Category: Works in Progress

Well, as I spend the Easter weekend with family, I am contemplating the week coming up.
I have several partial compositions sitting in my Sibelius software scores folder just dying to be looked at and played with.
On top of that, I have a commission piece being premiered on June 12 and a probably second edition of that work being performed by a big chorus out west. (more later)
So, after the weekend vacation here in sunny J’ville, it will be back to work and plenty of joyful creation at the Mac and the piano.


This is the second draft of “She Moved Through The Fair” by Kevin Michael Tillman.

This arrangement is TTBB (2 div. per part) with trio toward the middle. I am planning to integrate the trio into the rest of the TTBB parts.

To hear the song, click on the title of this post or click here.

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I have made a commitment to spread beauty. There is way too much hatred and ugliness in the world – I don’t think there is any need to spread more.

The one thing I think some people get uncomfortable about is death. According to many of them, death is to be feared and it is an an awful thing. We as Westerners spend way too much time trying to buy immortality.

For many of us, who see death as something that should be reserved for the old, will say that people died before their time.

But in reality, we all die at the appropriate time and the appropriate season.

If we are to truly embrace God and trust in God’s will in the world, we should also begin to respect the circle of life. We will not die until it is our time. The purposes and reasons of death are far too many to count.

For any Of the myriad of negative and horrible reasons we can find for death, there are just as many good and beautiful reasons. In the end it is a matter of perception.

I am in no way saying that there is not room for sorrow and grief, this is normal and good. But I would suggest that in some place during our grief, there must be room to celebrate life. In personal loss, how many wonderful things did our lost loved ones bring to our lives? How do we count the ways?

In mass death and destruction, to face the reality of it is to question why. I believe that we would be severely derelict in our responsibility to humanity to ignore such occurances. In my view, and this is only a simple observation – I could go on for days about this, but I will save that for a future post – In events of man-made destruction and death, like war, we are called to see the insanity and injustice of such actions. Jesus told us to love our enemies, not blow them into oblivion. And what about the innocents caught in the “crossfire?” Doesn’t the recognition that innocent blood is spilled underscore the incompatibility of war with Christian teaching? Ignoring the obvious “Turn the other cheek” and “Love your enemies” the pain and destruction of human life and of God’s creation is just completely “un-Christ-like”

In natural disasters, esp. The ones of the previous twelve months, how often have we been reminded of the Lord’s commandment to do unto the least of these? How often have we been shown the complete disinterest of certain government officials to take responsibility for their failings; both in dealing with our own domestic watersides and in our failing to live up to our commitment to provide monetary aid to those suffering abroad because of earthquakes or tsunamis?

The revelation of how cruel, insensitive and hateful certain individuals and groups can be in both cases of man-made and natural disasters is one of the many gifts we receive from such horrible events.

Another is the mirror of the above revaluation. What is also brought to light in such events is just how good and caring people can be. The fact that there is still good in the world – a reminder that we need way too often in our day-to-day lives.

In the end, large scale disasters provide yet another opportunity for us to live in to the teachings of Christ, as well as hold people accountable for their failings which are brought to light during these times.

In between, I pray that we don’t forget the lessons we learned at such an exorbitant price.

In the long journey from the moment I lost the gift of my partner to AIDS to the present, I have come to the realization of the gift of his life and his death. In the least, for me, I have to say it simply, “I have loved.” Nothing has illustrated this as succinctly as a cycle of music titled “When We No Longer Touch.” If you read the background about this music you may begin to realize what I have learned. What I learned from him and others like him is this: we can make of our lives to others a gift from our hearts – we have that choice. The composer was facing his own death because of AIDS. What he decided to do was write his own requiem and in the process, he wrote something that has touched thousands of lives. The lyrics are based on the six phases of grief: Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance Hope and then the composer included the text from the Latin requiem mass. For me, along with helping me re-visit how I went through those phases after losing my partner, the composer also creates a thing of sheer beauty. After starting on a journey of self exploration that has come to my current point of striving for personal authenticity, I am in this place of being weary of being angry, hateful, and sometimes scared when I look at the world around me. I realized three basic things:

  1. Others are surely feeling the way I do – I’m not unique in my anxiety and my anger when I see all the injustice in the world.
  2. There are people in the world who are much better prepared to deal with the injustices and teach the Gospel and spread the Good News; standing on the street corner and protesting those who proclaim God’s word is “hatred” when necessary.
  3. God is ultimately in control and He has given me a specific task.

I believe I have finally come to a personal assurance of that task. I believe that in this crazy world, there need to be oases of calm and peace. There need to be places to take refuge from the storm. That rest is found in the Lord. I feel that with the help of the Spirit to guide me, I will try to provide some refuge. I hope to spread this art – my music and poetry – as far and wide as possible. Where does one start? Well that is another story for another post.

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