Jeff Cobb‘s session at the Michigan Music Conference about commissioning was excellent, though it would have been nice to see more people there! I believe strongly that it’s important to encourage the creation of new choral music apart from the big publishing companies. That’s where the art is going to come from. The successful composers and arrangers I know became successful because a conductor trusted them to write something, or was willing to program music by an untested composer. Even with the tight budgets of music education these days, it’s feasible to form a commissioning group or get underwriting. And the payoff educationally, as well as musically, is huge. I was especially interested in Jeff’s practice of creating a composer-in-residence connection with many of his commissions – he visits the students and helps them to understand the compositional process, including text setting, melody, harmony, etc. Sometimes he even works with students to create the text or some melodic material. What a great sense of ownership when the piece is complete! And what a great education for your students.