Watchful Shepherd

WatchfulShepherdFor Good Shepherd Sunday this year, I had programmed an arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Schafe können sicher weiden” from Cantata 208 with an English text. At each of the choir rehearsals I had however, I became more and more frustrated with the part writing and the irregularity of the text. Finally, in a fit of frustration, I decided I would make my own arrangement and fix both the voice leading and text problems. While I considered trying for a translation of the original German, I opted instead to paraphrase Psalm 23. This is an easy anthem for the choir as they sing a simple four part harmonization of the chorale melody supported at all times by keyboard accompaniment. The piece could also be performed by a unison choir singing the soprano melody.

A performance by the Choir of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen can be seen here.

To Love Is to Be Breakable

To Love Is To Be CoverComposed at the request of Dr. Carl MaultsBy, Director of Music/Organist at St. Richard’s Episcopal Church in Winter Park for a service of Evensong in commemoration of C.S. Lewis at Knowles Chapel on the campus of Rollins College. The text is a paraphrase of C.S. Lewis by John Dalles. While the piece is written in an advanced tonal language dividing into SATB, most of the composition is in unison or two-part. The audio below was generated by the Finale music notation program so does not reflect the registrations indicated for the organ.

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Fanfare on ‘National Hymn’

BNSMQU Michael Face
On Sunday, September 29, a new statue of St. Michael will be dedicated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. Discovering that there would be an additional procession of banners, music director Bill Picher asked if I would make a short fanfare arrangement of the tune “National Hymn’ to provide music for the extra procession. With only a few days to complete the project, I got to work as quick as I could.

Here’s a video from a rehearsal at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen:


Centennial Celebration Gloria

Gloria.Centennial.Unison1 For many years when planning large multilingual diocesan celebrations, I felt Latin would be the best option for the Mass Ordinary. Because these special celebrations often are festive occasions where I had supplemental instrumental resources, using the traditional Latin chants always felt out of place, especially for the Gloria which follows so soon after what typically is a rousing entrance procession. Even though I love chant, the contrast between styles always seemed to make this hymn of praise more of a funeral dirge.

Finally, I took the time to write a more festive accompanied setting of the Latin text for the closing celebration of the Centennial of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kissimmee, Florida. While I may eventually do an SATB version and instrumental parts, the piece was first performed by on June 30, 2013 in unison by the combined choirs of Holy Redeemer. There is a congregational-friendly refrain and the verses are marked for women/men/all choral groupings but could just as easily be sung by a cantor alone.

Purchase of the downloadable score grants permission to reprint as necessary for performance by the person or organization. All other rights (including further distribution) are reserved.

Cantate Domino

Written by request for the choral concert given on May 22, 2011 by William Picher and the Basilica Choir with friends. The choral group for the day contained 16 singers, and Bill was looking for a 16-voice piece. I sat with this request for quite a while before finally settling on this text and the general style of the piece. Most of the piece is written for 8-part choir, but the middle section is a 16 part fugue. The recording below was made at the dress rehearsal prior to the concert.

1. Listen now     

Psalm 96: 1-3
Cantate Domino canticum novum:
Cantate Domino omnis terra.
Cantate Domino, benedicite nomini eius:
Adnuntiate diem de die salutare eius.

Purchase of the PDF download includes permission to reprint copies as necessary for performance.

O Sons and Daughters

This is an arrangement of the Easter Hymn O Filii et Filiae for SATB choir, organ and brass quintet. It was originally written for the 25th anniversary of the episcopal ordination of Howard Hubbard as Bishop of the Diocese of Albany. The event was celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter and needed a lengthy piece for the entrance procession. In addition to including all nine verses of the hymn there are interludes between each verse. This arrangement served as the basis for the later arrangement used at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the Papal visit to New York City.

The score packet includes a full score, choral score, and parts for organ, horn, trumpet 1, trumpet 2, trombone 1, and trombone 2. Purchasers are granted permission to print or reprint scores as necessary for performance.

Crucifixion Hymns

Americans are used to reading hymns with the text set between the treble and bass clef staffs with the syllables more or less lined up with the music. British hymns are usually set with the music at the top of the page and all the lyrics at the bottom in a format that makes the poetry more obvious. The score for The Crucifixion by John Stainer presents the five hymns in British style. While preparing for the CFAGO combined choir performance of the work, this has proved a bit of a challenge for my American choir, I have taken the time to set the text within the music and am offering the files for download below. Some files include the performance instructions which we followed.

Hymns from the Crucificion by John Stainer:

  • Ave Verum Corpus

    Ave verum corpus,
    natum de Maria Virgine,
    vere passum, immolatum
    in cruce pro homine,
    cuius latus perforatum
    fluxit aqua et sanguine:
    esto nobis praegustatum
    in mortis examine.

    This setting of the traditional Latin text is for unaccompanied SATB choir with moderate divisi in all four parts. The musical language is modern while still using traditional sonorities. The audio below was generated by the Finale music notation program.

    1. Listen now     


    Rejoice in the Lord

    Gaudete in Domino semper:
    iterum dico, gaudete.
    Rejoice in the Lord always,
    and again I say rejoice.

    This musical setting of text from the introit for the third Sunday of Advent is written for unaccompanied SATB choir. The lyrics use both Latin and English phrases from the introit. The music alternates between short unison chant sections and longer polyphonic sections based on ideas found in the original Gregorian chant.