There is no better way for a musician to learn a new song than by working with its composer. That statement recently proved true for the Liverpool High School Concert Band Orange and music teacher Stephen Salem when they rehearsed with composer William Palange, a retired music teacher and band director from Oswego.
One of the songs on the concert band’s winter concert set list was Palange’s composition “Atlas,” which tells the story of a ship from the 1800s that sunk in Lake Ontario right before arriving in the port of Oswego. Prior to the concert, Palange spoke with the students about what inspired him to compose the song and gave them notes regarding how he envisioned it would be played.
During his 34-year teaching career, Palange taught in the Oswego, Jordan-Elbridge and Greece school districts. He holds a degree in music education from the University of Miami and continues to be very active as a guest conductor, composer and performer in Central New York. As a trombonist, he has performed for artists such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra Jr., Bernadette Peters, Marvin Hamlisch, The Temptations, Frankie Valli and Aretha Franklin. Palange was inducted into the New York State Field Band Conference Hall of Fame in 2015.