"Sierra Dawn," commissioned for the 2003 All-County High School Band by Rob Hovermale, coordinator of visual and performing arts for Washington County Public Schools, and the Washington County Board of Education, was well-received when performed at The Maryland Theatre during that performance. Mogensen played his French horn during the band's premiere of the composition.
It has since been performed by the Hagerstown Municipal Band, the Baltimore County and Montgomery County High School Honor Bands, as well as a high school band in Parkersburg, W.Va. Musicians at James Madison University will play it in April, Mogensen said.
This year's All-County High School Orchestra, under the direction of Guest Conductor Elizabeth Schulze, conductor of the Maryland Symphony, also performed the debut of another Mogensen original, "Quest for the Grail," at its concert in January. The piece also was commissioned by Hovermale and the Washington County Board of Education.
In all, Mogensen has written six compositions for full band or orchestra, and other songs and smaller pieces, he said. He adds that he's not a prolific composer, instead preferring to take his time to "try to make each one special."
Mogensen became acquainted with Harlan Parker, conductor of The Peabody Wind Ensemble and coordinator of the Music Education Division at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, because Parker was guest conductor for the 2003 All-County High School Honor Band. As a result, the two have become friends and Mogensen said Parker has helped him a lot.
An original band composition written by Mogensen, "Afterglow: Light Still Shining," will be performed at Peabody in the future. Mogensen wrote it in memory of Robert Grab, a trumpeter, teacher and friend who died at the age of 43.
As for the recognition "Sierra Dawn" has received, Mogensen said, "It's nice to reach that goal and have some doors open for me."