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SSA with Choral Solos and Piano

I often find it difficult to find music for grown women: much treble repertoire is written for children's ranges and feature children's themes, and the remainder seems to be about romantic relationships.  When searching for a text that speaks to the nature of a woman, I found Emily Dickinson's little-known "For largest Woman's Heart I knew."  It seemed to pair naturally with "Heart! We will forget him!" and provide context rooted in personal strength.


While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly 1,800 poems were published during her lifetime, usually altered significantly to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time.  A complete, and mostly unaltered, scholarly collection of her poetry first became available five full years after Aaron Copland's musical settings of her poetry.  I took the opportunity to explore what Copland never had the chance to: Emily Dickinson's poem as the poet had conceived it, unedited, and with the punctuation she intended.

Click HERE for recording


Lights of the Western Sky

SSA Chorus with Soloists, Percussion, and Bluegrass Ensemble

"Lights of the Western Sky" is a compilation of 3 celestial American folk songs collected by Ruth Crawford Seeger, commissioned by Casper Children's Chorale to celebrate the 2017 total solar eclipse visible in Casper, Wyoming in honor of Mick McMurray.  The pieces are connected not only by the folk style and the star subject, but also by tracing the course of a day, and by focusing on the connection of the outer world to the inner soul.


I.  Bright Morning Stars-- An additive processional on the ultimate theme of children singing.  Though the traditional verses state that the fathers are "down in the valley a-prayin''' and the mothers have "gone to heaven a-shoutin'" (or vice versa), the lyrics have been freely adapted in the folk tradition of "floating verses" (adapting lyrics to personal experience) to describe the children's experience.  The opening percussion motif is intended to evoke Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man."

II. Oh, Watch the Stars-- "Oh, Watch the Stars" and "Great Big Stars," combined in unique ways.  The two songs used, "Oh, Watch the Stars" and "Great Big Stars," are distinct in their own right.  They have been fused together in this movement, borrowing the text from one and using the tune from the other, and modifying one to partner with the other when presented simultaneously.  A fusion of two styles, this movement opens solemnly and culminates in a "hoedown showdown."


Read about "Lights of the Western Sky" (SSA) in the Casper (WY) Star Tribune, May 8, 2017.


Click HERE for recording

$8.50 score and parts, $3 ea for choral parts

Mozart's At the Window

SATB or Two-Part Treble with Piano

Text and concept by Gunnar Madsen

Music abridged from W. A. Mozart's Symphony No.40 in G minor, K.550 IV. Allegro assai


After getting absolutely sick of the inane music I'd been playing for my young children in the car, I was elated to discover Gunnar Madsen's CD "I'm Growing" featuring "Mozart's At the Window."  The kids were delighted with this funny song about some naughty kid, and my husband and I were delighted with the enormous improvement of musical quality in our vehicle.  It was shortly thereafter that this choral arrangement was born.


Gunnar writes, "In my first music theory class in college, the teacher and the students were recalling the silly ways they'd been taught to remember classical melodies when they were young.  One of them was for Mozart's 40th symphony (which I'd never heard) which consisted of "Now Mozart's at the window - Let him in, Let him in, Let him in".  What an ear-worm!  For 25 years now I've dreamt of expanding that ditty into something more substantial, and now I'm proud to present the finished piece.  I'm really going to get a kick of sending this one to my teacher!"


Click HERE for recording


Sailing on the Dew

SATB or Two-Part Treble with Piano

Commissioned for the Redmond Centennial Celebration with themes of "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," this faux sea-chanty is a fictional account of the "Jennie June" which may or may not have played a role in helping homesteaders settle Redmond, WA.  Redmond is the homesite of Microsoft, other tech companies, and many new start-ups.  This contemporary adventure- and fortune-seeking hearkens back to the settling of the area and forward to what sort of spirit of adventure will draw future homesteaders to the area.

The muddy Squak River was so shallow, boats were said to be "sailing on the dew" and to take so long that boats would sail up in January and return in June.  It was slow-going from Seattle to the Eastside until they got the right vessel for the job.  The water was too shallow for paddle steamers, and the Jennie June was a much-beloved vessel with a propeller on the back to better navigate the difficult river.


Click HERE for recording.


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