It seems a lot of good things have come together at once. Yesterday I got to meet the students from the William and Mary Choir -- and their outstanding director Dr. James Armstrong -- who took my "Angele Dei" on tour this spring. They are excellent and brought beautiful blend and musicianship to this piece. Best was several telling me how much they loved singing it and have requested repeated performances, including an impromptu rendition in the Princeton Chapel. This is what composers live for -- people bringing our page scribblings to life in a splendid artistic symbiosis. The same day I met with a fabulous teacher -- Anne Provencher of George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, VA -- about two new folksong arrangements they will premiere in May. Again, the joy of musical discovery and the commitment to craft are powerful. Meanwhile, I'm adding another state to my checklist -- Voces Novae in Bloomington, Indiana (lots of good musicians there!) scheduled "Ruben and Rachel" for their innovative concert schedule. I'm also working with senior citizen singers and various church choirs on new and old compositions, so it's a busy time. Finally, J.W. Pepper will start offering hard-copy octavos of my most popular choral pieces in April, in addition to Art of Sound Music's expanding catalog of my instrumental and other works. it's appropriate, that all these great developments come at the same time as spring flowers are starting to bloom!
|Looking Back and Ahead |
Today I'm thinking of the past and the future. This year marked the 30th anniversary of my joining the U.S. Foreign Service. Posted to Lima, I ended up directing a church choir, getting drawn back to music and starting a second career as a composer. Much has happened since. Ten years ago I built a website and organized my catalog. Subsequently, I registered as a local business, upgraded the site, produced recordings, researched scores and joined Facebook, while composing lots. Best of all I got to work with wonderful musicians in many states and countries who brought my work to life. I am blessed truly and grateful! Having recently moved on from the Service (consider me "rewired" rather than retired), I am thrilled to have more time for composition and study. One result was a fabulous week with American composer-legend Alice Parker. "Come Away To The Skies" grew from that inspiration and will premiere in a few weeks. For Advent/Christmas, I arranged the "Besançon Carol" for organ, produced a two-voice setting of "Yule, Yule" and published a previous "Jesu Bambino." Today, the Stuttgart German American Chorus under Thomas Carter premiered "Ero Cras: The O Antiphons" for SATB and organ, one of my longest works to date. This commission was completely his idea and I think we're all happy with the result. And recently the William and Mary Choir (C. Paul Heins, conductor) chose "Angele Dei" as the piece from their fall repertoire to reprise in December. These students' vote of confidence means a lot to me! So here's wishing all of you the very best for the holiday season and for 2015. The new year and its possibilities are exciting! More about them soon...