New Composition!

Fall is in the air and day by day we are gloriously easing into my favorite time of year. The cooler temperatures, bright colors, and sense of anticipation that autumn brings really makes me feel grateful to be alive. You can talk about spring bringing renewal all you like, but to me, the true season of new beginnings is fall.

                This fall has been unlike any other for obvious reasons, but there are still wonderful things happening and I’m pleased to be able to announce the completion of a large composition project that was very challenging and exciting for me.

                I was approached by my old friend and colleague Jim Olson in 2019 about composing a piece for his student group at Garnet Valley Schools in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Every spring Jim and his colleagues gather for a combined concert that features the fifth-grade band, chorus, and orchestra students that they have been calling their “Gala Concert.” To mark the magnitude of the occasion, for the past few years they have been commissioning a piece to end the concert that would combine the band, chorus, and orchestra together and provide some appropriate pizazz to the concert.

                Jim very graciously invited me to be the next composer to write a piece for this group, and I jumped at the chance. The music educators involved selected the poem; an interesting work by Laura Elizabeth Richards called “Etelephony” and I began by setting the poetry to music to create the song on which the composition would be based.

                Composing music for this level of student has its own inherent challenges, chief among them being how to be creative and artistic within a narrow paradigm of performance abilities. Young musicians have limitations on what kinds of music they can play; rhythms, notes, and other performance considerations will need to be based on what they have learned already. It was this challenge that particularly excited me, as it was a test of how I could be creative and still meet the needs of the ensemble(s).

                Regardless of the challenges, I am pleased to announce the completion of Telephunk! commissioned by and dedicated to the Fifth Grade Band, Chorus, and Orchestra of the Garnet Valley School District. This piece will receive its premiere on Sunday, March 21, 2021 (hopefully) and I am already making plans to be in attendance.

                Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I hope that everyone’s fall is filled with laughter and coziness!

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