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 https://www.s2pnortheast.org/ 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!

Check out these Holiday 2023 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 (https://iocdf.org/) 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.

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The music and lyrics of Songs of Hope in Strange Times: In Times of Stasis was written during the COVID-19 global pandemic of 2020-onwards and was commissioned by Westminster High School, directed by Kelly Ann Self. 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 Stasis, the third movement of this song cycle, represents the sense of stasis deep in the waiting period of the pandemic. Without being able to observe the normal markers of time passing, such as birthdays, school years, or holidays, time seemed to stand still as each day blended into the next. This sense of moving neither forward nor backward is reminiscent of walking in the ocean tide, where one wave is crashing on shore and another is receding, creating the sense one is simply standing still. While it can be hard to find meaning in these static times, perhaps just being alive and present in this moment is in itself enough.

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
IV. In Times of Re-Emergence
V. In Times of Rising

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BRAND-NEW MUSIC THEORY ESCAPE GAMES AVAILABLE! I am extremely excited to launch Escape Tone – A Music Theory Escape Game (INTERMEDIATE)! I also recently launched Escape Tone – A Music Theory Escape Game (EASY) for early learners of Music Theory. Check them both out in the store!