The Road Forward

So much has happened in the last-- five years?-- since I've posted to this blog. There have been so many times that I've thought I should get back to it. There was the move back from Alabama to New Mexico, this time to the city of Albuquerque (side note: you haven't lived until you've just been chillin' outside at Downtown Java Joe's drinking your coffee, when you suddenly see the Bounder RV pull up and you're a stop on the Breaking Bad Tour). There was the descent into a global pandemic and the chilling effects it had on the choral world. There were the many ways that we innovated to meet the challenges posed by a world that now knew COVID, both as conductors and composers, and the new works that were born out of that time. So much to write about, so much to process- and that third one will likely become a nice blog post in the near future. But at this moment I want to take some time to focus on just that: the future.

Amidst all of the upheaval that I, and all of us, have experienced over the past few years, something wonderful has been taking root. More and more people have been getting to know the music that I have been writing- and, through the wonders of Zoom, I have been getting to know you. I've had many gratifying experiences of getting to talk with choirs around the country, each of them performing various works of mine. Sometimes I've gotten to hear snippets (as much as the not-so-wonderful-wonders of Zoom will allow) of what you all are working on. I've gotten thoughtful questions and been able to engage with singers in various cities and towns, and that has been such a blessing in the midst of some really trying times for all of us. And I've been getting emails letting me know how certain pieces have helped you in a time of need.

So I want to take a moment to thank all of you. You've let me know that what I am creating is having a positive impact and that it is meaningful to you. Whenever I receive these comments, be they in email form or over a Zoom meeting, I'm always wondering if I could possibly be the composer to whom you're speaking. It is always humbling, stunning, and grounding in a time that has contained so much darkness. Music matters. Art matters. And these works that pour forth from all of us who create during and in response to these times of trial can help each of us- listeners and creators- to clarify our feelings, find inspiration, create our sense of purpose, and know we are all connected and not alone. 

One wonderful in-person moment that I experienced this spring was getting to host the Concordia Choir at Central United Methodist Church (where I started as Director of Music Ministries in January of 2018) while on their 2022 tour. They asked me to conduct "Light of the World" as part of their concert at Central, performed in combination with the Santa Fe High School Choir, and it was incredibly gratifying to get to work with all of these committed and enthusiastic students- and then to later to get to speak with many of them one on one.

So I hope the road forward is filled with more creating and connecting and using art to bring light into the darkness. Because so many of you have asked me to talk about the genesis of some of these pieces, I definitely see a number of new "songscape" blog posts in the future. Want to know something else- let me know! Let's all keep on connecting, and creating, and being warriors for light in this world.


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