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Choral Compositions Wanted

The Smithtown Community Chorus, now in its 14th year, is making a commitment to new and exciting choral works. In the past we have featured pieces by Carl J Ferrara, Heather KinKennon, and Sheena Phillips. We are seeking pieces for our immediate Summer 2009 season. We prefer finished or nearly finished pieces for SAB, SATB, or SSAB that are not too challenging. (Say NYSSMA level 4, Average High School difficulty) We seek an agreement where we will perform these works royalty free and that we will be the world premiere or at least Long Island or New York Premiere. In return, we will publicize the composer as much as possible. (mentioning websites, including bios, featuring named pieces on publicity.)
If interested, send a copy, or a link to a website to Carl J Ferrara 652 North Dunton Ave, East Patchogue, NY 11772, or Rb4uris(a) . We will contact you if we choose your piece, and make whatever arrangements are needed. Any questions, just e-mail.
Replies (12): Threaded | Chronological
on June 9, 2009 6:35am
I must disagree Profoundly with John. It turns out that I found some VERY good music. In fact, one of the problems I had was that the music that was submitted to me was TOO good. And ended up to be TOO top notch for the ability level of my singers.
I, myself, am a composer, and like most of the composers out there who submitted music, I don't consider the quality of my compositions to be anything less than top-notch. However, I go looking for opportunities like this one that I'm offering just for the purpose of exposure.
FYI - we've made our selections for this year, and Tim's "Celtic Blessing of the Nine Elements," Robert Reck's "Psalm 23," and Scott Lounsbury's "Dancing with wind on water" made the cut. I'm also doing another one of Scott's pieces with my high school choir next year. And we WILL be paying him because we can.
Which brings me to the "playing in our bar for free because of all the great exposure" comment. Yes, that's exactly what it is. All we can offer is free exposure. The composer's bios will be included in the program, and all of our publicity materials. In the bar scenario, if the performer really wants to be paid, then they don't take such an "unfair offer." But, for the chance at getting your music our there, I would jump at the chance to play for free anywhere they would let me. This is driven more by the sense of "this music needs to be heard" than trying to further one's career. But if our performance encourages one choral director to seek out Heather KinKennon's, or Sheena Phillips', or Tim Knight's music, then that's a good thing, isn't it?
on August 31, 2009 12:58pm
End of the summer update... We chose three pieces, only two of which actually were successfully performed. Tim Knight's "Celtic Blessing of the 9 elements" was a great success. As was Robert Reck's "Psalm 23" which was also an audience favorite.
I underestimated the difficulty of Scott Lounsbury's piece. I don't think the piece is impossible, it just requires more rehearsal time than allotted to us. I may, with Mr. Lounsbury's permission, devote next year's season to three of his works.
I also sense a desire of the choral community here to seek out new works, and a need for these composers to get their work out. I'd like to pursue some ways to meet both of these needs. Thank you for everyone's kind offers.
on September 1, 2009 2:40am
No need to choose payment vs. publicity:  there are ways to stay legal AND classy.  Check out this grant from the American Composers Forum:  It's called "Encore" and it grants an ensemble up to $2,000 to perform a SECOND (or other early) performance of an already-existing, but NEW work by a living composer.  Next deadline is listed as Oct 1, 2009.
Many of these grants can cover necessary costs (buying the scores, paying your ASCAP/BMI dues, paying your mechanical licensing for a recording) as well as, say, flying the composer in to do a pre-concert talk.
There are other wonderful ways out there to pay composers for their work without breaking your bank.  If other people have ideas, it would be great to hear them!
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