music

Student's new arrangement of alma mater debuts at NJPAC

Michael Lucas StrotherMichael Lucas Strother, a Mason Gross grad and a DMA candidate, is known among the faculty as “the John Williams of Mason Gross.” The affectionate nickname is a nod to Strother’s gift for crafting lush, cinematic scores in the vein of the composer of scores for Jaws, the Star Wars saga and the Indiana Jones films, among others.

In October 2010, Strother applied his magic to a performance by the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra, Rutgers University Glee Club, and the Voorhees, Kirkpatrick and Rutgers University choirs at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Strother provided an epic arrangement of the Rutgers alma mater, aka On the Banks of the Old Raritan, for the launch of the university’s $1 billion capital campaign, Our Rutgers, Our Future: Campaign For Excellence. Strother reportedly hoped to craft a bold score that would marshal a full orchestra and chorus—more than 250 voices in total—to complement the performance of Carl Orff’s grand Carmina Burana, which concluded the concert.

Judging from the audience’s sustained ovation, Strother succeeded.

Watch a video of Strother's arrangement for the NJPAC performance: