“Practice, Practice Practice!”
That was one of the most frequent “podium rants” heard by Hiram musicians during the years 1984-93 that Professor Robert Fleming taught music and directed the concert bands at Hiram.
The rants must have worked, because the Hiram College Concert Band, including alumni band members who were his students and some high school players, will dedicate a portion of its March 28th spring concert to Fleming, who died Christmas Day, 2011. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. in Hayden Auditorium.
“He was tough,” said Rolf Remlinger ’85, one of Fleming’s former students, and now music director for the Delaware (OH) City Schools. “If you weren’t prepared, or or messed up, he definitely had no trouble letting you know about it in front of the entire band. It made you work harder and try to be the best you could.”
Ken Young, current interim director of bands for Hiram, and also a former student of Fleming’s when he led the ensembles at Youngstown State University, agreed. Young will lead the augmented concert band in the March 28th performance, and said the second half of the show will be music that Fleming loved and often had the bands perform when he held the baton.
“He loved Hoagy Carmichael, and so we’ll be doing a few tunes like ‘Stardust,’ and ‘The Nearness of You,'” he said. “He also loved marches, and would feature medleys of marches in his programs, so we’ll be doing marches too.”
All alumni of the band and students of Fleming are invited to join the concert band for the second half of the spring concert, and are invited to contact Young at KYOU297@aol.com if they want to participate. Alumni will rehearse at 6 p.m., with the concert to follow. The first half of the show will feature high school musicians from Lakeview, Cortland and Warren City Schools playing with the Hiram students.
“I suspect I wouldn’t be in the place I am now, had it not been for him (Fleming),” Remlinger said. “He was what Hiram needed at the time, and his tough attitude made you player harder. I got so much from him that I wanted to come back as an adjunct and taught for a while.”