One of the joys of writing music is getting to hear it performed for the first time. Or the tenth time. Or the thousandth time. And on a weekend like this, I’m feeling especially lucky to have have three different concerts feature my music. Sadly, I was only at one of them – can’t be everywhere! – but I’ve heard reports back from all and am hopeful to hear more in the next few days and weeks.
The concert I was at was the Rockford High School Cabaret. Each year we select a theme and students audition to perform. This year some forty acts singing about thirty different Disney songs were selected on October 24th. Between then and November 15, I wrote 27 band trio charts to accompany the singers for the performance. It’s a sprint and a marathon all at once, and while it’s incredibly intense for those few weeks, it’s also so rewarding to see the music come to life and what my contribution adds. It was a pleasure to sit back and enjoy the Cabaret this weekend at Rockford.
Meanwhile on Saturday November 17, while I was at the final Cabaret performance, the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club was premiering two of my arrangements in their 153rd Fall Hill Auditorium Concert. I was disappointed not to be there, but I’ve heard short segments from the performance (the unstoppable James Pecar, a former student, sent me clips) and am very impressed by the performances. Beyond being a storied ensemble with an impressive history, the UMMGC is also the first non-high school choir I really heard as a young man (nearly 20 years ago in the fall of 1994) and I’ve been a fan since then. When their conductor, my friend Eugene Rogers, approached me this summer, I was excited at the challenge. I’m hopeful that these charts will have a life beyond Saturday night and am looking forward to the opportunity to hear them live! (And I can’t go on without mentioning how special it was to finish these pieces knowing that my recent student Connor Jewell would be performing them in his very first Hill Concert).
And minutes ago I heard from Rick Phelps, conductor of the Kalamazoo Singers, that they featured another of my men’s arrangements at their concert tonight. This is a chart I wrote a few years ago and have conducted several times, but I’m excited that it’s moved beyond my hands into new voices, interpretations, and trajectory. I was again sad to miss the concert, but so happy to hear that my dear Latin professor and mentor from WMU, Robert Griffin, was among the audience.
Having a career writing music has not been easy and I expect it will continue to be stop-start for a long time. But weekends like this affirm that I’m on the right path and give me the strength to get through the quiet mornings of creation.
Thank you Eugene, Rick, Dave and Mandy for putting my music in your programs. It’s a blessing.