Composer’s Notes

  1. Showcase Your Choir or Ensemble!
  2. Ideas for Conductors – Using & Substituting Instruments
  3. Notes About Compositions by Title A-Z
Showcase Your Choir or Ensemble!

I’m looking for choirs and ensembles interested in giving premier performances of new works! Use the Contact page to inquire or express your interest!

Have you already performed or recorded of one of my works? I’m always interested in hearing recordings, viewing videos or hearing about performances of my works. 

I would be happy to showcase your ensemble performing my work on my website, YouTube, Soundcloud, and on select publisher’s websites. Conductors and performers are invited to contact me using the Contact page.

Ideas for Conductors – Using & Substituting Instruments

Conductor Idea #1 – Use instruments to double voices that need support

Sopranos having difficulty with some high notes? Add a flute, oboe or clarinet to play the soprano line. Altos losing their way? Add a clarinet or cor anglais for support. Don’t have the tenor section you need to perform an SATB work? A bassoon or bass clarinet can fill in for missing tenors.  Basses need a boost on those low notes? Try adding a trombone, euphonium, bassoon or bass clarinet.  

Consider using an instrument to double missing voices or parts that need support! There’s a good chance you have some instrumentalists in your choir, school or community. 

Conductor Idea #2 – Use available instruments to substitute for instruments that aren’t available

You don’t have to miss out on performing a piece accompanied by handbells just because you don’t have handbells.  Substitution is perfectly acceptable, and can result in some interesting, creative new sounds! If you don’t have a glockenspiel or orchestra bells, try other melody bells or a xylophone. If you don’t have a ‘cello available, try using a bassoon or bass clarinet.  Many modern synthesizer keyboards can be used to substitute for traditional instruments.
Feel free to get creative and do what works for you.

Conductor Idea #3 – I want to perform this piece with my choir, but it isn’t written for my choir’s voicing

A. Suppose that you have no tenors, and want to perform an SATB piece. What would happen if you had a ‘cello or bassoon or bass clarinet perform the tenor part?
B. Some composers are willing to write more than one version of a piece, allowing more choirs to enjoy performing it. Try asking the composer if this is possible.

Notes About Compositions by Title A-Z

“Alone / Together” was written in 2020 for accomplished SATB choir accompanied by an electroacoustic soundtrack. The lyrics describe feelings resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, moving from “alone in an unfamiliar landscape”, to “reaching out” to each other, then closing with working “together”. The soundtrack is quite musical, combining natural sounds such as birdsong and wind, electronically modified and electronically synthesized instrumental sounds.  The effect has been described as “orchestral”.

This piece has not been premiered yet. Are you up for the challenge? The score and soundtrack are available for purchase directly from the composer using the Contact page.

Virtual “At Home Choir” performance – audio only
Virtual “At Home Choir” performance – YouTube slideshow

The Canadian Seasons Song Cycle is a set of four works for two-part treble choir accompanied by piano and melody bells. Handbells, glockenspiels, xylophones or other melodic bells can be used.

The four works are:
Snow and Ice
Mist and Rain – click here to hear an excerpt
Sun and Thunder
Leaves of Red and Gold

The cycle can be performed starting with any season, but the seasons should be sung in the order that they occur in nature. 

The original two-part version is published by Alliance Music.  ★ New SSAA and SATB versions are now available for purchase from the composer using the Contact page.

I was one of three composers selected to participate in the INTERPLAY 2017 workshop offered by Jon Washburn and the Vancouver Chamber Choir.  This work was thoroughly rehearsed and scrutinized, with feedback provided by the conductor and members of the choir.  I was privileged to attend the world premier performance by the Vancouver Chamber Choir that spring.

Click here to hear the concert performance.

The Missa Brevis was written at age 21 for my Senior Composition recital.  In 1981 it was recorded by the St. Mary Magdalene Singers, (conducted by Dr. Robert H. Bell) for the Celebration program on CBC-FM, produced by John Reeves.  That recording resides in the CBC Radio archives. The 2020 edit updates the text slightly to make it all-inclusive.

Listen to a performance by an accomplished choir.

“Requiem for the Innocent” was written in the autumn of 2001. Television footage of children in war-torn Sarajevo weighed heavily on my mind. The Columbine school shooting struck home as well; at the time, I was teaching elementary school children every day. The Oklahoma bombing was particularly difficult to see because of the children attending the daycare there. The events of September 11 , 2001 precipitated the creation of this piece of music.

Human history is filled with tragedy. Natural disasters occur in their own natural rhythms. Often though, catastrophic events are caused by humans; sometimes accidentally, often intentionally. The impacts on families, loved ones, and survivors are devastating. Innocent lives are lost or changed forever.

“Requiem for the Innocent” gives us a few moments to reflect on the fleeting and fragile nature of human existence, and on tragedies that have shaped our own lives. It also reminds us of our remarkable human resilience. Somehow, survivors muster their strength and courage to pick up the pieces and move forward. Even though the emotional and physical toll remain with us for the rest of our lives, we pull together to rebuild and carry on, vowing to create a better future for our children.

I hope that “Requiem for the Innocent” will give performers and audience members the opportunity to reflect on what we can learn from the past, and how we can nurture younger generations to build a kinder, more equitable future for all.

When I started writing “Searching”, I was thinking specifically of two groups: members of the LGBTQ+ community; and young people who are trying to make sense of the world, to find their place in the world, and to make a meaningful, positive difference.  Very quickly, I realized that so many people are often marginalized by mainstream society; people living with significant issues like homelessness, domestic violence, or mental illness; being a member of a First Nations community; an immigrant or refugee; indeed, being part of any group that has been and still is treated unfairly. The list goes on and on.

“Searching” gives voice to our personal quest for answers in modern life. It provides an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue about real issues that many people face in their daily lives. I hope that it also gives singers and audience members pause for thought; a gentle reminder to be kind, and to consider that the words and actions of others are driven by circumstances in their own lives.

This arrangement is for SATB choir accompanied by piano and flute, or string quartet and flute.  I was honoured to attend the world premier performance by London Pro Musica, with the piano and flute accompaniment.  You can hear an excerpt form their performance here.

I’d love to hear a performance with a string quartet!  You are invited to use the Contact page if you have a recording or video to share.

This is a new setting of four poems by Sarah Teasdale.  Together, they tell a story that begins with the exhilaration of love, followed by heartbreak, leading to despair. The subtext opens the possibility of discussion about mental health issues and support available today.  You are invited to use the Contact page if you are interested in giving the premier performance of this new work.

I would like to thank the teacher who introduced me to Japanese Haiku, along with another teacher who invited members of my high school Psychology class to each bring a piece of music that had personal significance.  A classmate brought “Japanese Koto Classics”, (Nonesuch H 72008), opening up a whole new world of music for me!  My thanks go to teachers everywhere, who may never know how significant their work can be to the lives of their students!

The piano part of my “Three Haiku” is meant to evoke the sound of the koto, and the flute to be reminiscent of the Japanese wooden flute.  Any choir that has access to a harpist or koto player is invited to use these instruments instead of the piano.  A wooden flute would certainly add another dimension of authenticity! 

★ New SSAA and SATB arrangements of Three Haiku are now available!
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