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Here’s What I Did This Summer.
Among other things, it was a productive stretch of composing new choral music. These six pieces were written between May and July, and they will all have premieres before January 2017:
COME BACK FROM THE ECHOLESS SHORE for SATB and piano. Text by Elizabeth Akers Allen, commissioned by Brett Epperson and the Lincoln East Singers. Brett is an outstanding young conductor, and he is building a monster choral program at East High here in Lincoln. I’m so excited to work with them on this piece and accompany the premiere, which will be in November at the Nebraska Music Educators Association Conference.
HOLD FAST TO DREAMS for 3-part male chorus and piano. Text by Langston Hughes, commissioned by Sean Vogt and The Apollo Club of Minneapolis. I met Sean through our mutual friends Matt Oltman and Sean Burton. Sean asked me to compose an energetic, uplifting closer for the annual Northstar Choral Festival in the Twin Cities. The piece will premiere there in January, performed by a 300-voice choir of collegiate and high school men attending the festival.
MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE for SATB, piano and C instrument. Text from Psalm 100, commissioned by Jonathan Vevia and the adult choir at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bend, OR. Jon’s choir commissioned me to write a piece in honor of their Director of Church Music for her 40 years of music ministry. I won’t say her name here because the commission is a secret gift for her and the premiere performance in September will be a surprise!
A LAMB GOES UNCOMPLAINING FORTH: A Lenten Cantata for SATB, tenor soloist, string ensemble and organ. This is a seven-movement sacred work inspired by the traditional Bach Cantata model. I used English translations of the Gerhardt hymn, and text from Genesis 22 and Isaiah 53. This will be premiered by the Lincoln Lutheran Choir in November alongside new sacred music by my friends Kurt Knecht and Garrett Hope. I’ll post more about this exciting concert as it gets closer.
LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS for SATB unaccompanied, written for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln University Singers, conducted by Peter Eklund. I’ve been lucky to have Pete program some of my pieces for UNL’s excellent flagship choral ensemble, but it’s usually been loud and fast music. I told him I wanted to send him a piece that was quiet and lush and beautiful for them to sing this fall, and he said to go for it. This one will also be premiered at the NMEA conference in November.
FLOOD THE GOLD EARTH for SATB and piano, written for the Concordia University A Cappella Choir, conducted by Kurt von Kampen. I’ve written quite a few pieces for my Dad’s choir in the last 10 years, but this one might be my favorite. This has a super difficult piano accompaniment, which I’ll get to tackle at the premiere in November (also at NMEA).
That’s it for this one. First blog post in the books. Thanks for reading!