University News

Composition by WIU Music Professor Part of New Documentary

October 12, 2020


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MACOMB, IL – An original composition by Western Illinois University Music Professor John Cooper will be featured in a documentary that debuts on YouTube Thursday, Oct. 15.

"The Governor of Forgottonia" composition is a tribute to Neal Gamm and his peaceful protests about the lack of funding western Illinois has received for road construction projects. The documentary, "People, Places, and Power: Fulton County Edition," was produced by Matt Meachum, of the Illinois Humanities Council.

"As a returning Vietnam veteran and theatre major at WIU, Gamm and others waged a battle to highlight this economic disparity by becoming the Governor of the region he called Forgottonia," said Cooper. "This history is a fascinating tale about the place in which we live."

Cooper wrote the piece for The Post 6 Big Band while he was on sabbatical. It was then re-arranged for a quintet and singer, which is how it was recorded for the documentary.

"The Jazz Faculty at Western and I recorded the project in isolation and I assembled each person's part into the recording because of the COVID crisis," said Cooper. Collaborating on the recording used for the documentary are Cooper, composer, trumpet and producer; Instructor Whitney Ashe, piano; Assistant Professor George Turner, guitar; Assistant Professor Matt Hughes, bass; Associate Professor Kevin Nichols, drums; and WIU senior jazz studies student Yoseph Henry, of Chicago, singer.

The documentary will premiere at 7 p.m. Thursday at youtube.com/user/ILHumanitiesCouncil.


Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (JK-Pospeschil@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations