Shelter Song, commissioned by the Ramona Convent Secondary School Choirs, directed by Ruth Ballenger, sets the charming text by Libby Weber about the joy of adopting a rescue animal. The text playfully explores the different decisions required when adopting a pet, such as choosing which animal to adopt (the Sopranos want to adopt a Cat, while the Altos prefer a Dog) and what to name them! The poem also features a few moments of overlapping texts, which create funny new phrases between the Soprano and Alto lyrics (“I want them all” at mm. 34-35 and “OMG!” at mm. 39-45).

The music has historical influences reminiscent of J.S. Bach’s keyboard stylings, Baroque arias, and opera-like recitatives for dramatic and comedic effect. There is also a bit of G. Rossini’s famous Duetto Buffo di due Gatti (Comic Duet for Two Cats) and the music of comedian Peter Schickele’s fictional Baroque composer, P.D.Q Bach.

There is a customizable NAMES section (Rehearsal Letter E) where directors and choirs may choose to replace any of the names (except the last name of each line, in order to maintain the rhymes) with pet names meaningful to them or the community.

The hope of this piece is to foster awareness of the importance of adopting rescue pets and treating our furry friends with the love they deserve. It would be wonderful to encourage donations to a local animal shelter or animal-oriented charity at any concert or event featuring this piece.

This piece is suitable for any Treble Choir and would fit well on a concert about animals or nature.

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When Hearts Overflow, commissioned by Kelly Ann Self and the Orange Coast College Chorale, sets the beautiful poem by Kelly Ann Self. The text is a reminder that we can overcome pain and hardship if we unite, both figuratively and literally, in singing. The musical texture alternates between legato vocal lines accompanied by flowing piano arpeggios and punchier vocal statements supported by contrapuntal piano dialogue, acting as a metaphor for continuously finding joy amidst difficult times.

This piece is suitable for any Mixed-Voice ensemble and would fit well in any concert about mental health.

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Advice from a Kitten in Spring, commissioned by the South Bay Children’s Choir, directed by Julie Corallo, is a playful exploration of a day in the life of a kitten in spring. We would be wise to take some life advice from this lighthearted kitten, especially the piece’s concluding words of wisdom: “love, live, listen”. The melodic content and text were inspired by several composition workshops with the singers in the South Bay Children’s Choir in preparation for this commission.

This piece is suitable for any Treble Choir and would fit well on a concert about animals or nature.

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Alchemy, commissioned by Indianola Presbyterian Church, Christopher Dent, Director of Music, to celebrate the generations of children’s music ministry leadership of Carol Winans, Sharon Renkes, and Mary Rebekah Fortman, sets the powerful poem by Libby Weber. The poem and piece are inspired by a real-life charity called Swords to Plowshares (Northeast USA), which collects firearms from the community, melts them into gardening tools, distributes the tools to community gardens, harvests the food grown, and then donates the food to local food banks. This piece features a repeating refrain that traces each step of the alchemical cycle that transforms guns into sustenance. This poem form is called a circular, in which the last item of each stanza becomes the first item of the next stanza, similar to the famous “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Visit to find out more about the Swords to Plowshares charity, research ways to get involved, and/or make a donation.

This piece is suitable for any Mixed-Voice ensemble and would fit well in any concert about action-based love.

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Check out these Spring 2024 performances and composer visits around the United States!

Ruminations & Affirmations was commissioned by Jackson Thomas for a culminating doctoral study at the University of Kansas centered on the pedagogy of minimalist vocal techniques. The piece is inspired by elements of Minimalism, as well as the composer’s personal experiences with anxiety and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The first half, Ruminations, features an incessant motor and an “obsessive thought” in the piano that keeps restarting, followed by frantic intrusive worries sung by the choir. The Ruminations section climaxes into a slowly building wall of anxiety featuring counting and various obsessive thoughts from which the singers may choose. This gives way to the choir taking a breath, holding it, and slowly exhaling along with the slowing motor in the piano, resting on B Major.

The second half, Affirmations, begins in the calmer Parallel E Major with a slower, more peaceful motor in the Piano. The choir then sings meditative observations based on their senses, which is adapted from the 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique, often used to calm an anxious mind (it asks the person to name 5 things they can see, 4 things they can feel, 3 things they can hear, 2 things they can smell, and 1 thing they can taste). The idea is to gently bring one’s consciousness back into the present and immediate physical world. The section concludes with the choir singing repeating affirmations, often used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to treat anxiety and OCD.

This piece would fit well in any concert, particularly on themes of mental health, awareness, and advocacy.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from anxiety or OCD, know that help is available. Reach out to a licensed professional or one of many resources available, such as the International OCD Foundation ( to be connected to someone who can help.

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Check out these upcoming Spring 2023 performances around the Southern California region!

Happy to present two brand new additions to my Catalogue & Store! In Times of Stasis | SATB Choir (with featured Treble Choir) & String Quartet | 5:00 This piece is about the deep sense of stasis I experienced (as well as many other people, I imagine) during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in late 2020 … Continue reading August 31st, 2022

We are the Voices, commissioned by Dr. Kyle Weary and dedicated to the South Middleton School District Choirs, is an anthemic text that calls upon both the singer and the listener to sing: for ourselves, for those who have passed, and for the future we would like to create. This piece is full of rhythmic drive in the piano, creating an exciting bed for the singers.

This piece is also designed to use limited pitch and rhythmic materials in order to build singer confidence and solidify learned concepts. The melody only uses Major Pentascale (do-re-mi-fa-sol) and simple rhythms in simple meters (whole, dotted half, half, quarter, & paired eighth Notes, as well as whole, half, and quarter Rests).

A Guitar may accompany the Piano using the provided chord symbols. An optional Bongo Drum part has also been included and may be used or omitted as desired.

This piece is suitable for any Treble Choir looking for an accessible setting and anthemic text.


Choir: Ball Junior High Intermediate Choir
Conductor: Lorraine Joy Welling
Pianist: Eunyoung Kang Sohng
Percussion: Daniel Garcia

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The music and lyrics of We Have a Choice were composed as a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. The piece explores aleatoric and performer-based textures that can be sung remotely through video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, or in live settings. 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 Treble-Voice Choir interested in exploring virtual singing and limited- aleatoric textures that give performers ownership of the material. The piece may be sung in virtual or live settings as circumstances allow.

Continue reading We Have a Choice (Treble Choir)