My Article

Originally posted 4/18/14

I recently had an article written about me. The article talks about my acceptance into the Western Michigan University All-Star band, as well as my compositions. I’ll copy the article onto this blog.

Visit the article here.

Kent City Musician Earns First Chair Spot in Western Michigan University Concert


Parker Fritz pulls out his alto saxophone and begins to play a jazzy melody, made up on the spot.The Kent City High School junior’s exceptional talent with the instrument and songwriting has
led him to become a standout musician on the school band and in performances across the state, said music director Jonathan Schnicke. He recently played first chair in the 46th annual Spring Conference on Wind and Percussion Music at Western Michigan University and earned a first division rating for his solo at the State Solo Ensemble Festival at Grandville High School.He was one of 120 Michigan high school students selected to join guest classical music composer John Mackey for the concert, during which they played Mackey’s song “Strange Humors.”

Parker, a long time fan of Mackey’s, said he was thrilled to be named first chair, a very competitive post.

His songwriting has also caught on with his classmates. Fellow band students recently performed his piece, “Spontaneous Moods for Trombone and Piano,” at the State Solo Ensemble.

“I love doing honors bands and music camps,” said Parker, who hopes to major in music  education in college and become a band director. He is the son of Ron and Kerry Fritz.

He began playing the saxophone is sixth grade and has attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He also plays piano.

“I’m very impressed with his grasp of music and composition style,” said Schnicke. “It’s exciting to see how he continues to develop.”

2014 Spring Conference

Originally posted on 4/18/14

Every year at Western Michigan University, the music program hosts a large music conference. The conference lasts all day and includes performances from guest high school bands, faculty ensembles, and an honors band. There is also a prominent guest composer present each year. In the past, composers such as Ticheli, Whitacre, Holsinger and Hazo have been the guest composer. This year it was my favorite modern composer John Mackey.

When I first heard about it, I was so excited to go, mostly because John Mackey would be there. The university symphonic band was going to play one of Mackey’s newest works, The Frozen Cathedral. No way was I going to pass up an opportunity to play in a great honors band and meet Mackey.

I sent in an audition CD. I played the first movement from Lunde’s saxophone sonata. It is a beautiful piece, but it is not well known. It was composed during the same time period as the famous saxophone sonata by Creston, and so it was neglected because the Creston was thought to be better. Anyway, I was lucky enough to get first chair!


Me and John Mackey shortly before the concert.
    In between honors bands rehearsals, guest high school bands performed. Several of Mackey’s pieces were played. The pieces I heard were (Redacted), Night on Fire, and The Ringmaster’s March.The final concert was the one I was looking foward to. The WMU Symphonic Band played The Frozen Cathedral, and it was beautiful. I think I have a new favorite band piece. After intermission, the honors band played (we were called the John Mackey All-Star Band). We played a Filmore march and then Mackey’s Strange Humors.In Strange Humors, I was asked to play soprano saxophone because I was first chair. I accepted and really enjoyed my part. It was interesting bouncing back and forth between soprano and alto sax. It was a pain to carry around both cases and a garment bag

Best Mackey quote of the night: “You guys are really good, damn.”

Dr. Boerma, WMU’s director of bands, conducted the final concert of the evening.

During the concert, Dr, Boerma asked the first chair players to stand and be recognized.

It was an amazing day. I got home at about 11:30 and I had to get up early the next day for Quiz Bowl state championships. Good times.

Special thanks to my mother and my band director for taking these photos.