Gladde Music Publications
~ The Choral Music of Bradley Nelson ~

Musical Mentors
Vol.2 - December 1, 1998

Don Hubler


Each of us can measure our musical journey by distinct "markings" imprinted upon our lives. We have not arrived at our current pre-occupations in music without influence from teachers. Mentors have pushed us, pulled us, cajoled, coerced, and dangled carrots before us in irresistable ways that gave us forward momentum. Most of us can cite two or three people who changed the course of our budding musicianship, sometimes many more.

One such mentor in my life was Don Hubler (and his steadfast wife, Maxine), my high school choral director (Grossmont High School, San Diego, California). Somehow during my sophomore year in high school, I was attracted to this man's inspiring and wonderfully-focused choral program. He was not only an extremely capable teacher and musician, but he was a wonderful human being! He ventured into study halls and persuaded bored teenage boys to give singing a try. He sought out student athletes and government leaders, enhancing the image of the choral program. He taught us theory, sight-singing, and ear-training in dynamic, relevant ways. Our choral warm-ups were never academic or "stock" - they were crafted from our current literature and equipped us with technical skills to sing effectively. We were good and we were proud!  (Don't you each feel that way about your high school choir?)

In a spirit of Thanksgiving gratitude and gift-giving this Holiday Season, I want to share with you a letter that I sent a few weeks ago to my high school "musical mentor" in celebration of his 80th birthday -

Dear Don and Maxine,

Happy 80th birthday to Don!!! Unbelievable!!!

As you know, Don Harvie informed many of us of your upcoming birthday. For weeks, I've wondered what I could do to convey not only congratulations, but my deep regard and tribute for your influence in my life. I couldn't think of anything more appropriate than dedicating some of my work to both of you. I remember as if it were yesterday how you encouraged me to arrange piano accompaniments, sparking my lifelong desire to compose. Throughout my graduate studies, I learned how to write for band, orchestra, and all mediums. But I always knew I would end up where I am today - composing choral music. It began at Grossmont with you.

I left my church position a bit over three years ago. Merryl became choir director at Granite Hills High School six years ago, succeeding Ray Murphy. She has 180 kids singing in five choirs. It's the largest choral program in the Grossmont school district. I may be prejudiced, but her program is one of the best in the Grossmont district. The values that motivate her program and my composing are built on the foundation of values learned from you, not only in terms of musicianship and programming, but in terms of influencing and investing in the lives of students.

I work full time at writing. I publish with five choral publishers, but two months ago I began my own publishing company - Gladde Music Publications. I've created a website where people can see and hear all of my music. I've designed the website so that it's highly accessible. I think others might be copying this technology in the future. It is the easiest way available for choral directors to evaluate new music. If Don Harvie or someone else with access to the internet can show you my site (maybe you're online already?), I think you'd really enjoy viewing it.

In closing, I'm dedicating two choral pieces to both of you. Gladde Things is the signature piece for the creation of my new publishing company. It's being premiered next month at Houston Baptist University and at Granite Hills. When You Are Old is a more personal statement from me to you. The text by W.B.Yeats is eloquent and brings you to mind with great affection. It will be published by Lawson-Gould next year in New York. I've printed out new title pages for you that incorporate the dedications. I'm including a few additional pieces released this year. Hope you enjoy seeing them.

You will always remain in my heart with deep love and appreciation.


Brad Nelson
President, Red Robe Choir '67-'68

I encourage each of you to express gratitude to one of your musical mentors. It may mean as much to them as they have meant to you!
~ December 1, 1998

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