Jason Bergman reflects on his experience playing trumpet on “John Williams at the Movies”
Before moving to Utah and joining the BYU music faculty in August 2018, Jason Bergman was asked to play the trumpet for a Dallas Winds concert series celebrating the music of John Williams. Those performances were followed by special recording sessions, the fruits of which were later released as an album — an album that is now up for two Grammy Awards.
Playing with the Dallas Winds is a distinguished accomplishment in its own right; the Texas ensemble, under the leadership of Jerry Junkin, is the top professional civilian wind band in the country and has a rich history of releasing critically acclaimed recordings and inspiring young musicians.
Bergman was one such musician. “I grew up in Dallas and attended their concerts regularly when I was younger,” he said. “It was a dream come true to be able to perform frequently with them when I returned to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in 2015.”
Bergman’s most recent experience with the ensemble was a historic event for the music world. The use of John Williams’ music has long been tightly monitored, and the Dallas Winds performances showcased the first official band arrangements of many of the beloved film composer’s iconic pieces, including themes from “Star Wars,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Superman” and the Olympics. The arrangements, all by Paul Lavender, were approved by Williams himself.
The Dallas Winds album, titled “John Williams at the Movies,” is the first of several installments of the newly official arrangements. Bergman hopes that their efforts will serve to honor a culturally impactful career.
“John Williams is an American treasure and one of our most celebrated composers,” Bergman said. “His music has impacted millions of people around the world and has made certain movies iconic for all time. He’s also a generous and kind person. I have performed his music countless times, but one of the most special performances was an entire concert of his music with him conducting. I’ll never forget that concert, nor his kindness to the musicians.”
The crowning achievement of the John Williams celebration is the Dallas Winds’ Grammy nomination in the categories of Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Classical Compendium, the latter of which is awarded to the performing musicians on an album. The Grammy winners will be announced on Feb. 10.
“The Grammy Awards represent one of the highest forms of recognition in music,” said Bergman. “Having the chance to perform on a recording that has been nominated for two Grammy Awards is a true honor. I feel especially honored to have been a guest in the wonderful Dallas Winds and to work with such amazing colleagues.”
“Most of all, I’m happy that the organization itself is recognized again as a leader in artistic excellence in the country,” he continued. “They deserve it. The Dallas Winds is a group of musicians who are committed to their goals and mission. They sacrifice to bring great music to so many diverse audiences in Dallas, and to the world through their recordings. It’s wonderful for them to be recognized in this way.”