In the summer of 1989, I began composing a work for soprano saxophone, organ, chorus with soprano and baritone soloists. The poems were taken from Langston Hughes’ Feet of Jesus. Since the premiere performance in May of 1990 at Calvary Episcopal Church in New York the work has been performed in major cities throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. It continues to be my most performed work, largely because of the recording released on the BIS Northern Lights label, “Spirituals.”

Other popular choral pieces include Mesa Songs (SSAATTBB, Native American flute, drum, and rain stick). I was greatly influenced by the dramatic landscape of Northern Arizona with its red and orange earth, bright blue and turquoise skies, and by my newfound exposure to ceremonies of the Hopi-Zuni Native Americans. I found a voice in the poetry of Betty Andrews (1933-1994), who lived in Hollywood for many years, and was a screenwriter for such popular Westerns as “Gunsmoke”, “Wagon Train,” and “Bonanza.”

Train Poems

Three settings of poems by Laura Kelly

SATB, with solo vocal quartet

A Cappella

1. The Silver Breath of Water

2. The Gentle Theater of Sunday Afternoon

3. The Echo My Future Runs Ahead to Make

Long, Long Ago

The Mountain that is Mine

Poem by Charlie Moody

Solo or unison voices & piano

Three Songs for Pan

To texts by William Shakespeare (Troilus and Cressida)

SATB divisi, oboe & piano

1. Love, love, nothing but love, still more!

2. O heart, heavy heart

3. Full merrily the humble-bee doth sing