Volume 1 of Band Masterworks: The Legacy of Miles H. Johnson contains performances extracted from live recordings of concerts that begin with Mity's first year at St. Olaf College in 1957-58 and continue through to his retirement concert in May 1994. Mity's sense for creative programming permeates this collection of recordings. Band Masterworks: The Legacy of Miles H. Johnson serves as a testament to the building of a band program over decades into one of international renown. At the heart of this endeavor was the music. As Mity would say, "It all starts with the music."
Many times Johnson expanded the wind band repertory with commission offers to composers he felt would contribute lasting works. Norwegian composer Egil Hovland's Fanfare og Koral and the Sinfonia Festiva of Arne Running represent these efforts in this collection. Mity also actively supported the efforts of composers at the start of their careers, as evidenced here by Daniel Wilshire's Child Thoughts, the American Fanfare of Sharon Moe Miranda, Timothy Mahr's Fantasia in G and the Fanfare Prelude: "O How Shall I Receive Thee" of J. Robert Hanson.
The review process in producing this volume entailed listening to recorded performances spanning a 37-year career. Miles Johnson's artistic vision and intense work ethic were found at the heart and soul of each work heard. Browsing through the nearly 375 recorded compositions was an amazing reaffirmation of Mity's important contribution to the life and mission of St. Olaf College, his humble service to the art of music and his strong belief that love was at the center of the experience.
-Timothy Mahr, '78