2015 Roundup: My Year in Review

2015 has been a year to remember. Here’s a look back at what I did this year.


I published this blog every day, by my count 367 total posts. Of those, I wrote 363; I published four wonderful guest blogs from Jeremy Fox, Justin Binek, Jonathan Van Eck, and my son Owen.

I totaled around 80,000 words written for the blog this year; I have also made progress on the planning stages of my book.

I maintained a weekly newsletter collecting my writings for that week, as well as occasional extras and updates on my work.


I wrote five arrangements for 2014-15 Noteworthy, and have completed the first of four for 2015-16.

I wrote a commission of Merry Christmas Polka for Ginny Kerwin and her choir Voca Lyrica in Big Rapids, MI.

I wrote forty band charts in a three-week stretch for this year’s Rockford HS Cabaret.

I saw my 2015 sight reading for MSVMA published (both Choral Festival and Solo & Ensemble) and completed the 2016 editions. This is my fifth year writing sight reading materials.

In the wake of the overdue release of Happy Birthday To You from copyright, I made available my settings for interlocking choirs of many voicings – easy to put into a choir’s book to have ready at all times.

I have several active commissions going right now that should be delivered in the coming weeks and months. After that I anticipate a slightly quieter time for writing in the spring.


The Rockford Aces 2014-15 made excellent music last year, performing much challenging music, including several Anders Edenroth pieces as well as Gene Puerling’s My Romance. They earned a Superior rating with lovely singing at State S&E, and gave a well-received 2-hour concert (just the 12 of them) at the end of the school year.

Aces 2015-16 are coming along well: they have given fine performances already this year, have been guest performers at a regional choral event, and are working hard on new repertoire for the coming months. We’ll go in the studio in a couple weeks to track Christmas music; we should finally have enough (after 5 years of work) to mix our Rockford Aces Christmas Album!

This fall I received the product of our second major commission for this group, Michael McGlynn’s May. These young men are working hard at this challenging and beautiful music, with the hope of an April premiere.

I also performed as a guest conductor for the first time, with the MSVMA D6 Men’s Invitational Choir. It came off beautifully and I had a blast.

In May of 2015 we released the third Rockford Aces album, which ended up being a compilation of studio Aces tracks and live tracks from all three Rockford choirs that toured Europe in July 2014. I produced, designed, and planned the project. I think it’s the best record I’ve made in Rockford.

Professional Growth

My biggest professional growth this year came from the week we spent with Alice Parker in July. She picked me up by the ankle, shook me loose, and put me back down. I joked as we drove away, “Now to spend the next 50 years unpacking this week,” and that’s really pretty true.

I coded and published this website in 2015, switching from a simple blogger site to a full-fledged website with custom design. In the coming months I’ll be looking at responsive web design to make the site look better on mobile devices.

I developed a new project, the Michigan Choral Commission Consortium, whose mission will be to facilitate new choral works by putting together groups of choirs across Michigan. I have had a lot of interested choirs already and have contracted with Alice Parker for the first work; I will be starting the next step of the process in January.

I joined the ACDA-Michigan Executive Board as Webmaster/Editor and have been working to develop a new version of their website.

I remain on the MSVMA Full Board, where I helped manage the 2015 Summer Workshop, plan the 2016 Summer Workshop, and produce the third and final edition of the MYAF Jazz Choir. My proposal to replace it with a true Vocal Jazz All-State Choir passed a board vote in June, and I have been helping to plan it for a 2017 start.

I gave a 15-minute talk at the Summer Workshop and have planned a talk I hope to begin sharing with collegiate ACDA Chapters in the coming year.

Personal Growth

I ran a half-marathon alongside Mandy this summer, and raised $1,000 for pancreatic cancer research in the process.

I read 25 books this year, and included more poetry in my reading habit than ever before.

This is my 10th and final year as a full-time stay-at-home-dad: our youngest starts kindergarten in the fall. A big part of my 2015-16 school year has been simultaneously (1) imagining how my life will look without a kid at home and (2) savoring every last minute of this gift.