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This piece is written for an advanced ensemble with the ability to do up to 8 parts divisi. In order to bring more emotional weight to this anti war composition I created two sections that rely solely on the idea of descending stepwise motion. Each voice descends at different times and using different note lengths until finally coming to rest. The text takes Latin quotes, phrases and sayings and weaves them into a tapestry that carries a strong and timeless message.
Music purchases are for downloadable pdf scores. The purchaser pays for a limited copy license which gives them the right to print a specific number of copies.
Written for an intermediate level ensemble, this high energy piece would be a great concert closer. It was written to explore choral writing without the use of poetry. Abandoning poetry opens up many compositional doors for the choral composer since being unrestrained by text yields a greater ability to choose your own rhythm and form among other things. I chose to make up syllables that would fit each of the motifs in the piece. The bass ostinato throughout the piece is based on the rhythm of a taiko drum pattern I heard many years ago while the upper parts explore short motifs and contemporary harmonies. The uniting of these two ideas felt to me like a “fusion” of different musical styles, thus the title.
The SATB version is published by Hal Leonard
The SSAA version is available here.
Selene is the goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.
This piece was originally written after we purchased a “Hapi”, a relative of the “Hang” drum. The sound of my early improvisations on the instrument evoked an image of something celestial so we decided that the lyrics should be about the moon. I created the Hapi part first and then wove the choral parts around it. Allison then crafted the gorgeous lyrics and I massaged them into the piece. The Hapi is a gorgeous accompaniment for choir and can be played with the hands (as it is on the youtube recording) or mallets. The piece would also work nicely with other pitched percussion such as vibraphone, marimba or even harp.
And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda
I wrote this arrangement of the fabulous Eric Bogle composition for Chor Leoni Men’s Choir for their first album titled “Songs for War and Peace”. I’m also singing the solo.
This is a charming Jamaican folk song about a little girl named Eva. Jazzy, rhythmic, and full of great harmony.
Last Night of Stars
Purchase from Hal Leonard
Cat. # – 50600424 SATB Divisi, A Cappella US $2.25
A child lies in her bed at night staring out of her high-rise window at a view obscured by a
thick haze, her bedroom flooded with sounds from the city. One child such as this may be the voice
that brings about the changes needed to remedy our relationship with the planet.
Blues for a Green Boy
Written for an intermediate to advanced level ensemble this piece takes the listener into the mind of a young boy as he plays the blues but lives in a world of green. Subtle shades of gospel are woven into contemporary harmonies.
Purchase at Hal Leonard
I was commissioned to write this piece by Electra Women’s Choir in Vancouver BC for their Christmas Concert in 2015.
The published version is for SATB. It is a secular jazz waltz and is suitable for an intermediate to advanced level group.
The lyric is about hearing a busker on a street corner, reliving memories of favourite Christmases past, and being grateful that songs can connect us to such memories. Woven in are snippets of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and O Holy Night.
It will be published by Hal Leonard in Fall of 2016. Pre-publication scores can be ordered here:
The Bridge Builder
Written for an advanced ensemble, this wonderful parable by Will Allen Dromgoole has a dreamy quality and the music reflects that by using subtle syncopation and a scale that produces chords and melodies that straddle the gulf between darkness and light.
“To light, to water, and the flow of birds through ancient stars.” This fantastic poetry written by Malca Litovitz, so rich with imagery of the Canadian Winter, provided the inspiration for a composition that embraces word painting.
Ave Maris Stella
This piece was written for an intermediate level ensemble. The wonderful poetry by D.H. Lawrence is set in such a way that the choir and the piano meet as equal partners in shaping this wonderful imagery; “Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings…”
This emotionally uplifting work relies on gentle dissonances that ebb and flow with the spanish text. It has been performed by youth choirs as well as professional ensembles and would make a great choice for festival competition.
TABULA RASA was the winning composition of the 2010 DaCapo Chamber Choir NewWorks competition.
When the Earth Stands Still/SATB SSAA TTBB
TTBB studio recording sung by Don Macdonald.
SATB studio recording done by Allison Girvan and Don Macdonald.
I wrote this for my wife Allison Girvan’s small but advanced youth choir, Laline, the smallest of 3 ensembles that she directs. I decided to compose a song much as a contemporary songwriter would, with my own lyrics and a form based around repeating verse and chorus. This is probably one of the easiest pieces of mine to learn yet one of the hardest to perform since the long phrases require a great deal of attention to dynamics, breathing, and consistency of tone.
There is No Rose
This sacred English Carol has been set by many composers over the years, probably most famously by Benjamin Britten in his “Ceremony of Carols”. This version is written for an intermediate to advanced level ensemble and contains some gentle dissonances that build and then retract to suggest the image of a rose open and closing.
Showing all 16 results