DEVELOPING VOICE SCORES
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This song, which has my own text, was designed specifically for middle school men’s voices (a niche which I have dedicated myself to writing for quite seriously in the past year). It opens and closes with a mournful lilt, but has a more driving and hopeful midsection. From the forward: "This is a song of encouragement and empowerment. It speaks to the universal story of hardship, but also talks about overcoming those challenges to become the best version of one's self. Keep striving, young men." Premiered in November 2015 as part of the Florida ACDA Men's Honor Choir.
This melody by James Gordon is so absolutely haunting, I knew it had to be set for MS voices. The original song is structured fairly predictably, so I varied the accompaniment and chord structure with most repetitions of each section to create some more interest. The slow rocking of the 3/4 time signature mimics the feel of a barge trudging through icy waters, and the Gordon's lyrics are deeply sad. The piece also features a unison refrain, which will give some wonderful teaching moments. Premiered Oct 2015 as part of the inaugural Symposium on Singing and Song in Newfoundland, CA (Patrick K. Freer, conductor).
A classic text by Shelley. There is, of course, a famous setting for solo voice by Roger Quilter, but I wanted to write something different. This piece is a mid-tempo waltz written in mixolydian mode (with the exception of the bridge) with a lot of added-note and lightly chromatic chords, which gives it a sort of “floaty” feel. There is a lot of opportunity for tone-building here, with many extended vowels and long phrasing.
With the combination of the "Dies Irae" chant and a "double-double, toil and trouble" text that your students will certainly recognize, this would make a perfect piece for a fall (or Halloween) concert. Alternatively, there are plenty of "teachable moments" in here to make it a perfectly satisfying festival piece. The optional middle part makes this accessible even to changing voices, but fair warning: the piano part is fast and tricky. Also available S(S)A (Click Here).
With a desolate and despairing opening, this piece is a "winter song" that is anything from bright. The minimalist piano part creates a wash of color and blurs into a sort of soundscape. "Toku-toku" is a Japanese onomatopoeia roughly equivalent to "drip-drop" in English, and the rest of the extremely evocative text for this piece will appeal to young singers. In addition, I have ensured that the piece contains "flexible voicings," so that is may be performed effectively with either middle school singers or upper-level groups. This piece is part of an (in-progress) choral song cycle featuring several haiku by renowned poet Matsuo Basho, including "Aki No Kaze."