YSU Dana School Provides Orchestration for Super Bowl Pregame

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — They say there’s a Youngstown connection just about everywhere, and this year’s Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta is no exception.

More than two dozen alumni, faculty, staff and student musicians from Youngstown State University’s Dana School of Music are providing the musical orchestration for the singing of America the Beautiful during Super Bowl pregame ceremonies in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday.

“We’re so excited to know that music performed by our students and faculty will be heard by millions across the globe. I can’t wait for the game,” said Randall Goldberg, Dana director.

Added Phyllis Paul, dean of the YSU Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication: “It is truly an honor to have Dana featured in such a prominent way on the world stage. It is yet another example of the international quality of our students, alums and faculty.”

The Dana School of Music was approached about recording the music by Derek Dixie, a Youngstown native and former Dana School of Music student. Dixie, along with co-arranger/orchestrator and pianist Victoria Theodore, are arranging and orchestrating America the Beautiful for the pregame ceremonies.

For the orchestration, Dixie hired a small Los Angeles horn and string ensemble and also reached out to Stephen Gage, YSU director of bands, who put together a group of 28 Dana musicians. A full recording session was conducted Jan. 11 in Stambaugh Auditorium.

“The budgets for things like this are not endless,” Dixie said. “Employing 40-plus musicians can get expensive very fast. I didn’t want to cut corners for this arrangement and just use computer programming. It was important to me that it was done right.

“To lessen the financial blow,” Dixie continued, “I pulled in favors from a few LA players that I know, and to get the full orchestration, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to shine light on my hometown and use talent from the university. I knew Dr. Gage would get me the people needed. He’s always been about excellence. Youngstown as a whole is focused on excellence. Some of the hardest-working, well-rounded and capable people come from the city. I’m glad the world will again be able to experience the product of Youngstown on a national platform via the Super Bowl.”

“The end result, he said, “is a beautiful, emotionally-charged arrangement that I hope my hometown can be proud of.”

YSU’s Dana School of Music, celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the United States. The school’s faculty and students annually perform more than 100 concerts, recitals and other events across the region, nation and world, including some of the country’s most elite venues like Carnegie Hall in New York.

The school’s alums include Grammy Award musicians and Hall of Fame song writers, musicians performing in orchestras, opera companies and other ensembles, and teachers in conservatories, universities and primary and secondary schools throughout the nation.


Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.