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Check In on Commissions, Performances, Recordings and Thanks

And other musical things we are thankful for.  For our US members, this is Thanksgiving week.  Scott Dorsey's front page blog post ( today made me think it was time to share our thankfulness for commissions, performances, recordings, videos, ensembles and each other.
I am thankful for each and every one of you that has contributed in this forum, shared works in the Composition Showcase or who has ever sent a message to another member of this community with questions, support or affirmation.  Thank-you all for helping keep my brain active and interested in things of global significance.  
I am specifically thankful for:
Julia Laylander who has kept the conversation going and has shared her vision and internet search skills with me and the community. (edit-Also Thanks to Julia for penning a great text for the piece Chris Hutchings composed for AppleChor.  I knew I'ld forget somone. Can't wait to share it with everyone)
Greg Bartholomew our editor that has taken on much of the workload and shared professional ideas with me.
Wally De Pue who has helped me out on several occasions with repertoire, prayers, life advice, humor and shared his ideas in the forum when I needed someone with experience and perspective to lead a discussion.
Julie Myers for editing my Composer of the Month articles (which I plan on starting up again soon)
John Ward for creating the information gathering system that saves me a lot of work in the Showcase.
Martin Knowles who saved ChoralNet from my misplaced embed code a couple of days ago and regularly updates and tweaks ChoralNet to make it user friendly.  (Did anyone notice that ChoralNet was screwed up for about half an hour? -sorry)
Jim Feiszli for creating ChoralNet (Don't worry, your commission project is coming)
Hildigunnur Rúnarsdóttir for your personal correspondance and friendship. Your Messe Guðbrandur is one of the best pieces on the planet! Please quote me on that.  I must learn to speak Icelandic so I can tell what the **** you are saying on Facebook :)
Micheal McGlynn for the personal support you have given me (though we haven't heard from you for a while, hope everthing is good.)
David Avshalomov your willingness to share your skills and talents and understanding when I couldn't hold up the pace.
Joy Decoursey-Porter for writing for my ensemble.
Two composers who have not shared that they accepted my request for Julia's first time commission project.  I would share your names but you haven't announced it in any of these check-ins so I'll leave that to you.  You know who you are.
Melinda Bargreen for waiting patiently for me to get your Composer of the month article done.
Brian Holmes not only for your continuing output of wonderful music but your willingness to share and advise this community and me. (Professor of the Physics of Music- What a resource you are!)
Ian McLoughlin of JWPepper, Ahroon Yoch of Sheet Music Plus and J.D.Frizzell of CadenzaOne for the services you are providing for composers and conductors and for accepting my invitation to share with the community.
Gorden Thornett, Robert Ross, Anna Dembska, Donald Patriquin, George Polinski, Andrew Miller, Chris Hutchings, Dawn Sonntag, M Ryan Taylor, Christopher Ho, Dustin Oldenberg, Reginald Unterseher, Jonathan C. Adams, Charles Peery, and all who answered the call to participate in adding this community's voice to critiquing the new programs for self-published composers.
M Ryan Taylor for keeping my children laughing with your "Unlikely Company" from your Halloween album. 
Dustin Oldenburg, Nan Beth Walton, Rich Campbell, Joseph Gregorio, Bruce Rockwell, David Hamilton, Frank La Rocca, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, Nigel Williams, Timothy Lee Miller, David Monks, David Guillot, Adrienne Albert and all those above who have contributed to this forum in the past 30 days.
Thank-you all for making this the most active community on ChoralNet!! 40+ members have shared their thoughts and ideas in the past 30 days, we have 379 members and over 1,700 posts, that's more than all other communities combined!
I invite you all to share your successes and thanks below.  I also invite you to join my network on LinkedIn, in case those connections can lead to more successes for all of us! Look me up.
Replies (37): Threaded | Chronological
on November 20, 2012 3:55pm
Jack, in return I hope you know how grateful the choral composers' community is for all your efforts over the past year. It has been great to share music, ideas, thoughts, hopes, and frustrations with other composers who are all in the "same boat." The exchange of ideas, and the emotional support, help a lot, and you have been such a wonderful catalyst for all of this (not to mention the many long hours you've put in).
And one P.S.: Did you know you can read all of Hildigunnur's Icelandic posts with ease, thanks to Google Translate? Just select/copy her text, go to another browser window and call up Google Translate (, paste her post into the left-hand box (select the correct language from the available options), and select "English" in the right-hand box, and Prestissimo: there is your translation! You can even answer her back, by reversing the process (changing the English into Icelandic).
Happy Thanksgiving to you and to the whole composition community!
Melinda Bargreen
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 20, 2012 4:17pm
Thanks Melinda and yes I use Google translate but it is really bad for Icelandic. I still am left scatching my head.
on November 21, 2012 3:51am
Melinda has said it all.  [Melinda hefur sagt það allt. (Takk Google!) :-) ]  But I do appreciate Jack's questioning Googl's translations.  They require a little knowledge of the target language. 
As an aside, recently, for a concert programme I  used Google to help me with a speedy translation of a sentence from the KJV of the Bible.  I thought it might be more elegant than my French.  It was, except that on reading the translation I found that the word for goodwill (as in 'toward men') came up as the legal term for the value put on customers'/clients' patronage of a business.  And even clicking on the term did not give me a suitable alternative.  So care is needed.  OTOH, Christmas has become so commercialised that perhaps 'peace to our customers' might not be too far off the mark.  LOL
David Monks
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 21, 2012 4:09am
Thanks Jack - also thank you for the opportunity to work with your choir and write "The Water Cycle" to Julia's excellent text. (Not sure if I'm one of the "two composers" referred to above, but if I am, feel free to mention that generally!)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 21, 2012 8:52am
Yep, you are one of the OMG-can't-believe-you-said-yes composers I was talking about.  What an opportunity for my kids!  I am deeply honored that you wrote for my choir.  The kids are progressing well in their choral abilities and I believe they will do a good job in premiering your piece.  Thank-you many fold.  I wish you would put your Thou Knowest, Lord The Secrets of Our Hearts  up on the Showcase so I could write about it.   
Woops, I see Greg Bartholomew did announce he was writing for me in the last check-in.  He is my other OMG-can't-believe-you-said-yes composer.  Thanks Greg! (There is actually a third that offered but I think we're just going to sing a great piece he already wrote)
To save everyone one more email I'm going to check in here in this comment.
My new Community Music Company Our Musical Life Inc. sponsored a Veterans Day event that I hope will be an annual event.  I also held it last year before my company was official.  It is a staged flashmob at our local roller skating rink.  It is not anything amazing musically, but it has the potential to be a big deal in a couple of ways. Children from all over my city are invited to participate.   First and foremost it gets them thinking about and thanking veterans for their service.  Anyone can send in the names of US veterans they know and love to be included in the honor roll at the end.  This gives an opportunity for the kids to experience family pride for parents, uncles, aunts and even deceased grandparents that have served in the US military.   The event is also a fund-raiser for each local choir that participates and we raise a little bit for the local Honor Guard that fire off rifles at the funerals of deceased veterans.   Lastly, it is a recruitment tool for my new organization.  Here's our video:
on November 22, 2012 3:20am
Thanks! I'll look into getting that one up. The Showcase is on a very long to-do list which keeps getting trumped by new baby at the moment...
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 21, 2012 4:36am
Thank ***you*** Jack, for all you do!
Robert A.M. Ross
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 21, 2012 11:56am
Jack, thank you for ALL that you do to promote and encourage great choral compositions and new music.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 22, 2012 11:30am
A HUGE thank-you to you, Jack for all your time spent and constant encouragements for more obscure or gun-shy composers such as myself to keep on writing. Also a big thanks for giving me a chance to write a little piece for your choir.
I had no idea what a great community a few hundred composers can provide for each other when I signed up for this site. I have had one success directly through this forum (Thank you, Michael Sandvik!) and another one indirectly, through encouragements from other composers.
A very happy Thanksgiving to the ChoralNet community!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 22, 2012 3:25pm
Just want to add my thanks, Jack, for being made to feel so welcome to this group. I'd like to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, and a happy St. Cecilia's Day!  As you will doubtless know, St Cecilia is the patron saint of all musicians, and one very famous fellow countryman of mine was born on this day exactly 100 years ago.  I refer, of course, to Benjamin Britten, perhaps the greatest British composer of the 20th century, and someone who really knew how to write for voices!
My greetings to you all from a very wet and windy Birmingham (UK)!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 23, 2012 5:55am
My apologies - in my enthusiasm for Britten's centenary celebrations I was a year out - born on 22nd November 1913, he would only have been 99 yesterday!
on November 26, 2012 5:42pm
"For the mouse is a creature of great personal valour." (keep going anyone?)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 18, 2012 6:55pm
(For this is a true case...:)
Robert Ross
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 26, 2012 4:20pm
Thank you so much, Jack, for your unwavering support and energy and determination and advocacy and everything else!  
And sincere thanks also to the entire community of composers for answering my frequently naive questions kindly, pointing me in helpful directions, encouraging me when I've felt completely inadequate, and for making me feel welcome here.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 17, 2012 1:13pm
The MIT Women's Chorale (a non-auditioned ensemble) performed my "Winter Stars" (SSA) recently. Here's a link to their live recording:
Here's a link to the score:
Thanks for listening.
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 10, 2013 4:00am
Hi there Jack and other members of this community,
I am somewhat of a lurking member - I enjoy reading all your comments, and opinions and they set me a-thinking on a regular basis. It's a very encouraging environment, and I really should formulate some opinions and contribute!
I've been particularly interested in all the comments before Christmas about getting yourself and your music known beyond your own little circles. I find it very difficult to "pester" conductors I know or have some small connection to with reminders that I exist, and tend to feel that if they wanted to perform my music then they would, but recent conversations have prompted me to wonder if they do need to be nudged a little from time to time, just to keep yourself in their peripheral (if not direct) vision. However, even conductors who've purchased and perfomed scores in the past and expressed delight and satisfaction at the whole process like to keep a certain distance, I find...don't want to feel I'm being a nuisance - it does seem a tricky balance to strike!
Anyway, my current endeavour is to creep into the peripheral (if not direct!) vision of conductors or teachers of choirs of young people, aged 7-13-ish who are endeavouring to introduce some part-singing, a few rhythmic quirks, and a greater security in the ability to be independant in  harmonic, melodic and rhythmic contributions. To this end I have gathered together 20 of the songs I've composed for such groups into a collection entitled "Sea Pie Parcel". It's already proved reasonably successful. Maybe you'd care to have a look or listen to some of it!
To hear a video catalogue:
To see a few pages of score and for more information:
Thanks for reading so far and best wishes
on January 13, 2013 3:31pm
It looks like this is the place for this kind of thing, so here goes:
"God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen," my setting of the traditional text to new music for SATB a cappella, was premiered on Dec. 7, 2012, by Cantaré Vocal Emsemble of Seattle.  
Here's an .mp3 recording of the Saturday, Dec 8, 2012 performance at Holy Rosary Church in West Seattle:
I thought it went rather well (I'm also Cantaré's assistant conductor, and sing in the Alto 2 section).  I'm very happy with the performances (Dec. 7, 8, and 9).
On to the next challenge: a commission for a school in China, a setting of the words to a traditional children's song, translated into the 9 languages spoken at the school. The goal is to use as many of the languages as possible in various verses/repeats, without making the piece too long; the challenge is since each language has a different "rhythm," the same melody/meter won't necessarily work for Mandarin, English, Polish, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Spanish, German, and Portuguese!  Add to that the fact that I'm only "intimately" familiar with English, Spanish and German, have a passing acquaintance with Polish and Portuguese, and have NO knowledge of the Asian languages, other than having listened to the original children's song sung in Mandarin.  I'm looking at it like a puzzle, in which I have to determine the shape of the puzzle pieces, and then figure out how to fit them altogether into something that makes sense in the end.  Lots of fun, for sure!
Lana Mountford
Bellingham, WA
on January 13, 2013 3:49pm
How exciting, Lana! And could I be so bold as to ask how this exciting commission from China came about?
Regards,  Gordon
on January 13, 2013 6:19pm
Of course, Gordon! :-)  
It came about as a result of our "first-time commission" project here on ChoralNet last summer.  I was contacted by the new director of the choir in China (a U.S. resident, he had just been hired, and hadn't relocated yet), and we've been slowly working our way through the details.  He needed to get familiar with the groups under his direction, and we had to find a suitable text.  Students in the audio-visual program at the school are going to be documenting the entire process via Skype discussions as we progress through various drafts, ideas, etc.
I can't wait to see how it turns out!
on January 13, 2013 6:54pm
Very cool, Lana.  It is even cooler than my most recent premier, a Christmas
carol in Pig Latin.
As I recall, your commissioning fee is a cookbook.  Will it be in English?
on January 13, 2013 8:14pm
Brian -- yes, you remember correctly! And as I understand it, the cookbook will be in English.
By the way, I'm hoping to be able to perform your wonderful "Roger Bobo Plays the Tuba" in the next year or so.  I have the tuba player (Carla Rutschman, the tuba professor at Western Washington University); I just have to find the right SSA group to partner with.  I have a couple of groups in mind ... It's such a wonderful piece!  One of those perfect marriages of text and music.
Lana Mountford
Bellingham, WA
Applauded by an audience of 1
on January 14, 2013 10:40am
That is an incredibly fun piece we have discussed in this forum before.  I suggest members search for it on YouTube.  The choir's choralography for the version I saw is fantastic.
on May 2, 2013 9:40pm
I just had a listen, Lana. Very nice!
on January 29, 2013 3:59pm
Just wanted to share some good news:
I received a call today that my "If Ever There Is" was selected to be a part of the 2013 Essentially Choral sessions in Minneapolis, April 4-6.
Thrilled, & very much looking forward to taking my part, as well as to experiencing my first visit to MN...
Applauded by an audience of 2
on January 29, 2013 4:49pm
This looks like a great honor Rich.  If you would like to tell us more about it I think many of us would enjoy reading it. 
on March 29, 2013 12:49pm
I am happy to announce my 'World Premier' of Mondnacht, sung by the Cascadian Chorale this month. I don't yet have a live video, but I put the audio recording to footage of my own and will include the link below:
It's via Skydrive so please let me know if there are issues. I may have to upload to Youtube instead.
on March 29, 2013 12:58pm
As it turns out the last 4 digits at the end of that link are important. Who  knew? You'll need to copy and paste into your browser :-)
on March 30, 2013 9:00am
Just got commissioned to write a choir and organ piece for Michaelmas (end of September) for St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh - a choir of a very high standard. They apparently chose me because the choir doesn't like John Rutter, and I'm one of the few choral composers they could find who doesn't sound like him!
I've got a few slots left in my diary for other commissions :)
Applauded by an audience of 1
on March 30, 2013 11:00am
Here's an upcoming one of mine. This should give you hope: I sent Josh a subset of my complete Blake Innocence/Experience double cycle (46 a cappella octavos) *several years ago. He kept chipping at them and suprise! one day he called to talk about this event:
3 Performances of 4 selections from the Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Blake)
Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Josh Habermann, conductor (Music Director, Dallas Symphony Chorale)
July 26, July 30, August 6, August 13 2013,  8pm
Loretto Chapel, 207 Old Santa Fe, Santa Fe New Mexico
I'll post the MP3 on my website as soon as they provide it. It should be a marvelous performance, he does great work.
OH, and BTW, Schola Cantorum on Hudson just notified me that their PROJECT : ENCORE just accepted my work "I Bend the Knee of My Heart" into their database of works of merit. I'm quietly very pleased. Thanks Jack for putting that extra glow on the piece with the ACDA sliver platter award last year. Plus, P:E have this cool little logo they provide 

David Avshalomov
Applauded by an audience of 1
on March 30, 2013 1:05pm
This is a wonderful reminder about persistence, David.  Congratulations!

Frank La Rocca
on May 3, 2013 6:33am
The Viterbo University Concert Choir premiered by piece, "Autumn" on their annual spring choral concert last Saturday.  Below is a link to a recording of that performance.
on June 22, 2013 10:21am
Hi Jack et. al.,
I apologize for not responding to your various check-ins, but this year has been an extremely busy one... I've been keeping tabs on the community and rejoicing privately in all your successes this year, but never found time to chime in with my own.  I was commissioned through Julia's "First-Time Commissions" project to write a piece for the Singing Boys of Sioux Falls (Del Hubers, director) to celebrate their 30th anniversary.  I asked the boys to share some of their favorite Biblical verses and was inspired to write a piece reflecting their choices.  I finished the piece for two-part unchanged voices (entitled "Trust in the Lord") in the Spring and am anxiously awaiting its premiere at their Christmas concert in 2013.  
I hope this message finds you all doing well and enjoying your respective solstices!  
on July 15, 2013 2:40pm
Just a check-in here ...
The piece I wrote as part of the first-time commission project from last summer was premiered April 13, 2013 in Dalian, China by the Dalian American International School choirs, and repeated on the program of their spring concert on May 28, 2013.
The lyrics are from a Chinese children's song, Zhong Taiyan (Planting the Sun).  The students translated it into 8 other languages, and I used all 9 languages in the piece.  I also wrote an original additional verse in English for the elementary school students, incorporated into the overall piece.
Here's a Youtube of the May performance -- the sound and picture get a little out of sync, but I think it's OK:
This was my first time writing for an unfamiliar group.  Everything else I've written has been for groups in which I sing, or groups whose directors are friends/colleagues.  And it was my first time writing for young singers.
Definitely a fun and challenging project!  My "fee" was a cookbook -- in this case, I received a copy of the DAIS Commmunity Cookbook, signed by all the singers who participated in the concert.  To me, it's priceless.  The director and singers loved the piece, and that's all I could want.
Lana Mountford
Bellingham, WA
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 15, 2013 3:54pm
Congratulations, Lana!
on July 15, 2013 10:43pm
Brilliant, Lana!
on July 16, 2013 1:45am
Well done, Lana.  Félicitations!
on August 19, 2013 9:41am
Recently at Music in the Mountains (Shawnee Press conference), I was surprised and thrilled when the Creative Arts Team from Mt. Hermon Baptist Church (VA) performed an interpretive dance to "Where Is My Lamb?"
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