Everyone already posted their year-in-review posts on Twitter and Instagram and who knows where else. I thought about taking a montage of pictures like a coffee mug, followed by school busses, followed by video calls, followed by cooking, followed by traveling, followed by house projects, followed by not sleeping, but I decided to blog instead.
My family and I were very fortunate this year. We traveled to some cool places. We adapted back to in-person school. I was able to mostly work from home and so was my wife (she always does but we are still grateful). We accomplished some serious house projects. We somehow miraculously stayed healthy and away from COVID. And somewhere in the middle of all that I managed to continue moonlighting as a composer/creative. So here are some things I was able to do in the in-betweens of life.
Love, Death, Sleep, Money – an album
I received a grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo to produce a full-length album which I am calling “Love, Death, Sleep, Money.” It will be a collection of songs, some new, some ten years old or more, that were composed during the in-betweens of life happening – our three kids, three houses, job changes, etc. I felt that the four words represent a realistic view of coming into real adulthood and parenthood.
I finally scheduled my studio time with La Luna Recording & Sound and I am excited to jump into a real studio with top notch engineers like Ian Gorman, to lay down piano, drums, guitars, bass, and strings. It will be a lot to fit into 30 hours.
If you want to stay updated on this project, stay in touch with my label by following me in all of these places:
Odd Pop Records Mailing list (not many emails, I promise)
Before 2021 happened, trombonist Justin Croushore of Some Assembly Required commissioned me to write an alto trombone solo with piano. Since he liked my previous piece with Some Assembly Required (Click Here, for piano, trombone, horn, bassoon, clarinet), I decided to combine my love of financials and taxes with new music and I wrote Form 1040 for speaking alto trombone and piano.
Justin premiered this work at the International Trombone Festival in Georgia, in person, and I also had the pleasure of having Justin Snyder as the accompanist, who previously played my Glass Etudes at an ÆPEX Contemporary Performance concert at Kalamazoo College a few years back.
You can listen to the premiere performance in the youtube link below. If you’d like to peruse the score, just email me!
New Music Gathering
Thanks again to a grant from the MCACA, I was able to present at the New Music Gathering in the Twin Cities. Brittin came with me and we made a weekend of seeing and hearing new music, new ideas, and catching up with some great people.
At New Music Gathering I presented a session called “The Money We Make” which was the result of a deep financial survey for musicians. It was basically an overview of what music people do to make money – how many jobs they have, how much they actually make, where they make their income, etc.
I found out a lot of people don’t like sharing that information. But I had a good amount of brave individuals who did fill out the anonymous survey. I also found out that we all aren’t doing that bad, for being musicians.
A New Song Cycle
On the heels of my July premiere, I began conversations surrounding the commissioning of new song cycle. I am happy to announce that I will be working on a song cycle using a poem by Craig Santos Perez, to be performed by countertenor Thomas Alaán and guitarist Nanae Fujiwara.
The song cycle will be for voice and guitar, but it will be able to be played in the classical style, or other folk/pop styles if one chooses to play it as a singer-songwriter or with a different guitarist. So that’s exciting!
Listen to Nanae’s beautiful playing on her YouTube:
Odds and Ends
I also managed to keep speaking at random places like Bellevue High School and the Ultimate Music Business Summit, and I had a “let’s get back to it” performance at Oakland University in the fall, but I won’t share that video because I still need to practice those songs! I also was able to compose a synthesized orchestra piece titled “March of the Minotaurs” for my long time high school friend Ben Collins-Hamel and his label Spaghetti Records (look out for the album release coming… er, sometime!)
That’s it for now! Don’t forget, you can keep up with my creative pursuits on all the channels and you can listen to my music at the places below:
Listen to my “old” albums on Spotify: