Poulsen’s ‘Heartland Poem’ to be performed at Yankee Doodle Pops

Poulsen's 'Heartland Poem' to be performed at Yankee Doodle Pops

by Alicia CarloStaff Writer

Instructor of Music James Poulsen will have his newest orchestral piece, “Heartland Poem,” performed at Yankee Doodle Pops in Des Moines on July 2 by the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra.

Poulsen composed “Heartland Poem” about a year ago after he was first commissioned to write a piece for the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. One of his oldest friends, Neal Robinson, had donated the most for the commission in memory of his parents.

“He wanted it in Des Moines and knew it had a good chance to be performed,” Poulsen said.

The piece was world premiered by the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 25, 2008.

Junior Sonya Nielsen attended the opening night and said that it was a different experience than others.

“It was great being around people who did not know Jamie,” Nielsen said. “Hearing the comments they were making kind of put Simpson on the map.”

Nielsen found the title to be true. She said that she could hear the parts that just reminded her of the Midwest and she liked that.

“It was different from what I’ve studied in class,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen also thought was good for Poulsen to have been the one to compose the piece. She said that he was really humble about it and she thought he was going to make some sort of joke when he came to the stage to talk about the piece.

“It was pretty cool knowing the professor I had in class wrote the piece,” Nielsen said.

“Heartland Poem” is a symphonic poem. It is one movement and around 12 minutes long. When Poulsen began composing it, he had the main theme in his head for about 20 years.

Poulsen said that whenever he goes into writing any kind of piece, he normally goes in with a bunch of things in his head that he may write down.

Poulsen found that the piece had a heartland and Midwestern type when he began arranging it. He said that it is romantic at times, but also historical. He wanted to appeal to the audience as well.

Poulsen didn’t originally think about “Heartland Poem” being performed at Yankee Doodle Pops, but that the conductor of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra brought it up.

Yankee Doodle Pops is an outdoor concert featuring symphonic pieces performed by the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. It is a free concert performed at the Iowa State Capital West Terrace. The concert begins at 8:30 p.m. and concludes the night with a fireworks display.

Poulsen is very excited for the piece to be played in this kind of setting.

Last year’s concert had over 100,000 people in attendance, according to the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra Web site.

Senior Jacob Kaufman is a regular attendant at the Yankee Doodle Pops event and thinks it will be special this year knowing a fellow Simpson person is there.

“The pops concert is usually pretty amazing,” Kaufman said. “It will be really neat to know that some of the music I’m listening to was written by someone on the same campus as myself.”

Poulsen believes his piece will really fit in with the theme of the whole concert and thinks that the concert is a really great place for Iowans to hear classical music in a fun environment.

“It is a great Iowa thing,” Poulsen said. “It is a great bit of Americana.”