Garrett Breeze

Brock Keiper (Show Choir Arrangers You Should Know)

Brock Keiper is a freelance music arranger and educator in the suburbs of Chicago and earned his Music Education degree from Elmhurst College. Currently Brock serves as the show choir combo director at Naperville North High School and works as a competition adjudicator and guest clinician with many show choir combos around the midwest.

As an arranger, Brock has written show choir charts for more than two hundred show choirs across the country.  Brock was the recipient of the Best Arranger Aspire Award at the 2016 and 2017 Fame National Show Choir Finals.

1. Please describe your basic setup.  (Your technical setup as well as the physical space that you work in.)
I’m not a huge tech person, so my setup is pretty basic.  I use Sibelius and work on an iMac.  I’ve got a Yamaha MX61 keyboard that I play everything through – it’s a cheap lightweight keyboard that is that same that we used at NNHS, which is why I got one at home to match, so I could choose patches and stuff at home.  I’ve got a pair of KRK Rockit 10 monitors that are way too big for the space—That’s basically it for tech setup.  My office is a corner bedroom that we knew would be my office when we remodeled the house so we put in hardwood floors and painted one wall navy blue with my logo in vinyl letters to make it feel more official – ha!  I also love working outside on the deck in the summer for a change of scenery and to enjoy the weather! 
2. What is your process for brainstorming or inspiration-seeking as you start a new arrangement?

I wish I had a fancy answer for this one, too, but really my process is as soon as I’m asked to arrange a particular tune it goes into a playlist that I listen to in the car and in my office when I’m doing administrative things so the ideas can start forming in my head immediately.  Then when I sit down to write the chart, I’ve already got things brewing and it helps speed up the process.  Sometimes the director/choreographer has done a very detailed job laying out the arrangement for me to fit their vision, sometimes I get a few bullet points of things to include, sometimes I just get a song title and just do my thing—I’m comfortable working in each of those scenarios. 

3. What is your go-to snack and/or drink when arranging?
Coffee in the morning is a must for me.  I also drink a lot of Iced Tea in the summer.  For snacks, I love trail mix and I’m a big fan of sour candy – things like sour patch kids or jolly ranchers—although I try not to eat too much of that stuff. 
4. What is one thing you wish you would have known when you started arranging?
Honestly, I wish I would’ve known how important the business side of things was and have educated myself on that stuff a bit more.  I am not a business-minded person at all by nature, so that was—and still can continue to be sometimes—a struggle for me.  It was shocking to me how much of my workday is spent doing things other than actually arranging music!
5. What is your favorite shortcut or time-saving trick in your notation software?
In Sibelius you can highlight a beat, a measure, 8 bars—any amount of music—and hit the ‘R’ key to repeat it – this is a time saver.  I also use the numeric keys to add harmony a ton by highlighting a note and just hitting the number key that represents the interval you want to add above the note (or below the note with the shift key).  I can write measures of music without even touching the trackpad, and I love that, although when people watch me work they have no idea what’s going on 🙂 
6. What is a favorite arrangement of yours?

This is a tough question.  I have so many that I would consider favorites. I will go with my first favorite, which is an opener arrangement of I Surrender by Celine Dion I wrote for a community group I was on the staff of in 2002-2003.  We used that chart with our group for a competition season, and the very next year Scott Thorne bought the arrangement to use with his varsity group in Homewood, Alabama and it was the first time I ever sold an arrangement to a ‘big’ group.  Over the course of the next decade I sold that arrangement more than 30 times to groups all over the country and the journey with that arrangement was just really special and I’m sure that’s why that one sticks out in my brain.  I am in the process of revising and recording it this Spring to just hopefully give it some new life for the 20th Anniversary of the chart.  Here is a link to Homewood’s performance of that arrangement from back in 2004:

7. How can people get ahold of you?

Website: bmkmusic.com

Email: brock@bmkmusic.com

Facebook: bmkmusic

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Garrett Breeze

COMPOSER, ARRANGER

Garrett Breeze is a Nashville-based composer and arranger whose credits include film and television, Broadway stars, Grammy-winning classical artists, and many of the top school music programs in the U.S.

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