I received Chapter 0 today, I also received a double CD set from another well-known publisher. This new series is supposed to "rekindle your imagination". It does... I can't imagine how anyone would try and sell this dribble!! In this one little corner of the world, YOU have raised the bar for what band music CAN be! I've become much more particular about I what I buy for my kids to play. I hold up the Melillo yardstick, and if what I want to try doesn't at least come to the bottom edge, I let somebody else spend their money foolishly!" Tom Tapscott, Rossview HS, Clarksville, Tennessee
"Seeing and hearing you work with the students at the Four States Bandmasters Clinic was nothing short of a religious experience. Once upon a time, I was a passionate, young band director. Then there came Purchase orders, inventories, UIL contests, masters degree, etc... and somewhere what I had dreamed of doing since I was 15 became just a job. Now I remember what this is all about. I went to school with a new lease on life today. Thank you!" T. Jon Kelly, Hooks IDS, Texas
"The majesty of Melillo's music is something that has moved me beyond my thoughts of being the best. I got the chance to watch him rehearse a band this past weekend (4-States-Texarkana) and I have never been more inspired to do "good" and to make music, than I was that day. I want to personally thank Mr. Melillo for that inspiration." Robert Browning, Waxahachie, Texas
"Stephen, a word about the Function Chorales. The kids became so successful at the process that for 2 years we've moved away from a tuner. At first this was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done. After the new kids learned the system the pay off was huge! I moved and began using this process with the new kids. They had a tuner stuck in their face by a previous director to the point where every student was required to own a tuner. I had a copy of your Basic Change and started using this choral. My colleagues are amazed whenever I tell them we don't use tuners. Students are beginning to understand that tuning goes much further than tuning one note. They are beginning to understand that all notes must be constantly tuned over time within the ensemble (horizontally & vertically)... something the tuner can not do." Brian Ellis, Shelby County, KY
"All of your compositions are great teaching tools for each group that we have playing them this year. In addition to sounding great, they also have an enormous amount of educational content. Our high school band rendered The Fountainhead earlier this year, and it was one of the most remarkable concerts I have been part of since graduating college. When we were done, the audience was in a state of shock. The emotions that the kids played with completely overtook the audience. It was a remarkable experience for all that were present. I wanted to let you know that your music has made a tremendous impact on all of my students. Thank you so much." Colin Kading
"I want you to know that your methods and ideals for instrumental music pedagogy have had a profound effect on my ensembles. Since August, we have implemented the PAD Bass into all facets of our daily rehearsal routine. It is now not uncommon for me to hear overtones when the students tune themselves, and my bands are finally achieving a characteristic sound that has eluded me for the first six years of my career." Ron Fussell, Mastricola Middle School
"Hi Stephen - I received your teaching tools DVD recently, and have been using your methods in all of my classes. I cannot believe how much I am able to teach in such a short period of time. There is no way that there is a more efficient way to teach than your methods. I have always dreamed of the day when I would be able to teach music without spending hours of rehearsal time re-teaching rhythm, reminding students of fingerings, and re-explaining key signatures." Nathan Beutler, Sidney Public Schools, NE
"As I listen to your CD's, it's amazing to know and think that this music can be played by a high school band or younger. When I think of the future of my band program, I think of my students playing great music that will inspire them and teach them something new, both technically and emotionally. And your music has all of those components. Thank you for taking the lead and creating this music. I support you and all your efforts." Jacob Rogers, Flora High School, Flora, Illinois
"I have been following your music for about 3-4 years now, ever since I first heard it and subsequently did a research project for a Wind Band Literature course. Over the course of that time, I have tried Function Chorales, STORMQuest, and most recently Fountainhead and the Let's Find Out DVD. The music is very powerful, and very playable by ensembles at ALL levels. I teach grades 5-12. Last year I began making full use of the PAD Bass concept with Time in the Balance, and liked it so much that I use it now with ALL literature, and can't imagine not having it. Scaleworks and Rhythm Readers are without a doubt 2 of the most important components of my teaching repertoire. At ALL levels, they have proven time and again to be valuable, reliable, and meaningful to the KIDS as well as opening my eyes to see some things that I always knew were there, but never really noticed. The scores are LARGE size, which makes for very easy reading. I am especially moved by Steve's personal signature on every score and CD ordered. The kids really enjoy playing this music because it touches and speaks to them, and they feel that they are touching and speaking to their audience in a more direct manner. Who says sixth graders can't learn 15 keys? In short, I have been transformed by this approach, and my students have also. Thank you." Glenn Roberts, Lisbon, New York
"I have been listening non-stop to the CDs you had sent to me. Your music is nothing short of spellbinding; magical stories full of LIFE ENERGY that take me mentally to places I never knew existed. Thank you, my good friend, for giving me an entirely new perspective of the world." Peter Giles, Giles Communications
"Melillo is to wind music what Beethoven was to the symphony orchestra, and he follows a Beethovenesque design of increasing the musical tension almost to the breaking point, receding, and then reaching again. It is superlative musical craftsmanship and inspiring to hear." Marvin Sosna, Special to The Tribune. See Entire Review on "Aricles."
"Courage... at the Wall of Fire earlier ended up being one of the most profound and touching selections, on a program that included music by Beethoven, Mozart & Holst. Your piece touched the audience in a way that I can't describe. I was left breathless. It was possibly the best moment I've had as a director for the past 6 years." Scott Hensil, Orchestra Director, Central Bucks School District, PA
"The teaching suite materials are super; the concept of distributing music on CD ROM is SOOOOO sensible; and the quality of the music is inordinately high! I'm not accustomed to music with this much impact. Thanks again!!!" Tom Tapscott, Rossview High School
"Steve, having confidence in your system and my kids, we sight-read a piece on the concert last night and they did great. I am so proud of my kids and honored that they learned your system so well. It works!!! And scales? Grades 7-12 know all of their scales and can play them chromatically. We even made a 10 push-up bet that I couldn't teach them to play all of them in less than 15 minutes. 11 minutes in 7th grade, 8 in 8th grade. 9 for my high school. Your system is incredible." Stacy Briggs, Indiana
"On March 13 there was a concert of the Admiralty Navy Band where "David" was rendered. I am happy to advise you that it was very successful. The band and the audience liked the music so much and it impressed everybody! Before we played the music, I told the audience about the Touchstone. It is a pity you couldn't see it yourself. I'll send you the recording. Yours sincerely," Alexei Karabanov, Conductor, Russian Admiralty Navy Band
"Stephen Melillo's music has thrust open the doors to a whole new world of expression for the modern wind ensemble. He challenges us both as performer and listener, to reach deep within our self to experience the amazing emotional journey that is "STORMWORKS." Stephen truly composes with the heart of a child, sharing his soul with all who would listen. To know the music is to know the man. Stephen Melillo's music is not to be performed or heard... it is to be experienced!" M. Edward Nagel, Former Principal Horn, US Air Force Band of Flight and STORMPlayer. Premiers - AWIJP (1993) and Trilogy for Horn (1994)
"Your music is like a breath of fresh air! I got home last night and listened to all of your CD - WOW - It is most impressive! I surely do like your work. I think you are the brightest young talent on the scene. Those are just knockout works! Hope you got home in good shape and try to take a nap." W. Francis McBeth
"Without a doubt, Stephen Melillo MUST go out into our 'bandworld' and ignite a new fire of musical expression for our young musicians!! Your creativity, energy and imagination enters into areas of human expression where others hesitate to explore." Edward S. Lisk, Author, Clinician, Conductor, Past President, NBA
"It is always interesting to observe the difference in the momentum of the ensemble when the students rehearse or perform a work by Stephen Melillo. There is an definite 'connection' to his music that lifts the performer to a new level of expression. I don't know 'what it is,' but there is no question that something magical happens for the players, the listeners, and the conductor." Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser
"Stephen Melillo is a very exciting composer who knows how to create exhilarating new sounds and redefine the old ones. His music is electrifying!" Dr. Quincy Hilliard, Composer
"I find Stephen Melillo's music to be a fresh new voice in the wind repertoire. The music is exciting, colorful, and energetic; all in a 'classical' framework." Dr. Jack Stamp, Indiana University, Pennsylvania
"The European premiere of Stephen Melillo's DAVID was truly sensational! Performed by the Band of the Dutch Royal Marines in the prestigious Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Stephen's work was for me, the absolute highlight of the evening. His writing has a high 'goose bump factor' and for me, that is what music is all about. BRAVO!" Johan de Meij
"Without Warning is one of the most aptly titled works in our repertoire. Its exciting music leaps off the page and smacks the performers and audience squarely between the ears. And by the time the audience has recovered from experiencing this whirlwind of music, they're glad they chose to attend the concert rather than do anything else. Melillo is a potent composer full of engaging ideas and he possesses a wonderful craft... he knows what he's doing and he does it very well." Dr. Timothy Mahr
"Stephen Melillo is an extremely gifted and talented composer who writes music directly from the heart! He touches our musical souls in a special way." Anthony J. Maiello
"Too often, we are caught in the daily grind of deadlines, tension, and frustration, occasionally interrupted by brief fleeting moments of beauty, energy and order. Stephen Melillo offers a philosophy as well as a "greater meaning" to us all in the form of musical composition as well as fundamental approaches to music in general. A comprehension of these two things has helped me to better understand myself and the greater purpose behind what I have chosen to do with my days. As a result, my days are filled with beauty, energy, and order, occasionally interrupted by brief fleeting moments of deadlines, tension and frustration. Musically, an intensive relationship with Function Chorales (sharpen the axe) in tandem with inspiring literature has helped reduce the level of resistance within my classroom and has shortened the distance between my mind and the minds of my students. Thank you, Stephen." Anonymous
"Hello Stephen! As you may remember we first performed DAVID which drew rave reviews. There was such a demand that we repeated the performance this past spring! In 35 years of teaching, I have never been urged by an audience to do a repeat performance! That's a testament to you and your wonderful piece, DAVID." Dr. Charles Wood, Santa Barbara, California
"Upon hearing DAVID... just once... my students got together, and presented me with a check the very next day. 'Please get us that piece', they said. Your Music, because of its great depth, has allowed us to share very meaningful experiences together. Thank you so much." John Skelton, Dallas High School, Oregon
"The literature that we have played has ranged from ______, ____, _____, _____, to all of the great band classics (Holst, Gould, etc.) But never have I heard the sound and design quality of what I heard today. Today I received your STORMWORKS, STORMDirector packet and I am very excited to now be a STORMDirector. I just wanted to tell you that after listening to both your STORMWORKS Chapter One and your STORMQUEST CD's I have never heard such beautiful music. It is nice to hear someone with the educational attitude that you have. I think that there is no better way to educate our students than with the best possible available music. Yours is incredible." Barry Evans, Topeka West HS, Kansas
"The music of STORMWORKS is truly an instrument of inspiration for today's performers. Stephen Melillo allows us to share in wonderful, creative compositions, and at the same time explore our soul. I always marvel at the emotion that lies untouched in my bands until we play one of Stephen's pieces. Bill Pritchett, Muncie High School, Indiana
"This came from a band member writing to me. 'Another coworker said that during America the Brave, the sound that filled the room was so incredible, she wondered if that is what heaven sounds like.' (She really said that)." Dale Skornia, Western Nebraska University, Scottsbluff, Nebraska
"To: Western Nebraska Community College Board & Staff... Rarely in our lives does an opportunity present itself that goes far beyond the normal... a transcendental kind of experience that moves us, teaches us, transforms us. For musicians, that experience is not seen, but heard and felt. You brought us that experience in the form of Stephen Melillo, a professional whose caliber is rarely seen in schools of any size. I don't expect you to know or understand the kind of expression you brought to the musicians of this area. But... I thank you for the foresight, the guts, and probably just dumb luck as well, to have given us the opportunity to become artists for a little while." Sincerely, S. Tamarack, Bass Trombone.
"My experience in adjudicating and listening to young bands today is that most are attempting literature which is beyond their grasp, or they are playing watered down arrangements of some kind. Steve's STORMQUEST collection is the perfect answer. The Music is challenging, but very playable. It invites, no, INSISTS on emotional/musical expression. It is original and makes young bands sound great. Steve... I really love your new STORMQUEST collection. I recommended it to at least a dozen bands at the last concert festival I judged in Massachusetts. Godspeed." Larry Lang, Commander/Conductor US Air Force Heritage of America Band
"Stephen, Yesterday we played Forbidden Fortress at junior high band contest. Parents told me afterwards that the judges were standing up, trying to figure out what various sounds coming from the percussion section were. When the piece was over, the audience went totally crazy, applauding and shouting. I have been to numerous contests over the past eleven years of teaching and have never had a response like this to a band, or to a piece of music. Both the judges and other band directors who heard our performance were asking, "where did you find that piece?" Our students were very excited about both their performance of the piece and the reaction that they received. Thank you again, for writing music like this that takes away any stigma from the phrase,'junior high band music' ". George Caton, Havana Junior High School, Havana, Illinois
"If Music is Love in search of a Word, then Stephen Melillo's Music is the Voice of Endearment." Jeffrey M. Fudale, Director of Bands at Berea High School, Ohio
"It has been very hectic here but I am writing to let you know that DAVID was great on Sunday. We had a superb performance and the audience was stunned. We programmed DAVID last and when we finished it was dead silent!!! I mean silent. I stood in awe and realized that I would have to turn around. And then the applause was incredible. That Mel swell of musical reaction to another piece which had "touched" every listener and then as I turned back to the Wind Symphony, they too were in tears. Their tears were the power of the music, their knowing you and your love for music, and yes the power of the drama and emotion that is DAVID. I just can't tell you what a thrill it was to perform DAVID. It is a tremendous piece and worth every moment of time from the first glance of score prep through rehearsal and yes the concert!!! Al Sergel III, Director of Bands, Northwest Missouri State University
"No, Steve... YOU SAY IT BEST .... through your gift of inspired music and teaching." Phil Min, Vestavia Hills High School, Alabama
"Stephen Melillo's concepts of teaching tuning, scales, balance and dynamics made me a believer. His ideas of band sound, texture and color will be the way of the 21st century. I highly endorse and recommend "STORM" Works to any serious band director at any level." Barry Wentz, Director of Bands, Alpena High School, Michigan
"Steve's Music is sincere. It speaks from the heart, and is always expertly crafted. Steve's clinics are indeed highly emotional and artistically uplifting experiences. His appearance on any campus will highly invigorate any music program. Whether through his music or through his conducting, he always speaks in a very individual and original voice." Aldo Rafael Forte, Composer
"Steve, I will have to tell you that the performances we had of David on tour and at our Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music were especially musical and emotional experiences for ensemble and audience alike. I look forward to doing it again! Dr. Robert Spradling, Western Michigan University
"Wow! I am a believer in what you are doing! The passion, excitement, uniqueness, musicality - and also fun, practicality and educational worth to be found in your creative work is all quite impressive. A very sincere and hearty thanks from me to you! During the past several months I have been using your Function Chorales in daily rehearsals with my students, and have found them to be a significant and essential tool in my teaching. The students have found them helpful and interesting, especially for understanding balance and intonation issues across the entire ensemble. I really believe that my students are better ensemble musicians as a result of the versatile ways these chorales can be used to help students understand scoring, balance and intonation, as well as practical theory applications, and transferring these specific concepts to the music we are rehearsing. Function Chorales are an incredible innovation and indispensable learning tool for me and my students. Thank you! In addition, we have thoroughly enjoyed performing Stormworks! Your writing is distinctive, beautiful and exciting! We look forward to exploring many more of your unique compositions! Sincerely." Steve Olsen, Eden Prairie High School, Minnesota
"We performed David! on our most recent Wind Symphony Tour. Not only did the piece provide a musical and spiritual center to our concert program, but the response from audiences was tremendous. The music moved people... like great music should. The time spent rehearsing and preparing the piece was rewarding, which led to an enriching and uplifting experience during each performance." Brian Lamb, Director of Instrumental Studies, Southwest Baptist University
"I am amazed at how accessible the music of Stormworks can be. We performed Stormworks with a little over 2 weeks worth of rehearsal. The setup chart and rehearsal plan really work. Stephen, you have done music education a real service with your approach to composition.! I plan on making use of your music whenever I can!" Ron Davis, Marble Falls High School, Texas
"I'm glad to be a part of promoting some of the best music written for bands today. The music of Stephen Melillo is so incredibly emotional. It draws the students and the audience into the music to such a degree that when the performance is completed everyone is disappointed that it ended so quickly. My band has performed several selections by this fine composer and they are always thrilled when we are going to rehearse one of his works because of the interest and excitement in each piece. Every composition by this composer is truly an expression of love of music and its importance in today's world. Audiences, students and directors will always be pleased by the music of this composer." Marshall C. Kimball, Marietta Senior High School, Ohio
"You will not be able to simply teach, play, or conduct Steve's music. Upon experiencing it you will be pulled into a musical world that is unlike any other. His music has driven my students AND myself to perform at emotional levels we did not even know existed! My sincere thanks for what YOU have done for us!" Mickey Stisher, LaPorte High School, Indiana
"Dear Stephen, The experience of preparing and performing compositions from STORMQUEST has provided enrichment, enlightenment and, most of all, excitement for me and my students. All music is didactic music, for it all has something to teach us. Your musical sharings provide so much more than the usual, dry, cookie-cutter, 'by the publisher's rules' type of compositions. Maybe that is why you have struck such a chord with so many people. For you - the MUSIC is the rule. Keep up the work and vision." John Spitler, Moultrie Middle School, Mt. Pleasant, SC
"I was introduced to Stormworks Music via Stephen Melillo's Without Warning - An Overture for the Uncommon Band and was thoroughly impressed with the excitement the music generated. This is music for the musicians and the audience. John F. Maltester, Los Medanos College, Pittsburg, California
"Steve, We have been playing GIVING for almost two months now, just on and off, and if the kids had their way, we'd keep playing for the next two years! They absolutely love it! (However, I've assured them that there are plenty more STORMWORKS for us to tackle in the future) Since our performance of GIVING my phone is consistently ringing with questions about you. No one in this area has played STORMMUSIC before. And so, when I started working on GIVING, I wanted so much for the kids to like it. I wanted them to get the same goose bumps that STORMWORKS gives me! Not knowing how to make them like it, I just let the music speak for itself. We read it straight through one time, no stops. It was rusty. I spent the next several minutes talking about how to perform STORMWORKS effectively. I also read the dedication to them, and explained what it meant to me (being a student of Dr. Joe's and all!) We read it again. WOW! It was amazing! I had never felt so moved on the podium before! And as the last chord resolved and the sound died away, something "magical" happened, and every one of their faces just lit up with joy and excitement. I knew then that they felt the way I do about your music! Godspeed!" Chris Day, Assistant Graduate Conductor, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
"I need to tell you that you have a new fan club at Central Cambria High School. In one short day, my band program was rejuvenated by your music!! I passed out "Courage... at the Wall of Fire" and "Revenge of the Darkseekers" and minutes later the band was on fire! The sounds that they were getting, not only excited me, but more importantly, excited them. A student raised a hand and proclaimed "Let's scrap the rest of the folder and do all 15 movements of STORMQUEST"! Of course, as much as I would have liked to do the same, it was not educationally sound! We performed those two movements at our Winter Concert, to great acclaim from parents and community members." Tom Nagy, Edensburg, Pennsylvania
(On Function Chorales & SCALEWORKS) "Now the important stuff. My kids think that I've completely lost all common sense. We've been sharpening our ax and (here's a news flash) IT WORKS!!!! I've been energized. My kids, although they think I'm crazy now, also know that they can do this stuff. I set them up pretty good. I told them what they were going to be able to do in a few minutes and most of them said "Yeah, right." Within a few minutes it was with great pleasure that I said, "See, I told you so!" I wish I would have video taped their faces. You could just see the lights go on in not only my brightest students but more importantly those struggling students. I could just see them say to themselves, "He's right. I CAN do this." Feel free to use me as a reference. I'm ready to go do clinics about this method. I'm a true believer. My email address if you would care to post it is - email@example.com. THANKS and Godspeed to you!" Wes Russell, Joliet, Illinois
"Function Chorales are in regular usage with our 6 concert bands and Naperville North High School. We play them, sing them, even play them on slide whistles with the top ensemble to develop the ear and remove the reliance they (we) have on our instruments. If it would be helpful for you to let others know that a "Midwest" band uses Function Chorales, please feel free to make everyone aware." Brian Wis, Naperville, Illinois
"Your music has made a profound effect on my middle school students. Playing the STORMQuest selections has brought out musical expression that didn't exist before. Just got home from our middle school concert. We did STORMQuest with our 8th grade band. The audience went nuts! On the same program we did C, H, S and S. The audience was polite. When we played your Music they felt the energy. The kids feel it too. Way to go! You have done it again! We all can't wait to explore the rest of STORMQuest!" Steve Dingledine, Muncie Indiana
"First I was just amazed at the synchronicity of arriving at work today (11/3/97) to the amazing sounds of STORMQuest, then I was blown away by the level of freakish focus and detailed creative insanity within the package, and now I lay here rendered useless by the overpowering amount of material and cutting edge nature of the Web Page (the sauce is on the stove and I'll take TWO of those cats!)." JP Kiernan, Bergenfield, New Jersey
"I would like to tell you how pleased we are with SCENES FROM STORMQUEST. The writing, the pace, the many emotional levels, and the textures all make up an exciting and educational score. It truly is a "quest" as we discover the many messages brought forth by the Music. After winning the state championship in 1996, I was concerned about how I could take my students to a new level - have them reach for a more lofty and worthy goal. You have made that possible. The kids at Mercer County High School have been truly blessed with an unforgettable experience." Rob Bryant, "newly converted STORMDirector ", Mercer County, Kentucky
"Just got back from band tour. We had a beautifully intense experience with Time in the Balance. Won everything there was to win and didn't care because the music was so much more important than anything else that was happening. One of the real peak experiences of my career. Basically, my entire band GOT IT simultaneously. Thanks in a large part to the passion, energy and strength of your music." Scott Rogers, Haukerod Skolecorps, Norway
"Recently, Stephen Melillo worked with my band. I had intended a clinic to be centered on his composition "Stormworks". It went from being a mere clinic to being one of the greatest musical experiences that the students in my band have ever had. Steve's charisma and presence were matched only by his energy, sincerity and love for music. He taught the kids what it means to play from the heart. He is a master teacher. His approach to teaching is refreshing and because of the way he is able to communicate, the students are instantly able to grasp many different musical concepts that were once beyond their comprehension. There were many other directors, administrators, and college students present at the clinic. They too were awestruck by Steve's innovative teaching approach, and the ground covered by the band in the short time that he worked with them. I have been using many of his methods for just two weeks now, and already there is a marked improvement in my students. I cannot begin to say enough about Steve. There are no words to describe what went on in my band hall. Stephen Melillo is not only a great composer, but one of the best teachers that I have ever known." Keith Riley ,Director of Band/Orchestra, Palo Duro High School, Amarillo, Texas
"I have been a teacher since 1976, and our ensembles have played with the best. No one has made an impression on our students, parents and community like this piece, THE FOUNTAINHEAD, and this man. I still feel like I know a lot less about music than I need to - but I know this: If in fact music REALLY IS what cannot be expressed with words... this man writes real music. Our premiere of The Fountainhead was the most powerful moment in time I have ever experienced. A performance that was "sold out" a full week in advance, a wonderful week of preparation with the composer that created an aura about the piece,interaction with a man - as a composer, a conductor and more importantly, a teacher - who believes intensely in his message, and as a result, captured the hearts and minds of the young people who were involved in the premiere. This was, and remains, the most powerful musical experience of my time as a teacher of music. When you want to do something your students will: learn from, love, practice, give their total hearts and souls to : play Steve's music. We all thank Steve for the special experience that, even three years later, remains intensely special to our students, our parents and our community." William Palange, Oswego High School, New York
"Steve, I met you at Villanova. WOW!!! I'm energized. Your music and teaching tools are just what I've been looking for. Ever since I got 'smacked in the face' with your Rhythm Readers and 15 Major Scales in 15 Minutes, my kids have been 'sharpening the axe' and having a blast! 1000 thank you's!" Frank C. Parker, Milford Middle School, Quakertown, Pennsylvania
"As I have told your before, if my soul was opened for all to see, there, they would find your Music." Mike Hoagland, Scottsburg, Indiana
"Happy Birthday to STORMWORKS. You're like the energizer bunny. You keep giving and giving and giving... Stephen Melillo does not write band music. He composes Music for band." Dr. Alfred E. Sergel III, Northwest Missouri State University
"The most emotionally INTENSE Music I have ever played is YOURS." Jon Pearce, Austin Road Elementary School
"I can't stand it. I've gotta have a CD!" Lt. Colonel Dell Holt
"Fine bands everywhere will relish these musical journeys into emotion, power, and excitement. My students are captivated by your creativity." Stephen L. Hand, Barbe High School, Lake Charles, LA
"... he's a passionate composer. You can hear that in his work." Lt. Col. Richard A. Shelton, Past Commander, USAF Band of Flight
"These works are truly unique... they don't sound like most 'band music'. I recommend them to you very highly." Dr. Johnnie Vinson, Auburn University, Alabama
"We are preparing a 2 movement work entitled UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS & INTO THE LIGHT OF DAY. Wonderful stuff!! My students beg me to rehearse! I even got excited and started studying scores again. Thank you Stephen Melillo for bringing a bright torch into the darkness of drab publications. This music will move you!" Mike Lee, Holma Carter Middle School, Blue Springs, Missouri
"Passionate, brilliant and visionary describe Stephen Melillo and his music. His music is intensely exciting, unique and beautiful. It's music that will inspire and educate. Commission him, play his music now... He's HOT!" Captain Larry H. Lang, Commander, The Heritage of America Band
"Seldom do you find a composer capable of communicating with such drive, passion and excitement. I look forward to each new venture with unabashed anticipation. In his music you will find elements to challenge your performers and bring your audience to emotional heights rarely attained." Robert A. Pouliot, "Stormworks" Premier Conductor
"I recently judged the Alabama Bandmasters Association State concert band festival and heard two bands perform Stormworks. I was absolutely enthralled. I believe it to be one of the truly refreshing new pieces for the band idiom." Dr. Bentley Shellahamer, Assistant Dean & Professor of M.Ed, Florida State University
"My students are eager to perform more Melillo works. They found Stormworks challenging and exciting... the audience was on its feet at its conclusion. And then I heard A WALK IN JURASSIC PARK... another Melillo blockbuster!" Dr. Ray E. Toler, Texas A&M Bands
"Steve, I have been a band director for 26 years. Your music has motivated my students to work harder on their parts than anything I have passed out for several years. We have an outstanding percussion section and those students also are challenged and motivated by your music." Martin Becker, Warsaw Bands, Indiana
"Relentless Energy! Sensitive Passion. Unyielding, Spine-Chilling Excitement! Stephen Melillo's music has affected my students and audiences like no other... no other." Keith Hodgson, Music Educator, Percussionist
"I have been a band director for 17 years and I have seldom experienced the excitement, energy and anticipation in my young musicians that your work inspires. It was a thrill to hear cars leaving the lot blasting your music instead of the latest MTV hit of the week. I can say with full confidence that in 25 years your music will top the list of music which has had the most impact on them. I feel that the most important impact is in building their confidence to take on a work that SOUNDS beyond their perceived ability level. I told the kids about A WALK IN JURASSIC PARK and they said, BRING IT ON! Maybe we've gotten too confident, BUT ISN'T THAT GREAT!" Randall Lamb, Newark HS Bands, Ohio
"We performed Stormworks at the Virginia Music Educator's conference this weekend and I've spent the entire morning writing letters to band directors who want to know how to purchase it!" Dr. Terry Austin, Professor of Music, Virginia Commonwealth University
"There once was a time when desiring to have my music students experience the pure passion of music, I would play examples of Brahms, Tchaikowski, and of course, Mahler. Now, when I wish my students to perform or listen to great lush romantic colors and textures, from an individual with a true relentless passion for music, I have them experience the Music of Stephen Melillo. From the simple and childlike, to the unbelievably sophisticated, Steve's music expresses the true dichotomy of music - true feelings & emotions with technical and aural challenges for any age of performer. I am honored to have premiered some of his music and even more grateful that I can call Steve a true friend. Bravo - and I can't wait until the next composition." G. James Miller III, Frank Scott Bunnell HS, Stratford CT.
"Dear Steve, Last year my 7th grade band played STORMQUEST. We played these at home concerts and city wide band festivals. The kids were excited by the music, the parents were very impressed, and everyone loved the music. I have found a large drawback though -- my band members DON'T WANT TO PLAY ANY OF THE TRADITIONAL BAND LITERATURE!! They could play STORMQUEST all class, all week, all year! Thanks for the great music!" Walter Coker, Gruening Middle School
"Stevo: Got you birthday presents. Your music is all I would ever want. Love Dad." Bruce Melillo (Steve's father)
"WOW!!! For the past three days, I have been listening to STORMWORKS, Chapter III every chance I get. OH MY GOD!!! ... it is incredible!!! I am certain, it is the finest band I have every heard!!! and the MUSIC... it is absolutely wonderful... so uplifting... so inspiring... so full of emotion... so much integrity... so much character! I cry... I shout... I laugh... I dream... I am blessed! You're music inspires me and gives me strength to BE the best I can be! THANK YOU for the MUSIC and for being YOU! WOW!!!!!!!!" Doug & Amy Fletcher
"Dear Steve, Last Monday evening, June 7, I conducted a concert in St. Petersburg, Russia, with the Russian Admiralty orchestra, a professional good military symphonic band. For this special occasion the orchestra was completed with many musicians from the top-Russian symphonic orchestras from St. Petersburg. The concert took place at the 'Philharmonie' the famous Russian concert hall where Strawinsky, Shostakovitch, Rimsky Korsakov and even Richard Wagner performed their premieres and other concerts. History can add one name to that list after last monday: STEPHEN MELILLO! With unbelievable success I conducted your Speech of Angels and David (with a 15 year old girl soprano, named Julia,who was absolutely super). They picked the title for the concert themselves Wait of the World (I sent them your CD!). Now listen to this: The word 'World' in the old Russian language (Mir) is synonymous for "Peace". So there it was on the huge billboards: WAIT OF PEACE. Congratulations my friend!" Maurice Hamers, Conductor, Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
"WOW!!! I am just so impressed and emotionally drained! Every moment of each work seems so inspired and yet the entire CD moves to the climax Wait of the World. You know that this is your best! Anyone who has experienced your music can feel hear and touch the additional inspiration of Melillo and this band and conductor. Congratulations and thank you! This CD should be a Grammy winner! I don't know how many you produced but it won't be enough!!! Just BRAVO!!!!! This is MUSIC... and it has touched the depths of my soul. I am not sure I could actually handle this live. It would overcome me for sure. Your music once again has lifted me and made me look up and realize the strength we receive from the light above." Al Sergel III
"What a joy ! Today I received Chapter III, your new CD. I immediately listened to the recording in its entirety. Steve, this is a moment where words will never suffice You are a "Gift" Your music IS "THE SPEECH of ANGELS!" Your message and soul are elevated so beautifully through the soaring lyrical lines and glorious harmonic moments! I sense and feel your presence moving through every measure and then exploding rhythmically punctuating your persistence, determination and a deliberate belief for the good that lies beyond! To experience this "vision of truth and integrity " is only possible through your compositions. You have given a very special "Gift" to so many student musicians and directors. Again, my thanks to you for the "special musical life" you have shared with me through your compositions and friendship. Dorie is "speechless" every time she listens to your music... she can't understand how all of this glorious expression continues with such a massive, intense, deep, powerful emotional "giving"...Godspeed!" Edward S. Lisk
"Dear Mr. Melillo, I want to congratulate you with this music, FANTASTIC!!!! And I fully agree with you that this Band is one of the world's finest ensembles! I am a big fan of them for years, and I've got all their CD's and LP's, but I was never so excited before! This is really a superb combination, your music played by this Band!! I hope there will be more to come... Thank You again," Jack N. Haasnoot, Buhrmann NV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
"The wait of the world is no more. Stormworks Chapter III: majestic, powerful, rich, mysterious, mischievous -- replete with discovery, magnificence, brilliance, resolution. Thank you, from the world." Norm Cheever, Band Parent
"Steve's music is on another level. After receiving Wait of the World, and listening to it time and time again (WOW!!!)... I am reminded of why I chose music education as my profession. The profound influence and impact of Steve and his music is the guiding force behind my passion. I am so anxious to have my students experience the sound and emotion that "IS" Steve Melillo. Thank you for all of your music and education." Brett Duchon, Stratford, Connecticut
"Wow. That's all I can say at the moment. I just finished listening to Chapter 3... Wow. That Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands is incredible. Please pass along my congratulations to that organization and their fine conductor. Your music never ceases to amaze me. This was also the first time I heard David... what an incredible piece of music. Thanks again." Tim Johnston
"It was PURE ECSTASY! You, Maurice and that band really have created pure beauty, you know." Andrew Fritzinger
"Steve, I'd like to give you a great compliment for your WAIT OF THE WORLD CD. As a member of the MBRNN (flute), you've no idea what's all behind you, while playing. I am impressed by the sound of our orchestra. I've never heard it before like this till this recording (is this a military band??). Our musicians have the same feeling: they are proud they recorded this statue of New-generation-music. I hope you are a little satisfied with this product. I am sure your music will be discovered!" Kindly regards with respect, Nathan Hol, Flute MBRNN
"I heard your CD. WOW! You are truly gifted. All great composers must also be great orchestrators. You're like the Ravel of our time. You make the wind and percussion medium sound the absolute best!" Scott Nelson, Shenandoah University
Notes from parents on the piece, A SENDING All verbatim quotes from audience members!
"That piece grabbed me at the beginning and didn't let me go."
"Where did you find the person that can write music like THIS?!"
"I was totally unprepared for what I was about to hear... then, WOW!"
"I was taken in by it all, and was totally absorbed in what I was listening to."
"That song couldn't have been written more beautifully."
"I hope you play more music by this man, because he has something to say,
and I can tell the kids in the band are communicating it; it got to me."
"To find music with that emotional and spiritual content, yet technically accessible to young (even ordinary) musicians, came as a surprise. This, if I understand it, is your mission. BRAVO! Thank you for a powerful evening. Middle school kids don't often have the opportunity to feel the power of music as prayer, as emotions poured through an instrument. They don't often get to feel the emotions of suddenly discovering that THEY are the instrument, through which occasionally something incredibly powerful can be brought to life. I would have never thought it possible to be moved to tears at an 8th grade concert. I feel blessed to have been present." David Herman, Parent from Davis Middle School
"This is one small part of a big world that is beginning to really embrace your music! All my best." Todd Stalter, Eureka, Illinois
"Steve: Rehearsed "By Love Compelled..." This piece should be played by EVERY junior high and high school band in the country. It is one of the most *musical* pieces at that grade level I've ever heard! I thought maybe the high school kids wouldn't respond to the StormQuest stuff so well, thinking they were beyond it. That has not been their reaction at all, as I'm sure you know from other experiences with other bands! *I* wasn't sure (I have to be pretty solidly convinced of things, seeing and hearing on my own) until I started working on the pieces. Your music doesn't *sound* like other music they've played, from inside the ensemble as well as from the front. It's making them listen to each other more already. We read the last section of "Aurora" first, since that's what we had duplicated first. It went very well at the first reading, and is very accessible technically while requiring listening and musicality. We'll read the rest on Monday. More and more, other things in a school setting interfere with our teaching. We need music that will involve the student and help them push the distractions out of their minds. I always tell student teachers that their most challenging task as educators is to choose appropriate literature for their bands. Your music is doing all of that. Keep up the good work! " Jeff Waggoner, Music Department Chair. Hinsdale Central High School
"It has been some time since I picked up a trumpet. In fact, it has been years since I was in high school band. Since then, I've joined the military and have done a lot of things and seen a lot of places. Mostly, I've heard a lot of music, ranging from opera to punk to country to ska. However, nothing I have listened to can come close to the intensity and the passion of your music. Thank you, Mr Melillo, for making my high school years be memorable and rewarding. Sincerely," Kevin S. Miller, ET2/SS, USN, USS Miami (SSN 755)
"Dear Sir; Recently I ordered the CD from you containing "Angels", "David", etc. Well . . . .I am glad it is a CD and NOT an old style LP, for I would worn out an LP long ago!!!!!!!!! It is so wonderful! Can't stop playing it over and over! Thank you for giving us those compositions, and we so enjoy this CD of the Netherlands group with your Stormworks III selections. There is just something in those compositions that is gripping, electrifying, deep. I can't get the "Touchstone" out of my musical memory! Thanks again! Hope we can hear more groups in the Midwest perform your works. Sincerely," Rev. Jerry A. Hanson
"I must say that your music is simply extraordinary. My students have fallen in love with the recordings you sent. Becoming an OSD has been the best move I have made in my teaching career. This is my sixth year of teaching, and I am grateful for the valuable resource you have become in our field. By the way, The Speech of Angels may be the most beautiful music I have ever heard. Certainly, it is the most inspirational! God Bless. Thank you! Respectfully," Jamie Birdwell
"Oh there will be a tremor...thats for sure...by your Music...breaking the walls within our hearts that hide us from the beautiful!" Walter Avellaneda, Composer of the Future
"Stephen, Last year we rendered The StormQuest, Journey Through Shadowood, and Time in the Balance. This year (February 7th actually) my band is preparing Revenge of the Darkseekers, Courage at the Wall of Fire, The Search for TrueFire, and Forbidden Fortress. Your pieces have helped me "push" my students toward a higher level of musical awareness." Al Homicz 7th 8th Grade VIKING Band, Upper Merion Area Middle School, PA.
"Hello Steve, I just finished a rehearsal and had to email you. I took over an elementary band program this year. The previous director taught everything by rote. Needless to say learning the new concert music was rough at best. I have been persistent about not using rote teaching and insistent about using Rhythm Readers. At first the kids were very resistant to this new method. The sixth grade just finished rehearsing a section of a piece with complex 8th note/8th rest patterns and multiple parts. Twice through and they had it!! They are very excited and I am much happier!! Thanks for the great materials and ideas!!" Jeff Kitzman Elementary Bands School District of Cudahy