A taste of success USD professorâ�?�?s music winds up on a national commercial By Mike Keitges
Yankton Media, Inc. A new national advertising campaign has a local flavor, or rather a local sound, as a piece of music recently composed by a University Of South Dakota professor is featured prominently in its advertisements. Angelâ�?�?s Dances, a 2005 composition by USD associate music professor Stephen Yarbrough, plays front and center in a campaign promoting Welchâ�?�?s Grape Juice and the productâ�?�?s â�?�?â�?Mighty Concord Grape.â�? â�?�?(My reaction) was wonder, astonishment, delight … a sense of â�?�?Wow, how on earth did they choose my music?â�?�?â�? he said. â�?�?It was a fabulous feeling, one of gratitude that they used my music.â�? The ad campaign, starting with the ad â�?�?The Powerful Polyphenol,â�? began airing Nov. 10 and stars popular Food Network personality Alton Brown, who first attracted a loyal following with the unorthodox cooking show Good Eats, and now additionally appears on several shows for the network. Yarbrough, who has been a professor at USD for 27 years, said he feels the theme of the campaign works well with both his composition and the unique talents of Brown. He said he had never heard of the Food Network star until recently, but now has become a fan. Yarbrough has additionally received positive feedback from his peers concerning his role in the campaign. â�?�?Thereâ�?�?s a sense of pride that someone from USD did something like this nationwide,â�? he said. Angelâ�?�?s Dances was originally developed by Yarbrough as a â�?�?Christmas presentâ�? for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra. He was inspired, he said, by a book he always reads to his family during the holiday season. â�?�?Thereâ�?�?s a two-page spread where angels are flying around. Itâ�?�?s such a beautiful image,â�? Yarbrough said. â�?�?I was also writing for a holiday concert, so (the composition) had to be Christmas-themed.â�? Yarbrough was contacted by the Via Group of Portland, ME, one of the top 100 advertising, marketing and communication agencies in the U.S., about licensing the composition after a representative listened to a 2007 compilation CD of his work, which included the song, and thought it would work perfectly for the campaign. �? Shocked and surprised by the offer, Yarbrough quickly agreed to offer the song. After consulting several people around the advertising industry, he decided to charge a $5,000 licensing fee â�?�? what he says is the average licensing cost for a 15-to 30-second advertisement. The license is set to expire in a year and can be stopped or extended at any time. â�?�?You want your money to be up front, because you donâ�?�?t know if the ad is going to be a flop and just stop playing,â�? he said. Yarbrough will receive no residuals directly from the campaign itself. But as a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) he receives residuals based on the number of times his music is played. Yarbrough continues to write and compose regularly, with his compositions receiving both area and national acclaim. In September, he flew to Washington DC to see the premiere of his composition Dakota Diary, a 17-minute set with each movement describing an aspect of South Dakota. It was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra. â�?�?I thought it was a joy,â�? Yarbrough said. â�?�?It was the best way my music has even been played … flawless play. It was a real treat.â�? He also premiered three new pieces in September and has composed Hymn Of The Nativity for the upcoming Christmas at the Cathedral concert in Sioux Falls. â�?�?The Powerful Polyphenolâ�? advertisement and other related ads featuring Angelâ�?�?s Dances can be viewed on Welchâ�?�?s Web site at http://www.welchs.com.
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