The music and lyrics of We Have a Choice were composed as a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. The piece explore aleatoric and performer-based textures that can be sung remotely through video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom. The text explores our ability to choose our own paths and reactions in every situation, hopefully ultimately choosing to embrace the story with love, joy, hope, and peace.

The piece alternates between mostly-unison chant-like textures and aleatoric branching textures, in which the performers may choose their own path.

This piece is suitable for any Mixed-Voice Choir interested in exploring virtual singing and limited- aleatoric textures that give performers ownership of the material.

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Program Note: This simple melody was composed to inspire change through the art of singing. The melody can be sung completely in unison in any octave comfortable for the singers. It can also be performed as a  round, with each entrance 2 measures apart (see * for entrance points). Repeat as many times as desired. Feel free to close the round by all singing the melody in unison. There is an alternate verse that can be used  as a round to inspire people to create change through voting. Feel free to adjust the lyrics of  lines 1 and 4 to suit similar situations calling people to action.

Please report any performances or virtual choir broadcasts to amygordonmusic@gmail.com

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Ocean Poems contains musical settings of two poems from a set of poems of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach (where the composer completed her graduate studies). Each poem in the set is dedicated to an important person in the poet’s life.

When We’re Gone 10,000 Years from Ocean Poems sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg. This piece uses hocket-like interplay between the vocal parts and metric displacement to create rhythmic propulsion. There is a limited set of rhythmic motifs used throughout the piece, including eighth note and quarter note groupings, triplets, and metric displacement. The technique of text painting is used for certain words to bring the text to life, such as soaring, howling, and tumbling.

I’m Still Here from Ocean Poems, sets the poignant poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg. The poem is dedicated to Al Talberg (1928-2018), Talberg’s father. The piece opens with an insistent rhythmic motor, which is passed among the parts throughout the piece. The constant motion of the repeated text symbolizes the continuing presence of our loved ones, stating “I’m here. I’m still here.” This rhythmic motif continues in various permutations until the final chord, finally resting on the words “I’m still here twixt sea and sky,” reminding us that our loved ones are always with us.

These pieces may be performed as a suite or as stand-alone pieces. This suite would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.

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I’m Still Here, the sixth poem from  Ocean Poems, sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach. The poem is dedicated to Al Talberg (1928-2018), Dr. Talberg’s father. The piece opens with an insistent rhythmic motor, which is passed among the parts throughout the piece. The constant motion of the repeated text symbolizes the continuing presence of our loved ones, stating “I’m here. I’m still here.”. This rhythmic motif continues in various permutations until the final chord, finally resting on the words “I’m still here twixt sea and sky”, reminding us that our loved ones are always with us.

 

This piece may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with When We’re Gone 10,000 Years as the complete Ocean Poems suite. This piece would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.

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When We’re Gone 10,000 Years from Ocean Poems sets the beautiful poem of the same name by Jonathan Talberg, Director of Choral, Vocal, & Opera Studies at California State University, Long Beach. This piece uses hocket-like interplay between the vocal parts and metric displacement to create rhythmic propulsion. There is a limited set of rhythmic motifs used throughout the piece, including eighth note and quarter note trios, triplets, and metric displacement. The technique of text painting is used for certain words to bring the text to life, such as soaring, howling, and tumbling.

 

This piece may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with I’m Still Here as the complete Ocean Poems suite. This piece would be suitable for advanced high school, collegiate, and professional choirs.

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Lawn (from I Wonder), commissioned for the Central Bucks High School-West Choir of Doylestown, Pennsylvania by Dr. Joseph Ohrt, is the sixth of thirteen short poems written by Charles Anthony Silvestri. Each of the thirteen poems explores a different perplexing thought, ranging from humorous to serious. Lawn is a semi-serious poem that asks why we spend so much time trying to control our lawns (and possibly lives), only to have to repeat the cycle every season. The musical setting features playful interactions between the voice parts and percussive, syncopated rhythms.

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The holiday season is upon us and thus so is holiday music. I have several upcoming performances of my holiday music, including a premiere of my brand new piece Light in the Darkness, a brand new arrangement of Joy to the World, and my arrangement of What Child Is This. This is my favorite time of the … Continue reading November 24th, 2018

This up-tempo arrangement of Joy to the World, commissioned by Jonathan Bautista and dedicated to Nova Vocal Ensemble, features lively rhythms, playful dialogue between the voices, and a fresh reharmonization of this beloved carol. Most of the melodic, rhythmic, and motivic counterpoint is adapted from another beloved carol, Deck the Halls.

This carol would fit well in any holiday-themed concert, Festival of Lessons and Carols, or sacred Christmas and/or Epiphany service.

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She Speaks is a choral song cycle composed by Alice Dryden and Amy Gordon, which sets the text by Sharon Goldstein. It weaves together the experiences and voices of different women, both artistically and literally. The text and the music were a result of a close collaboration among the composers and the poet. The cycle is a progression through generations of strong women. Each woman throughout history has been able to build on the strength and courage of her ancestors.

Movement 1, She Is Silent, represents a past generation that endured hardship and suppression for the sake of the next generation. The thread from the woman’s sewing machine becomes the motivic thread that weaves throughout the other movements, anchoring future generations in her quiet resolve.

In Movement 2, She Dreams, the next generation spends her days trapped, speaking other people’s words and ideas. Yet inside her, she holds dreams of her own stories and her own identity, and being recognized for her own worth.

Movement 3, She Speaks, explores vocal percussion and extended vocal techniques. The women gradually find their voices and speak out, with difficulty and first but with increasing confidence- This. Is. Wrong! This movement honors those who would no longer stay silent in the face of injustice.

Movement 4, She Rages!, is the most specific and direct response to current events. The voices of women, silenced for too long, break free- and they are furious! Each voice demands to be heard as they build on one another. The movement transitions into a triumphant march honoring the women that came before them, referencing each of the previous movements in both text and music.

The ending, co-written by both composers, ties off the thread that wove through each movement. All the voices, men and women, speak together to convey one unified message: It is more important now than ever to find the courage to listen and to speak out.

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We Three Kings is a traditional Christmas Carol telling the story of three Magi who followed a star to Bethlehem, leading them to the infant Jesus. This arrangement, commissioned by Jonathan Bautista and dedicated to Nova Vocal Ensemble, features a modern reharmonization and an original motive (introduced in the tenors’ first three notes) that is woven throughout the entire piece. Each choir part is featured throughout the arrangement, with verses being sung by sopranos, altos, and tenors. The original motive is passed between the parts in a contrapuntal texture, making this a good arrangement for any choir looking for fun interplay and hocket-like textures.

This arrangement would fit well in any holiday-themed concert, Festival of Lessons and Carols, or sacred Christmas and/or Epiphany service.

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