Over the past year and a half, I’ve contributed some new compositions and arrangements that have been published and recorded by The Wilds. While I’m not actively writing much music during this season of life, I’m glad that these pieces have found a publishing home and have enhanced the recordings listed below.
The Wilds has published three new anthems in the past couple years, highlighted below.
The Love of God
About 10 years ago, I dreamed up a new tune and an updated chorus for the classic hymn text by Frederick Lehman. It was toward the end of my time with the Pettit Team, and the piece didn’t quite find a home there. Well, then I was back to grad school and the piece got shoved in a drawer (figuratively).
Several years after grad school, I remembered this tune and fleshed it out into a full SATB choral setting (with flute and piano). I’m grateful to my friend Matt Taylor at the Wilds for publishing this anthem and for including it on his and Christy’s latest recording (more on that below).
Music, orchestration and full demo available from The Wilds.
Psalm of Praise
About 6 years ago, I decided to set Thomas Ken’s lesser-known text, “Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun” and incorporate elements of the Doxology as a chorus (Ken wrote it in conjunction with his morning and evening hymns).
Personally, I love that text, but publishers didn’t. One commented that it didn’t have much of a liturgical use but was more a “me and my Bible and a cup of coffee on the front porch” kind of text. So, in a drawer it went. (Yes, there’s a bit of a pattern here.)
A few years went by, and I asked my friend and coworker Eileen Berry to do something unusual. In a move I stole directly from Eric Whitacre, I asked Eileen to take a look at the anthem and the text and see if she’d be interested in composing a new lyric that fit the meter and feel of the tune.
She obliged, and Psalm of Praise was born. Loosely based on Psalm 147, this text is more accessible to 21st century audiences. While it’s certainly no Eric Whitacre Sleep, I think it will be useful for churches. Matt agreed to publish this as well. Stay tuned for future recording news.
Music, orchestration and full demo recording available from The Wilds.
You Are the Christ (SSAATTBB)
And now for something completely different: a divisi a cappella arrangement of a beloved Wilds song, complete with (one instance of) vocal percussion!
A few years ago, Matt approached me and several other arrangers, looking for complex a cappella arrangements of well-known Wilds songs, for a 50th anniversary recording. One of the two I set was You Are the Christ. I went for a big, atmospheric sound, one in the neighborhood of Voctave or some of Voces8’s modern work (…or something like that).
Personally, I love a cappella and love writing for it. I just know it doesn’t always sell well unless you’re Eric Whitacre (and we’ve already established I’m not). So writing these for a specific album use was a lot of fun for me.
Look, you and I both know this isn’t exactly average fare for your average church choir, but it sure is fun! The Wilds published the arrangement, so interested advanced ensembles can find it at JW Pepper.
I’ve had music included on two recent releases from The Wilds Music, as well.
Jesus Is Better
Matt and Christy recorded a duet album with choral/orchestral backing, titled Jesus Is Better. They included “The Love of God” as a solo by Matt, and I think it turned out lovely…even if I wrote the solo version with Christy’s voice in mind!
Also included here is my other a cappella arrangement, which got delayed and left off the 50th anniversary album. My men’s a cappella arrangement of “It’s Still the Cross” should be a lot of fun if you’re into modern a cappella music. It has a sound you might not be expecting from the Wilds.
Giving Him the Glory
This is the 50th anniversary a cappella album I mentioned earlier. With arrangements from I think 6 or more contributors, the styles here vary widely. Some tracks are pretty accessible church choir fare. Others are grand, majestic, sweeping sounds. Some pull in ideas and harmonies from modern concert music.
And then there’s mine. My setting of You Are the Christ is more in the vein of modern a cappella. To be honest, I thought that’s what all the arrangers were doing, but I thought wrong :-).
Stay Tuned for Other Stuff
I know this site has seemed a little abandoned lately. That’s largely because I’m not writing or arranging right now. But that doesn’t mean I’m not doing interesting stuff! I’ll be gradually adjusting this space to account for the other musical (and perhaps even nonmusical?) things I’m spending my time on these days, so stay tuned if you’re curious.
As a preview: Below is a Beckenhorst video demo I made with my friend Nikki Eoute along with Dan Forrest and Joanna Mulfinger.
Many who know me as a composer don’t know that I sing, so if you’ve made it this far in this post and didn’t know: surprise! I sing. And I’ve been doing more of it in 2020.
More on that later on.