Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Here We Go: The 2014 ACDA Central Conference in Cincinnati

I am in Cincinnati (well actually I'm staying in my fave spot in Newport, KY across the river- the Newport Landing area full of restaurants, book stores and such) for the Central Divison ACDA conference. It is danged cold out- but what else is new this year in the middle of our country?

Tonight (Wednesday) there is going to be a ton of sacred music sung at one of the churches here. Looks like a gonzo event, especially for sacred musicians. I'm not up on who is doing the concert but I am pretty sure Howard Helvey and Tom Merrill are involved.

Tomorrow (Thursday) the whirlwind starts off bright and early. I'll be attending as much as I can as well as meeting old and new folks. It looks like a great conference. FYI, my new book of carols for women's voices will be on sale at the Musical Resources booth. Dennis Blubaugh will be running a $2 discount on the book. I hope those of you with women's choirs (appropriate for HS and up, as well as advanced children's choirs) will take a look at it at the booth or over the internet. Those choirs who used it this past December really felt that they enriched their programs with the carols they choose from the book.

Thursday AM Pearl Shangkuan has included Summer Bounty ( the uptempo first movment of my three movement piece "Play with your Food"- one of my bestsellers) in the Intercollegiate Reading Session. This is a great event  (two different sessions)- a large, very talented pool of central division university singers performing music that Pearl has chosen to be featured.

Pearl Shangkuan
 The singers get their packet about an hour before the session- so for them they are on the spot! Summer's Bounty will challenge their skills since there is a whole lot of mixed meter going on. They'll also have to not get distracted by how crazy-witty the words are! Here's the text:

Summer’s Bounty by May Swenson 
berries of Straw apples of Crab beans of Lima
berries of Goose apples of May beans of Jelly
berries of Huckle apples of Pine beans of Green
berries of Dew apples of Love beans of Soy
berries of Boisen nuts of Pea melons of Water
berries of Black nuts of Wal melons of Musk
berries of Rasp nuts of Hazel cherries of Pie
berries of Blue nuts of Chest cherries of Choke
berries of Mul nuts of Brazil glories of Morning
berries of Cran nuts of Monkey rooms of Mush
berries of Elder nuts of Pecan days of Dog
berries of Haw nuts of Grape puppies of Hush 
You can learn more about the piece and hear Steve Zielke's excellent choir sing it here: 
Many of you may know "Play with your Food"- it is published by Walton and contains the middle movement "Mashed Potato Love Poem" (hey, would you choose to be with your lover or a third helping of mashed potaties?) and "Vending Machine", about a boy and his Dad buying some peanut butter crackers at a vending machine. All the texts are witty- not just generically humorous. I balk when people sometimes call these "novelty" pieces- they are more than that thanks to the quality of the texts. Btw, there is also now an SSA/piano version of Mashed Potato Love Poem (it is also selling very well).
I'll update as the conference goes- time allowing. I am on a whirlwind tour of conferences, residencies,and concerts featuring my music. Over 5-6 weeks I will be in Cincy, Madison WI, Richmond VA, Jacksonville FL, Little Rock AK, and New Orleans. I am totally looking forward to visiting those warm weather cities! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dordt College Choir Tour- don't miss it!

Hi all!

Yes, I haven't blogged in forever! Why? I have simply been swamped composing, arranging, self-publishing an entire book of 18 Christmas carols (sales have been great) traveling, trying to be a good dad, etc! I will try to get back into it ASAP, especially since I will be at three ACDA conferences and usually try to post about them. I will be at Central, Southwest, and South. In between all of this are residencies (Virginia Commonwealth University), choral judging, performances in Madison, WI and a trip to Nawlins!

Today I want to turn your attention to the 10-day Dordt College Choral Tour (directed by the very talented Ben Kornelis). They will be singing some great music (including a shape-note tune arrangement of mine) in some great cities (six different states and one in more in Canada!). Go hear them if you can. Also scroll down for the repertoire. or go to  for all this info and more.
Ben Kornelis

Here are the tour dates:

Thursday, March 6
7 p.m. concert
First Christian Reformed Church
801 15th Avenue
Fulton, Illinois

Friday, March 7
7:30 p.m. concert
Wheaton Christian Reformed Church
711 E Harrison Avenue
Wheaton, Illinois

Saturday, March 8
7 p.m. concert
Ridgewood United Methodist Church
6330 Ridge Road
Parma, Ohio

Monday, March 10
7:30 p.m. concert
Lafayette Federated Church
180 New Jersey 15
Lafayette Township, New Jersey

Tuesday, March 11
7:30 p.m. concert
Fairlawn Christian Reformed Church
305 Goldwaithe Road
Whitinsville, Massachusetts

Wednesday, March 12
7 p.m. concert
Rochester Christian Reformed Church
2750 Atlantic Avenue
Penfield, New York

Thursday, March 13
7 p.m. concert
Talbot Street Church
13 Talbot Street
London, Ontario

Friday, March 14
7:30 p.m. concert
LaGrave Christian Reformed Church
LaGrave Avenue SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Saturday, March 15
7 p.m. concert
First Christian Reformed Church
16248 South Park Avenue
South Holland, Illinois

Sunday, March 16
9:30 a.m. worship service
Bethel Christian Reformed Church
3500 Glenwood Lansing Rd.
Lansing, Illinois
6 p.m. worship service
Bethel Christian Reformed Church
521 S Halleck St
DeMotte, Indiana

Dordt College Concert Choir
March 2014 Concert Tour Program

I        Praise God for the Breath of Life (Ratcliff)

Opening Prayer

II      Gaudete Omnes (Sweelinck)

III     Dem dunkeln Schoss der heilgen Erde (Brahms)
         I Know That My Redeemer Lives (J.M. Bach)
         Take My Hand, Precious Lord (Dorsey, arr. Lojeski)

IV     What Stood Will Stand (Halley)
         The Promise of Living (Copland)

V      Dúlamán (McGlynn)
         Catania (Sicilian Folksong, arr. Mignemi)
         Balleilakka (Rahman, arr. Sperry)

Intermission & Offering

VI     Blow ye the trumpet, blow (Edson, arr. Carey)

VII   Weather Report (Anglican Chant, as sung by The Master Singers)
         Stormy Weather (arr. Althouse)
         Light of a Clear Blue Morning (Parton, arr. Johnson)

VIII  The Best of Rooms (Thompson)
         Nunc Dimittis (Lukaszewski)
Closing Prayer

IX     Pilgrims’ Hymn (Paulus)
         O Lord God (Tchesnokov)

Optional Selections:
         O Love That Will Not Let Me Go (arr. Phelps)
         Praise to the Lord (arr. Christiansen)
         Dordt College Alma Mater (Grotenhuis)