The music and lyrics of Songs of Hope in Strange Times: In Times of Rising was written during the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020-onwards and was commissioned by Loyola Marymount University, directed by T.J. Harper. The overall song cycle is five movements long, with each movement reflecting on how to find hope and meaning during strange and unknown times of life. In Times of Rising, the fifth and final movement of the song cycle, celebrates our return to life, being together, and finding joy once again. It explores how the world around us seems so different once we have gone through difficult experiences. This feeling of seeing things in a different light can apply to so many transformative periods in our lives, including relationships, birth, death, and personal journeys. The hope with this movement and the entire Songs of Hope in Strange Times cycle is to provide a framework in which to process powerful experiences, heal from tremendous loss, and arrive at the other side with wiser minds and hearts.

This movement could be performed as a stand-alone piece or as part of the entire Songs of Hope in Strange Times song cycle.

See other movements:

I. In Times of Descent
II. In Times of Hibernation
III. In Times of Stasis
IV. In Times of Re-Emergence

Continue reading In Times of Rising

The music and lyrics of Songs of Hope in Strange Times: In Times of Re-Emergence was written during the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020-onwards and was commissioned by SACRA/PROFANA, directed by Juan Carlos Acosta. The overall song cycle is five movements long, with each movement reflecting on how to find hope and meaning during strange and unknown times of life. In Times of Re-Emergence, the fourth movement of the song cycle, represents a joyful return to one’s life, albeit a cautious return initially, after a prolonged hiatus. The 9/8 meter has a dance-like quality, allowing a lighter mood after the more intense third movement, In Times of Stasis. The overall Strophic form (containing three Verses with the same melody and overall harmonies) allows for the performers and audience alike to relax in the familiarity of the material as it unfolds.

This movement could be performed as a stand-alone piece or as part of the entire Songs of Hope in Strange Times song cycle.

See other movements:

I. In Times of Descent
II. In Times of Hibernation
III. In Times of Stasis
V. In Times of Rising

Continue reading In Times of Re-Emergence

The music and lyrics of Songs of Hope in Strange Times: In Times of Descent was written during the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020-onwards and was commissioned by SACRA/PROFANA, directed by Juan Carlos Acosta. The overall song cycle is five movements long, with each movement reflecting on how to find hope and meaning during strange and unknown times of life. In Times of Descent is the frenzied opening movement of the cycle, representing those first chaotic and terrifying days when COVID-19 appeared in March, 2020 in the United States. The piece portrays this unsettling time through sinking, descending chromatic lines and heavy metal-inspired pulsating strings. This feeling of descending can be applied to those times in life when the world as we know it seems to fall apart and the end is nowhere in sight, such as the first days following a loved one’s passing, the minutes after receiving life-altering news, or other moments immediately following a tragedy. This movement acts as a mirror of the fifth and final movement In Times of Rising: using rising instead of falling lines, referencing the “sky and sea” (which are clouded by the darkness described in In Times of Descent), and other elements of contrast.

This movement could be performed as a stand-alone piece or as part of the entire Songs of Hope in Strange Times song cycle.

See other movements:

II. In Times of Hibernation
III. In Times of Stasis
IV. In Times of Re-Emergence
V. In Times of Rising

Continue reading In Times of Descent

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

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)

I Celebrate Life (the second and last movement of the Light Cycle suite), commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund for the Graham Middle School Choirs, sets the beautiful poem by Rhoda Gordon, the composer’s late grandmother, for SATB (orig. SSA) Choir and Piano. The piece opens with an excited yet hushed ostinato in the Piano. The choir sings the first four lines of the poem by repeating the beginning line and adding the next line until it is complete, utilizing the modern technique of additive processes popular in Minimalism. In the more pensive middle section, the ostinato transforms into a more poignant texture as the Choir “realizes the joy of being through seeing the glorious creation” that they are a part of. The ostinato then speeds up and returns to the hushed excitement heard in the opening. The piece concludes with the Choir building up to the most important line of the text: “The most powerful light to celebrate by is love.”

This piece is suitable for any Mixed-Voice ensemble.

Continue reading I Celebrate Life (SATB Version)

  JANUARY started off with a commission from Dr. Joesph Ohrt for the Central Bucks High School-West Choir of Doylestown, PA. This was an exciting project for me because I had the chance to collaborate with poet, Charles Anthony Silvestri, who has written the texts for some of my favorite choral composers such as Eric Whitacre. … Continue reading My 2019 Year in Review

I Celebrate Life (the second and last movement of the Light Cycle suite), commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund for the Graham Middle School Choirs, sets the beautiful poem by Rhoda Gordon, the composer’s late grandmother, for SA (SSA divisi) Choir and Piano. The piece opens with an excited yet hushed ostinato in the Piano. The Choir sings the first four lines of the poem by repeating the beginning line and adding the next line un.l it is complete, utilizing the modern technique of additive processes popular in Minimalism. In the more pensive middle section, the ostinato transforms into a more poignant texture as the Choir “realizes the joy of being through seeing the glorious creation” they are a part of. The ostinato then speeds up and returns to the hushed excitement heard in the opening. The piece concludes with the Choir building up to the most important line of the text: “The most powerful light to celebrate by is love.”

This piece is suitable for any Treble-voiced ensemble. It may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with Light Up as the complete Light Cycle suite.

Light Cycle was premiered on December 12, 2019 by the Graham Middle School Choirs conducted by Jennifer Gaderlund in Mountain View, CA.

Continue reading I Celebrate Life

Light Up (the first movement of the Light Cycle suite), commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund for the Graham Middle School Choirs, sets the beautiful poem by Rhoda Gordon, the composer’s late grandmother, for SA (Opt. SSA) Choir and Piano. The Piano features a constant rhythmic motor, representing our hopefully constant dancing throughout life. The Sopranos and Altos begin in unison and then break into harmony as the texture unfolds. The middle section contains a round between the Sopranos and Altos, with the Altos offset by two beats. A third (optional) descant part sings above the round between the Sopranos and Altos. The opening material returns with the repeated text “Think light rays” but develops the material further with a few moments of divisi. The piece dramatically builds as the choir repeats the word “glow”, finally resolving with the call to “glow and dance”. The Piano’s rhythmic motor finally comes to a rest at the last measure.

This piece is suitable for any Treble-voiced ensemble. It may be performed as a stand-alone piece or paired with I Celebrate Life as the complete Light Cycle suite. The round in the middle section is a great way for any Treble-voiced ensemble to explore polyphony and part independence. The descant and divisi parts may be included or omitted depending on the needs of the ensemble.

Light Cycle will receive its premiere on December 12, 2019 by the Graham Middle School Choirs conducted by Jennifer Gaderlund in Mountain View, CA.

Continue reading Light Up

Light Cycle is a two-movement suite for Intermediate to Advanced Treble ensembles. The suite, commissioned by Jennifer Gaderlund for the Graham Middle School Choirs, sets two beautiful poems by Rhoda Gordon (Light Up and I Celebrate Life), the composer’s late grandmother, for SA (SSA divisi) Choir and Piano.

Light Up is the first movement of the Light Cycle suite. The Piano features a constant rhythmic motor, representing our hopefully constant dancing throughout life. The Sopranos and Altos begin in unison and then break into harmony as the texture unfolds. The middle section contains a round between the Sopranos and Altos, with the Altos offset by two beats. A third (optional) descant part sings above the round between the Sopranos and Altos. The opening material returns with the repeated text “Think light rays” but develops the material further with a few moments of divisi. The piece dramatically builds as the choir repeats the word “glow”, finally resolving with the call to “glow and dance”. The Piano’s rhythmic motor finally comes to a rest at the last measure.

I Celebrate Life is the second and last movement of the Light Cycle suite. The piece opens with an excited yet hushed ostinato in the Piano. The choir sings the first four lines of the poem by repeating the beginning line and adding the next line until it is complete, utilizing the modern technique of additive processes popular in Minimalism. In the more pensive middle section, the ostinato transforms into a more poignant texture as the Choir “realizes the joy of being through seeing the glorious creation” they are a part of. The ostinato then speeds up and returns to the hushed excitement heard in the opening. The piece concludes with the Choir building up to the most important line of the text: “The most powerful light to celebrate by is love.”

Light Cycle is suitable for any Treble-voiced ensemble. The pieces may be may be performed together or as stand-alone pieces. Both pieces explore imitative polyphony and would be a great way for any Treble- voiced ensemble to explore polyphony and part independence. The SSA divisi may be included or omitted as suited to the needs of the ensemble.

Light Cycle will receive its premiere on December 12, 2019 by the Graham Middle School Choirs conducted by Jennifer Gaderlund in Mountain View, CA.

Continue reading Light Cycle