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A World Premiere Performance in Minnesota

June brought the first event of what promises to be a very busy summer for my composition work. On June 21-23, I attended a music conference sponsored by the Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers (CFAMC) at the Meetinghouse Church in Edina, Minnesota. A special choral concert featured the works of 15 composers from around the country, including the first performance of Christ Be with Me, a new choral work of mine for unaccompanied voices.

Composed for unaccompanied voices, Christ Be With Me is based on portions of a well -known text attributed to St. Francis. The repetition of Christ’s name throughout the text presents a challenge as well as an anchor for this contemplative work. An opening motive, presented by the alto section, provides the central core for the composition. This material is shared with the other voices in the choir throughout the work, often employing contrapuntal textures. The ending is warm also but open-ended, symbolizing Christ’s willingness to comfort and restore.

The conference presented recent works by members of the organization including works for choir, orchestra and chamber forces. A highlight of the event was an online master class provided by James MacMillan from his home in Scotland. Three young composers had the opportunity to share their work with an internationally acclaimed composer and receive positive feedback.

CFAMC offers an opportunity for composers who worship in the Christian faith to present works to fellow members in yearly conferences as well as online broadcasts. The organization observes a welcoming policy that encourages composers from both conservative and liberal traditions to share works with their colleagues. All political philosophies are expected, but there is an agreement to leave these opinions at home! CFAMC advocates warm encouragement of all compositional activity and acknowledges that each member is “on a unique personal spiritual journey guided by the Holy Spirit in the love and grace of God.”

President Walter Saul addresses the audience before a concert of orchestral works


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