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I'm excited to announce that I’ve been composing a lot recently! That might sound a bit odd to you, I suppose. “Isn’t that your job, to compose?” you would ask me. And I would respond, “Yes, but it’s funny how little time I actually spend composing.” If I was honest, I would add, "And I'm super excited because it's hard to spend that much time composing."

I just finished transcribing the audio recording from my panel discussion at a choral conductors conference in February (many of my readers will know ACDA - American Choral Directors Association) and I AM CHANGED  — AGAIN! 

I have a daily practice, as I’m sure many of you have. It defines and gives purpose to my days. It’s pretty simple: “How do I make the world a better place...today?” I write music that I hope inspires singers and audiences to do good in the world and encourages them to think about the world and themselves in new, transformative ways. I try to treat others with kindness. I attempt to live out my value that our earth is a living planet I respect and that my choices reflect how I care for her.

My commission and upcoming World Premiere of “Whether the Weather” by Amuse Singers in New York will be on February 23 and 26, and March 4. Tickets and more information about their Weather Reports concerts are available here

I’m flying to New York and will be at the March 3 concert if you would like to come say “Hello.” Please let me know if you are coming or find me after the concert.  

I can remember as a child sitting for hours making posters that prominently featured peace signs and doves alongside pleas for world peace. I was full of the hope and innocence that often accompanies childhood. I mean, let's be real, world peace will never happen, right? Then why, as an adult, do I keep writing songs about it? Why, deep in my heart of hearts, do I still believe it could be a reality someday?

          I am very excited to share with you that the culmination of years of writing and meetings and planning — the premiere of “Walking Together” — happened. Like nothing I had ever done before, Walking Together was born of a desire to make the world a better place. My plan was to have neighbor meet neighbor and to get to know each other's stories — stories about immigration, migration, race, and ethnicity. And all these stories were spoken by a diverse group of readers over music I composed.

I am extremely honored to announce two world premieres this weekend! 

"Although the Wind," with text by Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield
Commissioned by the Bowling Green State University Women's Chorus, Sandra Stegman, director

University Women's Chorus Concert, Sunday, April 17, 3:00 PM, Kobacker Hall, Moore Musical Arts Center, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

"O My Friends What Can You Tell Me Of Love," with text by Mirabai, translated by Jane Hirshfield

I have been thinking a lot about endings recently as I finish two choral commissions within two weeks of each other (I know, I'm crazy).

But seriously, how does one know when a piece is finished? For me, at it’s core, composing is about listening, about tuning in to what a piece needs and where it wants to go. Of course it makes sense that listening is important throughout a piece. But it is imperative at the end, because, well... let's just say, it’s good to know when to stop.

It was Wednesday morning and I was composing a piece about peace and harmony. I was behind schedule and it was due Friday. Even so, I couldn’t concentrate. Jamar Clark was on my mind. Just days before, this young black man was shot by police. Black Lives Matter protesters had been occupying the 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis since Sunday. Ferguson was my backyard.

As part of my research for my MRAC Community Arts Grant, Walking Together, I am thrilled to announce that I will be traveling to Selma March 5-9 to attend the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 from . As I continue to choose texts and write music, I am planning to keep in touch, as much as possible, with the topics of the project through first hand research.

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