Schrader Receives WSMA Award for Musical Composition


Kylie Callaway, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Senior Alex Schrader recently received an honorable mention award from the WSMA  for a musical piece he composed called The Final Fantasy Suite. This piece consists of seven songs: “Opening,” “Fight On,” “Jenova,” “Those Who Fight,” “Victory Theme,” “Aerith’s Theme” and “One-Winged Angel.”

Which one is his favorite?

“It is probably, ‘One-Winged Angel,’ which is the finale,” said Schrader, who

has been playing the euphonium since middle school. 

He has played under Band Director Steve Johnson for four years at NDA.  Johnson, of course, is proud to see Schrader win this honor. The senior plans to pursue a minor in music and possibly make a career out of it. 

Schrader, who enjoys the soundtrack of video games, acknowledges composing is a challenge that not many individuals are willing to take on. Indeed, over the past few years, Schrader is the only NDA musician who has taken this challenge. Composing an arrangement takes a lot of time. You need to understand the capabilities of every instrument and have an idea of instrumental combinations.

“You cannot really quantify how different it is to arrange versus playing. Playing you can learn your own instrument and do what you want with it. Composing you need to know every instrument that you are writing for, which is infinitely harder. It’s hard enough to learn one and even harder still to learn all of them,” said Schrader.

There are many difficulties not only in arranging a piece but also conducting. There are always difficult parts and parts that are easier. However, Schrader’s arrangement has brought a wonderful challenge to the band. 

The hardest thing is probably the amount of time signature and stylistic changes involved,” noted Mr. Johnson.