As a lifelong choral singer, I have a particular passion for choral composing. My choral music can be ordered through several publishers. I am always happy to accept commissions for new choral works.
more than love
When preparing to compose a new choral work, I began searching for poetry that would speak to my heart in a personal way. I asked my friend, the wonderful choral director Ken Davis, if he had any ideas, and he told me that I had to check out the ancient poetry of Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks. I immediately started reading through as much Rumi poetry as I could, and found many of the writings to connect with me emotionally. Mr. Barks graciously gave me permission to set his translations, and I selected ‘In the Arc of Your Mallet’ as my text. The words conjured musical elements—melodies, textures, harmonies—so easily, that writing the piece was pure joy, and was quick work. As soon as I found this particular poem, I knew that I would dedicate the composition to my wife Laura; if you read the text you’ll know why.
'Scotia Songs,' was composed on a commission from the Texas Christian University School of Music (Richard Gipson, director), for the TCU Concert Chorale. The collection uses Scottish folk poetry and tunes, and traces a love story from the perspective of a man who must ultimately leave his beloved Scottish homeland. In ‘The Lily and the Rose,’ the man describes his lover in two different, but related poems that have been textually and musically interwoven. ‘Kelvin Grove’ finds the lovers preparing to escape to their favorite getaway; yet in the final verse we realize that he must soon leave both his lover and his home. ‘Loch Lomond,’ a well-loved and moving tune, is set here as a reminiscence of the love he had, for now his heart is broken. In the final song, ‘My Heart’s in the Highlands,’ Burns’ poetry is set to an original tune; the man connects with images of the Highlands from his past, for although he is no longer there, his heart remains in his home country. The love story in four movements follows the passion for his lost love, but also the attachment to his cherished homeland. The choral cycle exists in two versions: SATB chorus, vibraphone, marimba, two percussion; and SATB chorus, piano, and two percussion.
Salut au monde
'Salut au monde': Less than one week before beginning my first semester teaching at Texas Christian University (August, 2007), I received a phone call that my best friend from high school and his wife had been killed in a car accident. I was devastated. One month earlier I had begun composing a choral piece with text by Walt Whitman; the text is patriotic, but literally holds its arms open to the World. The spirit of the words complemented the personality of the friend I had lost, and so I dedicated 'Salut au monde' to Ron Woods. The piece can be purchased through GIA Publications at http://www.giamusic.com/search_details.cfm?title_id=21084.
the lord to me a shepherd is
'The Lord to Me a Shepherd Is' was written with the choir at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church (Fort Worth, TX) in mind. With the help of my friend Mark Scott, I found a text that was simple and familiar, and I tried to create melodic lines that complemented that feel. Composed for SATB Chorus and organ, the work uses the old English version of the well-known Psalm 23, taken from the Bay Psalm Book, the first publication from the Colonies. The piece can be purchased though GIA Publications at http://www.giamusic.com/search_details.cfm?title_id=20425
the city in the sea
My friend Ethan Sperry, who was conducting the Men's Glee Club at Miami of Ohio University at the time, asked me to write a rousing piece for his group; the result was 'The City in the Sea,' with text by Edger Allan Poe. The work (TTBB with piano) is bookended by third-related chords, and moves through various key areas as it follows the powerful emotions of the poem. It also exists in an SATB with piano format. The piece can be purchased through ECS Publishing at http://www.canticledistributing.com/the-city-in-the-sea.html.
Originally, the SATB and organ (or piano) 'Jubilate Deo' was intended as a song for baritone and soprano, which was to be sung at my sister's wedding. I liked the song so much that I expanded it to the choral form it's in today. For this piece, I wrote in a style similar to Benjamin Britten's choral works, which I had been singing in choir at the time. The organ plays a fanfare-like series of chords which acts as the musical glue between choral entrances. I also have a version that includes brass instruments for this piece. 'Jubilate Deo' can be purchased through ECS Publishing at http://www.canticledistributing.com/jubilate-deo-praise-the-lord.html.