Whale Songs

Program Notes
Whale Songs uses a combination of old technology and new technology to simulate whale song in the ocean in the first part and a guitar/trombone hybrid instrument over a drum track. The old technology is the trombone mouthpiece with a pickup drilled into it. This is attached to a converter built in the 1970s by VOX electronics, and can be plugged into an amplifier or a computer for additional effects. This allows for both the accoustic and electric sound of the instrument to be heard. This is similar to the setups used by Don Ellis and Miles Davis circa 1971-73. For the new technology, the trombone is plugged into a laptop using a digital interface and is altered by using vocal and guitar effects.

Biographical Sketch
Amanda McCullough (b. 1988) is a composer, trumpet player, and occasional saxophone player from Lincoln, Nebraska. Outside of electronic music, she frequently writes music for brass and wind ensemble. Often ethereal and dramatic, her music is inspired by metal, rock, and Mexican folk music. Her music has been played by Andrew White for Fifteen-Minutes-of-Fame and several CMS regional conferences, by Keith Benjamin, by Omaha Symphonic Winds, by the Derek J. Molacek group, and at past EMM festivals.

Originally from Topeka, Kansas, she studied trumpet at Washburn University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with Music Department honors in 2011, earning a BM in trumpet performance, a BA in music, and a minor in mathematics. After her graduation from Washburn, she relocated to Lincoln, where she studied composition at the University of Nebraska, earning a Masters of Music in Composition in 2013 under Dr. Eric Richards and a DMA in Composition under Dr. Tyler White in 2017.


Performer Biographical Sketch
Derek J. Molacek is a composer and arranger currently based out of Omaha, Nebraska. An established trombone player, he was previously a member of the USAF Band of the Golden West where he performed at the 2011 and 2012 Monterey Jazz Festivals. Derek earned his Bachelor’s from the University of Denver, and his Master’s from the University of North Texas, both with an emphasis in jazz studies. He recently earned his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Nebraska. Two of his pieces appear on the The Good Life, UNL Jazz Orchestra album.