Note: The ideas and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of CFAMC, nor of the editor.
In this issue:
- CFAMC 2002 Scholarship Winners
- CFAMC 2002 National Conference Report
- CFAMC President’s 2002 “State of the Fellowship” address
- News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
- Welcome new members
- From the editor
CFAMC 2002 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Julian Bryson, a student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Jonathon Roberts, a student at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, are the dual recipients of the 2002 Christian Fellowship of Art Music Composers Scholarship. The purpose of the annual award is to recognize and support Christian student composers who demonstrate both excellence in their Christian testimony and achievement and potential in art music composition. The award of $250 each will be used by Bryson and Roberts for academic or summer study in composition during 2002-2003. The judges included CFAMC Board member Walter Saul, Chair of the music department at Warner Pacific College, CFAMC Vice President Greg Scheer, Director of Music Ministries and music faculty member at Northwestern College (IA), and CFAMC founder and President Mark Hijleh, Associate Professor of Music at Houghton College.
This is the first time the award has been split. Previous recipients include Andrew Dionne, Daniel Kellogg, and Ewan Clark.
Julian Bryson’s music has been performed at conferences of the Society of Composers and the Southeastern Composers’ League. In speaking of his work as a composer, Mr. Bryson notes, “Through composition, God has given me an outlet through which I can express to the world both the peace that passes all understanding and the eminent judgment of God. Even when a piece is not inherently scriptural in its inception, I believe that my ideas are inspired by God for His purpose, and can still be used by Him. I see my compositions and my musical training as opportunities for my life to honor God.”
Jonathon Roberts has won composition awards from Michigan State University and Pi Lambda. Mr. Roberts comments, “Just as one’s Christian faith continually grows as they study the Word, so do all aspects of their life become more and more Christ-centered as their faith grows. Though I have been composing music for nearly ten years and I’ve been a Christian for twenty years, I feel as though am an infant in both. Combining the two great loves of my life is certainly a life-long endeavor. I look forward to the long roads ahead of me as a Christian and a musician, and I am thankful that they are becoming more and more of the same road every day.”
CFAMC 2002 NATIONAL CONFERENCE REPORT
(Keep watching the CFAMC web page for pictures, texts, availability of concert CDs, and other information stemming from the 2002 conference!)
The 2002 national CFAMC conference was held February 22-23 in Indianapolis, IN, hosted by CFAMC Secretary Frank Felice. Meetings took place at Simhat Yeshua Congregation, a Messianic Jewish church, and two concerts were given at Butler University featuring works by CFAMC composers Scott Robbins, Frank Felice, Donald M. Wilson, Lynn Job, Frank LaRocca, Allen Molineux, Jason Bahr, Andrew Sauerwein, William Vollinger, John Richards, J. Ryan Garber, Mark Hijleh, John Akins, and Michael LaCroix.
Two presentations were also made to participants. “Thoughts After a Resurrection Series”, given by Andy Sauerwein, explored his new work for mixed ensemble based on a series of drawings of Christ on the cross. Greg Scheer spoke on important theological support for “The Composer and Community”. Finally, members shared their scores and recordings with each other during several peer sessions.
As has always been the case at CFAMC conferences, the Indianapolis meeting included much wonderful time for prayer and fellowship. Members encouraged one another and had dialogue on issues and topics important to their lives as Christians and composers. Many interesting ideas about the ongoing work of CFAMC were also discussed. The Board of Directors held its annual meeting during the conference. Among the topics covered were ideas on a new model for conferences involving both a local congregation and “secular” concert venues, possible locations and times for future conferences, applications for grants from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and the future of the CFAMC scholarship program. Full information will be shared with all members of the Fellowship as specific decisions are made.
CFAMC PRESIDENT’S 2002 “STATE OF THE FELLOWSHIP ADDRESS”
(Given at the 2002 CFAMC conference)
I begin today by confidently addressing all of you as friends in Christ, and as colleagues in composition. The membership of CFAMC is a diverse lot, to be sure, but we hold in common the lordship of Jesus Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and the mission of recognizing, developing, exercising, supporting, explicating, and sharing the full measure of compositional gifts God has given us individually and to his whole Church. We have a unique and specific calling to art music composition. It is not our only calling; some of us may even rightly believe that it is not our most important calling. But it is evidently important enough for all of us to respond to the opportunity of CFAMC. During the past 7 1/2 years, since CFAMC has been in existence, over 170 Christian composers and supporters of composition have chosen this same response, and of those, 58 active members currently carry the CFAMC mission forward. We are a tiny drop in the enormous bucket of the Church, but as I recall my childhood days I remember what one drop of bright, concentrated food coloring can do in a bowl water. Moreover, we are citizens of two realms but rulers of neither: we often find ourselves out of place both in the wider world of art music and in the cultural life of the Body of Christ. Yet our dual citizenship is integral to our mission, for we must be about the business of bringing the riches of Jesus Christ back to the wider practice of art music while at the same time sharing the riches of musical excellence with the followers of Jesus Christ. Be assured: this is not a mission of war; rather it is a mission of healing. But healing is often preceded by painful surgery.
How is our mission proclaimed? With these words, “The CFAMC seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and help build His kingdom, by encouraging the work and witness of Christian composers of symphonic and chamber music, opera, and other serious concert works.” Let me pause in the middle of this reading to say that I sometimes think about that last bit, “serious concert works”. I know some of our members are concerned sometimes about it, for not all of our music is gloomy, heavy, preachy, nor inaccessible (though I think mine mostly is). Music of serious purpose that springs from serious intent need not necessarily be any of those things, though there is surely a place in God’s musical world for more esoteric compositional languages. The purpose of encouraging real joy in our listeners is as serious as the legitimate purpose of encouraging them to confront sin and evil. In the end, I would like to think “serious concert works” means for us works that shun inanity, vacuous ness, and insubstantiality. Our lives in Christ are about things eternal, and our music, though it will surely not be eternal in the same sense, should at least reflect an eternal orientation. And I dare say that the practice of art music, at its best, at least attempts to encourage a perspective not quite so concerned with immediate gratification; indeed, that is why I am so deeply convinced that Christians ought to be the best equipped to understand and operate in the realm of art music.
So, to return to our mission, “We pray that believers will embrace our musical integrity because of our Christian witness, and that our commitment to musical excellence will allow us to bring our Christian witness to the serious art music world.” For you see, my friends, our non-Christian colleagues in the art music world think we are out of our minds. They may give verbal assent to tolerance and diversity, but deep down inside they see our faith in Christ as a fatal hindrance to artistic excellence. They do not understand that great music comes only through fellowship with the source of all greatness Himself. But we may forgive them this blindness, for many, many of our dear friends in Christ see no more clearly on this issue. They may smile and thank us for our musical contributions, but deep down inside they wonder with alarm why we insist on writing music that doesn’t speak immediately to them. And their dismay grows when they consider how much of our work is not directly concerned with explicating Scripture or preaching the Gospel. The final horror comes as they contemplate how much time, effort, money, and personal sacrifice goes into the writing and performing of art music. Shouldn’t the money for such expensive stuff be used to feed the poor? It is after all often worth more than a year’s wages. (See John 12:1-8.)
And so our mission sounds very nice, but it is a hard word for just about everyone around us. Yet God allows us to persevere in it. I have often asked myself, Why does He not simply shut CFAMC down? Isn’t our elitist arrogance and our insufferable proselytizing embarrassing enough to warrant immobilization? Or how about politely ignoring us, as our pastors, fellow church-goers, and non-Christian musical colleagues attempt to? I am not overstating the case when I say that I am continually dumbfounded by the way God allows the message of CFAMC to go forward, even though He keeps us on a short leash. We seem always to have the financial resources to do the things we need to do, though not always the things we think we want to do. We have a continual influx of new members, though not an ever-growing roster of currently active members. Our presence and work is publicly acknowledged by the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, Society of Composers, Inc., the Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Composers, the International Association of Women in Music, and the College Music Society, along with Campus Crusade for Christ, the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities, the Christian Performing Artists Fellowship, and Cambridge University’s Theology Through the Arts program. We have the support and acknowledgment of recognized artists such as composers George Tsontakis and James MacMillan, and conductor John Nelson, alongside prominent musicians within the church like George Beverly Shea and Kurt Kaiser. Yet, to my knowledge, we have made barely a dent in the sensibilities of either new art music practice or church music practice. So, the Lord keeps us alive, but we don’t yet see the fruits of our labor. Perhaps this is merely impatience on my part. Perhaps we, the left hand of CFAMC, are destined never to know what the right hand is doing so that our secret reward will only come from the Father. Or perhaps something else is at work here.
An earthly organization such as ours must set goals and work to achieve them. Yet we must also acknowledge that any eternal fruit from our activities may be hidden from our eyes for a variety of purposes only God understands. As the president of CFAMC I am continually faced with this tension. CFAMC has not broken through the barriers of the art music world nor those of Christian culture at large. And yet, do any of us really know what effect our fellowship has had on the kingdom of Christ? Or what effect it will have? This is the true difficulty of our particular calling: we must persevere in the business of bringing the riches of Jesus Christ back to the wider practice of art music and sharing the riches of musical excellence with the followers of Jesus Christ, even though we may not see any immediate tangible results.
So we will continue to have objectives, goals and programs for CFAMC. Many of the specific goals formulated by proactive members of the fellowship, and later by our Board of Directors, have been realized.
We have an ongoing CFAMC Scholarship program for Christian student composers. I would like to see the scholarship at least double in size, to $1000, in the near future. But I must tell you that $1000 would be roughly equivalent to half the entire operating budget of CFAMC for each year. Really, the scholarship should be at least $5000, a figure which I believe would get some serious attention from the other composer organizations around us. So I ask your prayers for the kind financial resources that would make a truly substantial CFAMC scholarship realistic.
We have been able to host both national and regional CFAMC conferences across the country over the last several years. I assure you that will continue as well – it is one of the most organizationally defining activities we carry on, because it emphasizes the element of Christian fellowship, in all its manifestations, an element that I dare say has been our strongest tangible contribution to date.
CFAMC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, which means all donations made to us are tax-deductible, charitable contributions. I recently supplied the IRS with final figures on our financial operating status from the end of 1997 through the end of 2001, from which they will determine our permanent non-profit status. I ask you prayers for that crucial decision. [N.B. – As of the publication of this newsletter, the IRS has granted CFAMC permanent 501(c)(3) nonprofit status! Praise the Lord!!].
We have produced and distributed one CD of members’ works, and we expect more such projects to follow. We have a comprehensive internet site, which lacks only a searchable database of information on members’ works. A trial version of such a database was made available on our web site for nearly a year, and yet members did not provide the necessary information about their works and so it was dismantled. I would like to see that project rekindled, with more member participation, and perhaps with newer, better technology.
Several years ago, we discussed producing a radio show of CFAMC music and information, an idea that never came to fruition. However, recent changes in the nature of music broadcasting, namely, the shift from radio airwaves to internet radio, has opened this possibility up again. I am happy to announce that a copy of the CFAMC CD was requested by and has been sent to a new Christian internet radio station, www.newgenevaradio.com in Lawton OK, for its classical programming. Also, the local classical radio station in Rochester NY, WXXI 91.5 and 90.3 FM, has the CD in its play library as well. I urge all CFAMC members to provide their CDs to local classical and Christian stations in a similar manner.
CFAMC has also recently distributed information and CDs at the College Music Society millennial convention in Toronto, at the Theology Through the Arts International Festival in Cambridge, UK, and, thanks to John Akins and Jason Bahr, at highly visible regional and national conventions of the Society of Composers, Inc.
These initiatives, and others like them, are important to continue the established presence of CFAMC. But they are not as important as preparing ourselves to be used more fully by the Lord. In the final analysis, CFAMC is not a composer promotion organization. It is instead a place for us to have fellowship and to serve. I have had a growing suspicion that perhaps God wants to use CFAMC more dramatically in His kingdom, but we are not ready. I confess to you that I often wonder whether my life in Christ is yet mature enough to withstand the things God would want to do through my leadership capacity in CFAMC. You should know that the Board of Directors is constantly evaluating the configuration of our leadership team, and praying for the right people to come to the forefront. More importantly, all CFAMC members need to pray for each other as we try to grow into servants of Christ capable of yielding our lives sufficiently to His purposes. I have long been concerned about how little we the members of CFAMC are willing to give of our time, effort and money to do the things necessary to advance this ministry. Were our operating budget to more than double, say to $5000 per year, our activities would move to a very different level. Were we to have an influx of volunteers to handle various tasks, such as production and distribution of our email newsletter, the development and distribution of a printed version of the newsletter each Fall, membership management, fund-raising, database development, scholarship administration, etc., much more time could be devoted to other initiatives and to improving the activities we current undertake. Were each and every member to seriously and regularly pray about the needs and issues facing CFAMC, we might see a spiritual revitalization in our efforts. I am ashamed to say that I have not prayed enough for CFAMC over many months past, and I commit myself publicly now to do so. The members of the Board are prohibited by IRS rules from contributing too much money to the work of CFAMC, so we are relying on the full membership to pray for and be the conduit though which God exceeds our financial dreams. I have not spent all the time necessary to do the work of CFAMC as fully as possible, and I challenge you to join me in giving more time and attention to the tasks before us. The success of our mission, while clearly in the hands of the Lord, also hinges on the service we render to it, rather than on the concern we have for what it provides us. Here too I have been remiss. My thoughts have centered on what CFAMC does for me personally and professionally, rather than what I can do for it. I ask your forgiveness, and I ask you again to join me in spiritual warfare against the darkness that wants to keep us safe, comfortable, and ineffective. So now you know the true “state of the fellowship”: CFAMC is in a nice stable place of existence. And it will stay in its little hidden place so long as we value stability and comfort more than the challenge of bringing our mission to the wider arena God has prepared for us. Are we willing to put our professional opportunities on the line for this particular calling? Are we willing to give sacrificially of our time and money to advance various initiatives? Are we willing to risk the wrath of our pastors and fellow church-goers by confronting them with theological issues of musical excellence and art music sensibilities? Hear me carefully my friends: we must do and endure these things in and through the love of Jesus Christ, and by conviction of the Holy Spirit. But do and endure them we must, for, as is most often the case, the measure of our response to the calling will come in sacrificial service and in persecution. I say it again: If we do not move on to a higher level of commitment, God will still use CFAMC much as He currently does, if for nothing else than to lift the name of Jesus up in mailings, internet postings, and public events. And that is no small use. But I believe He may be calling us closer to dangerous battle lines, and I beg us to be ready for that level of service. In all of it I pray that we will know the special, eternal blessing of the peace of Christ rather than the false peace offered to us by the prince of this world.
NEWS OF NOTE: ACTIVITIES OF CFAMC COMPOSERS
CFAMC member and Ruskin High School orchestra director ROD YOUNG has established an ongoing program to bring composers from the nearby University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory to work with his students. Rod’s important work was profiled in the November 11 edition of the Kansas City Star newspaper.
In November, one of SCOTT ROBINSON’S pieces was featured in the finalist’s concert of the Ithaca College Choral Festival in New York.
Compositions by ED MASCARI have recently been performed: “Canzone for Flute and Piano” by flutist Laura Vincent and pianist Deborah DeWolf Emory at The Rivers School in Weston, MA, and again at the Center for Arts in Natick, MA; “Meet the Orchestra” by the Wellesley Symphony, MA; “Concertato on: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” at The Hartford Street Presbyterian Church (HSPC) in Natick, MA;
The work of EWAN CLARK was featured in a presentation of “young New Zealand composers” given by Tomas Goss at the American Composers Forum – San Francisco Bay Area Chapter in January.
TONY KT LEUNG’S saxophone quartet “Hands that throw stars into space” was performed in Toronto in February.
In March, DANIEL KELLOGG’S work “Divinum Mysterium” was performed by the new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird at Alice Tully Hall in New York.
SANDRA GAY and CARSON COOMAN are among the persons who have established ZIMBEL PRESS (www.zimbel.com), a new publisher of sacred music. Along with compositions by Sandra and Carson, the Zimbel catalog includes pieces by ED MASCARI, MARK HIJLEH, and a number of other composers.
In February STEVE BUTLER’S new work “Grace” for orchestra, children’s choir, adult choir and four soloists was premiered at Westmont College as part of the inaugural activities for the College’s 7th President, Stanley D. Gaede.
In January, ANDY SAUERWEIN, recently elected as the newest member of the CFAMC Board of Directors, was a guest panelist for the “Composing Music for Worship” seminar at the Calvin College Symposium on Worship and the Arts in Grand Rapids, MI.
JAN MITTELSTAEDT has also been elected to the CFAMC Board for a three-year term.
MARK HIJLEH’S orchestral work “The Stoning of Stephen” was performed by the Houghton Philharmonia last fall. His song cycle “O Ignis Spiritus”, on texts by Hildegard of Bingen, was also performed at Houghton College. In February, Hijleh’s work as a composer was profiled on WXXI public radio in Rochester, NY.
Recent performances of works by WARNER HUTCHISON include “Lament and Jubilation”, by flutist Lisa Garner and pianist Sallie Pollack, and “As the Stars Forever” (In memoriam John Paynter) for band at New Mexico State University (the work was featured in the August 2000 issue of ‘Instrumentalist’ magazine). Hutchison’s music was also included in the 2000 International Horn Society Symposium in Beijing, China.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!
EUGENE ALCALAY holds degrees in composition and piano from Indiana University, the Curtis Institute, and the Julliard School. Currently on the music faculty of Geneva College in Pennsylvania, he concertizes and teaches throughout North and South America, and in Europe. He can be contacted at 411 34th St.
Beaver Falls PA 15010, *protected email*.
MARK FRANCIS is Director of Music Technology for the Artbearts program of His Way Homes, Inc. He holds the DMA in composition from the University of Kentucky, and has held positions at Mississippi State University, Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, Centenary College, and Northwestern State University. Mark’s contact information is: 499 Pear Orchard Road, D-16, Ridgeland MS 39157, (601)605-1951, *protected email*.
DAVID M. GORDON is a doctoral student in composition at the University of Chicago. He is currently working on a piece titled “Dramamine” for the acclaimed new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird. David can be reached at 21560 Franklin Circle, Plainfield IL 60544, (815)407-1713, *protected email*.
BRENDA McGEE is a Master’s student in composition at the California Institute of the Arts. She also studied composition at Mercy College/Westchester Conservatory of Music in New York, and McGill University in Quebec. Brenda can be contacted at 14538 Benefit St., Unit 203, Sherman Oaks CA 91403, (818)981-0861, *protected email*.
FROM THE EDITOR
Well, once again I must apologize deeply for the long delay in producing this newsletter. It got so late, I finally decided simply to combine the winter and spring editions! But, as you can plainly see from the preceding information, plenty has been happening in our Fellowship. And, since I had a lot to say in the “State of the Fellowship” address above, I will not continue at length here. But I will emphasize that, after contemplating the proceedings of our 2002 conference in Indianapolis, I am convinced now more than ever that God wants to use the work of CFAMC powerfully in His kingdom on this earth. We will continue to make ourselves, our resources, and our talents available to Him for whatever specific purposes He deems appropriate. An exciting time of service to our Lord Jesus awaits us!
Note: The ideas and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of CFAMC, nor of the editor.
In this issue:
- A Call to Prayer
- Recommended Reading (really!)
- News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
- Welcome New Member
- From the Editor
A CALL TO PRAYER
Dear friends, I believe the Lord has laid on my heart that we, the members of CFAMC, need to devote ourselves to a focused season of prayer for one another. I therefore exhort all of us to go to the CFAMC website, save or print out the Members listing, and begin to pray for the membership from the day you receive this newsletter. Pray for as many members as you can each day, and try to rotate through the entire list as often as possible. Don’t forget Honorary Members! I am committing myself to this prayer call, and I encourage you to do the same. I believe the Lord will release His Spirit in a special and wonderful way if we respond to this challenge.
As the days go by during this season of prayer, I invite you to share stories of how God is blessing you (musically and otherwise) through this corporate act. Please post your experiences on the *protected email* discussion list.
May the Lord be praised!
RECOMMENDED READING (REALLY!)
The exclamation point is for those of you long-time CFAMCers who might possibly remember the “Recommended Reading” section of our early newsletters. Well, lots of good stuff has come to the attention of the editor of late, so here’s a taste:
“Music, Theology, and Time” by Jeremy Begbie (Cambridge University Press, 2000). Here is Begbie’s latest tome, destined to become a classic in the realm of Christian art music treatises! The writing is quite academically dense (and concomitantly brilliant), as it was intended for serious theologians. But, buried within are some wonderful ideas about the relationships between God’s character and the nature of music that are actually easy to comprehend (especially for musicians).
“Walking on Water” by Madeleine L’Engle (reprint from Harold Shaw, 2001, originally written in the 1980s). A wonderful set of meditations by an extraordinary Christian writer. L’Engle really gets at some of the issues of trying to integrate vibrant creativity with vibrant faith in Christ.
(NB: The editor highly recommends sampling these books on the amazon.com website prior to purchasing. Many other similar books will also “pop up” on the web site when these are referenced.)
NEWS OF NOTE: ACTIVITIES OF CFAMC COMPOSERS
Among his many recent concerts and commissions, Honorary Member CHARLES WUORINEN conducted a performance of his “Missa Brevis” at St. Ignatius of Antioch church in April.
BE SURE to visit the Members page of the CFAMC website for links to profiles and news on our Honorary Members.
JOHN KELTONIC’S original scores for the documentaries “Bringing Down a Dictator” (PBS) and “D-Day: Beneath the Waves” (the Discovery Channel) aired in March and June, respectively. Also, John’s orchestral work symphonic work “Our Wings Have Caught The Wind” (originally commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony) was or will be performed by the Wisconson Chamber Orchestra (June 27), the Chautauqua Symphony (June 29), the Indianapolis Symphony (July 3, 4, 5, and 6), and the Pittsburgh Symphony July 4 and 6.
Former CFAMC Scholarship winner DANIEL KELLOGG was recently named composer-in-residence for Young Concert Artists in New York.
In March, SCOTT ROBINSON’S work “Byzantium” was performed by Gypsophilia in Minneapolis, and elicited this response from a listener: “Your music touched me very deeply: I found, more than once, tears on my cheeks, I had gooseflesh creep on my back, I could barely stay in my seat for wanting to dance, and at the same time, I found myself feeling something similar to the feeling I get when I meditate. What an amazing thing you do.”
Also in March, LYNN JOB’S piece “Chalice Hill: Ascent & Elegy” was performed at the College Music Society South Central chapter meeting at Oklahoma Christian University, and again soon afterward at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Bob Jones University hosted a gala concert of music by DWIGHT GUSTAFSON in May. The program included “Fanfare and Celebration” (written for the Greenville SC Symphony and previously performed by local orchestras in PA, IA, and KY), “Fantasia for a Celebration” (commissioned by the Willimasburg Symphonia as part of the 300th Anniversary celebration of Williamsburg,VA), the violin concerto “Encounters,” several other shorter works for chorus and orchestra, and two film clips from feature length films with live orchestral accompaniment. The final piece was commissioned for the concert – “Words of Passion and Resurrection,” a setting of the seven last words from the cross with a prologue and epilogue from John 11:25–26 (for choir, orchestra and narrator).
Also in May, FRANK FELICE’S “Piano Sonata” was performed on the Composer’s Inc. series in San Francisco. Most recently, Frank has been commissioned by Butler University to write a ballet based on portions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Silmarillion”.
MARK HIJLEH’S work for voice and piano, ‘O Ignis Spiritus’, on poems by Hildegard of Bingen, has been awarded the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) 2002 Vocal Composition Award. As part of the award, the piece is being performed at the NATS national convention in San Diego, CA, July 6th.
ANDY SAUERWEIN is a select participant in a seminar titled ‘The Arts, Aesthetic Theory, and the Practice of Worship’ at Calvin College July 1-20, led by Christian philosopher/theologian Nicholas Wolterstorff.
JEREMY IRISH received his first ASCAPlu$ Standard Award for composition this past May.
WELCOME NEW MEMBER!
MARC WOOLDRIDGE holds degrees in percussion performance and music theory from Indiana University and the University of Buffalo. Currently on the faculty of Northwestern College in Orange City, IA, he is an active composer and performer of electro-acoustic percussion works. Marc can be reached at Music Department, Northwestern College, 101 7th St. SW, Orange City IA 51041, *protected email*, http://www.multimediapercussion.com.
FROM THE EDITOR
As you can clearly see from the “News of Note” section above, CFAMC composers continue to be very active in the art music and church arenas. But, as you can also see from the lack of any other ‘news’ items in this issue, the last few months have constituted a relatively inactive period for the ongoing work of the Fellowship itself. There is certainly nothing wrong with that – I often suspect the Lord most values the simple prayers and encouragement we give one another more than all the “programs” we plan and realize. Still, we must never let CFAMC slip into dormancy, for the work of living out the vision we have received as a Fellowship is far from complete. And the Holy Spirit is always active in that working vision. Just today I had a wonderful telephone conversation with a gentleman who met my mother-in-law while a guest at her home church. Though the Sunday School lesson she was teaching didn’t really lend itself to artistic discussion, ‘somehow’ the topic of CFAMC came up, and the visitor quickly became interested. As he later told me, “Sometimes the Holy Spirit just awakens you.” This man is not a musician, rather, he simply and truly has been called by the Spirit to be interested in the issues CFAMC engages. And he is not the first I have heard from in this regard; my dear mother-in-law (who is fast becoming a vocal advocate of our ministry!) reports other similar conversations she has had with non-musician Christians deeply concerned about the place of the arts in the broader life of the Church and the culture. I will risk repeating what I said in this space last issue: The Lord is preparing the Church to come to grips with the cultural/creative/worship issues that CFAMC is called to address. Let us humbly pray that we, the members, will be ready to contribute what God has given us to say in our lives, words, and music.
– Mark Hijleh
Note: The ideas and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of CFAMC, nor of the editor
In this issue:
- Items for Prayer
- CD Review: “Sidewalk Music” by Frank Felice (reviewed by Bill Vollinger)
- News of Note: Activities of CFAMC composers
- Recommended Reading
- Welcome New Member
- From the Editor
ITEMS FOR PRAYER
The CFAMC Board of Directors (Mark Hijleh, President and Treasurer, Greg Scheer, Vice President, Frank Felice, Secretary, Don Wilson, Regional Activities Coordinator, Mark Chambers, Walter Saul, Andy Sauerwein and Jan Mittelstaedt) craves your prayers for opportunities and decisions about upcoming CFAMC activities. We have several possible regional and national conferences ‘on the drawing board’, including a 10th anniversary CFAMC event for 2004. As always, your ideas are welcome – email the Board at *protected email*.
Also, our brother Rick Cerchia is having great personal and professional difficulty, and needs our prayers and support. Rick is currently looking for work to support himself; his resume is posted on the CFAMC yahoogroups discussion list (all members should sign themselves up for that list! You can do so right from the CFAMC website).
CD REVIEW: “SIDEWALK MUSIC and other more or less concrete notions” by Frank Felice, reviewed by Bill Vollinger
In his new CD, ‘Sidewalk Music’, Frank Felice present us with a remarkable variety of electroacoustic works created by him in the last three years: sometimes quite moving, often funny, and always interesting and enjoyable to listen to. In an era where serious music can get too serious, Frank Felice creates music that is entertaining.
He begins and closes his album with a witty Prelude and Postlude, referring to his earlier years as a Rock musician. We hear the enthusiastic cries of a Rock audience to music they might not normally cry for.
His three musique concrete ‘Sidewalk Musics’, from which the album’s title is derived, ‘Lawn Show’, ‘Side Show’ and ‘Late Show’, are natural sounds rearranged to approach music, sort of a reverse of the usual Pastorale, where the music approaches natural sounds. This halfway-ness is enjoyable, coherent instead of crazy, something to consider. ‘…and so the hole was dug’ is played with playful energy by bassoonist Doug Spaniel, accompanied by playfully manipulated bassoon sounds (and even a couple bassoonist words). This is forceful fun.
The other instrumental/electroacoustic “duet”, BRACE YOURSELF LIKE A MAN, is played with much beauty by violinist Davis Brooks, evoking the pathos and confusion of Job mitigated by the serene authority of God’s presence. We might think we hear the complaining, the distorted flurries of advice, even a sound akin to skin boils, but at the end, it all turns into a song. BRACE YOURSELF was heard earlier this year at the CFAMC convention, and is a remarkably powerful and moving work, truly a blessing to listen to.
In ‘Psychotica; Six Etudes for the Very, Very Nervous’, we hear Felice at his most clever. An earlier work for piano is played by Christine Pulliam and altered and supplemented electronically to dazzling effect, making at times some rather disturbing sounds sound funny (instead of this poor world’s way of doing the reverse). Continuing the trend of playing music on “historically authentic” instruments, ‘Retrogressions’ (an historically authentic title!) is a three-movement homage to the early years of electronic music created on a cleaned and readjusted Moog. It gives us a chance to hear afresh those bleeps and bloops of yesteryear.
But now for my two favorite works! Brother Lawrence, well known for practicing the presence of God, said he felt as close to God in the kitchen as in the chapel. ‘Where Two or More Are Gathered’ brings this idea to mind. For in this ‘kitchen remix’ there is a juxtaposition of a lush and expressive string sound with other noises where the composer has been heavily influenced by the kitchen sink. For me ‘Two or More’ evokes the times I’ve filled or emptied the dishwasher while simultaneously praying. Although in this case the string music is actually being recorded off a radio, and we even hear some whistling along with the melody (which is a fun idea, because it’s not the kind of melody you usually hear folks whistle). The result is funny and poignant at the same time, the way you feel about Ralph Kramden if you watch “The Honeymooners”, and maybe the way God feels when He watches us sometimes.
The other work, the biggest one on the recording, is “’Reflections’ from The Night Attic.” It is a journey through a varied nocturnal soundscape, sometimes natural, sometimes supernatural, holy glows and evil blasts, icy tinklings and warm adagios, clocks and water, light shining in the darkness, half-heard words you might need to hear but can’t quite remember when you wake up. If Marc Chagall had gone electroacoustic, he might have sounded something like this. “‘Reflections’ from The Night Attic” is varied and complete, the other half of the circle we call a day, or even an age, in Hebrew the same word, “Yom”, where we are now. (“The day has made me weary.”)
The Christian author Phillip Keller said that when you’re a Christian there is no distinction between the sacred and the secular. In an age where composers don’t always believe the sacredness of the texts they set, Frank Felice turns sounds into music and adds super to natural, all with good humor and a good heart. You can order Frank Felice’s ‘SIDEWALK MUSIC and other more or less concrete notions’ (CPS-8707) from Capstone Recordings. It is well worth doing so.
NEWS OF NOTE: ACTIVITIES OF CFAMC COMPOSERS
JOHN KELTONIC, a nationally awarded film composer has received an Emmy Award for Best Original Music Score for his work on “Over Alaska.” The PBS show which premiered nationally on October 1, is a 60 minute documentary that portrays our 49th state as it’s never been seen before. Shot in aerial view on High Definition TV, it boasts stunning imagery enhanced by Keltonic’s evocative music.
The score features over 50 minutes of music and uses unique combinations of orchestra and Alaskan ethnic instruments. According to Keltonic, the writing proved to be effortless. “The high def images of glaciers at dawn and sunset were stunning. With aerial shots like that, the music seemed to write itself.”
The documentary was created and produced by KCTS in Seattle. The score was in the musical company of contenders that included Montana PBS’ “Silence and Solitude: Yellowstone’s Winter” and Syntax Production’s “The Witnesses.” Since the show originally aired regionally, this is a Northwest Chapter Regional Emmy Award. With the show¹s national airing next week, it could become a contender in the national category.
Keltonic has been composing original music for more than 20 years and his passion for conveying emotion through music is evident in his work. More recently a documentary he scored, “Korean War Stories”, won a national Emmy award for Best Historical Documentary.
For excerpts from “Over Alaska,” visit the JDK website at, www.jdkmusic.com. For a closer look and listen at John Keltonic’s work, please call Melanie Cox at (804)363-2734 or email her at *protected email*.
ED MASCARI’S ‘Capriccio for Solo Flute’ was given its world premiere along with a performance of the composer’s ‘Canzone for Flute and Piano’ by flutist Laura Vincent and pianist Vytas Baksys, in October at The Center for Arts in Natick, MA.
CHARLES WUORINEN’S ‘The Haroun Songbook’, a 48-minute works for 4 singers and piano was premiered at the Guggenheim Museum in October. The work consists of portions of Wuorinen’s opera ‘Haroun And The Sea Of Stories’ (based on the Salman Rushdie novel with libretto by James Fenton). The New York City Opera will present the world premiere of the full opera in Fall 2003.
WALTER SAUL’S second CD, ‘From Alpha to Omega’, will be out in October. The program consists of 24 newly composed preludes and fugues in all the keys.
Reviews of TIM KUCIJ’S solo piano CDs are now available at http://solopianopublications.com.
GREG PASCUZZI recently had a new piece played by the BBC Big Band and trumpet soloist Marvin Stamm at the ITG (International Trumpet Guild) bash in Manchester, England (Royal Northern College).
ELIZABETH SCRIBA graduated in May from Angelo State University with a
Bachelor’s degree in music education, and in September began work on a Master’s degree in composition at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN.
TONY K.T. LEUNG reports several items. In May a performance of his ‘Do you truly love me more than these?’ for violin and vibraphone was given by the Drosera Ensemble in Vancouver, BC. The work was performed again in June, with clarinet instead of violin, at the New Music North Festival 2002, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON. Also in June, the composer heard his ‘Winter’s Edge’ at the 32nd Festival Synthèse Bourges 2002, Bourges, France. In July his work ‘Naked I came and naked I will depart’ was read at 14th Annual Choral Composers Readings Workshop, Gregg Smith Singers, Saranac Lake, NY. Finally, July saw the CD release of Tony’s acousmatic piece ‘When light first shone’, as part of Presence III, produced by the Canadian Electroacoustic Community. Excerpts and/or scores for these works are available at Tony’s web site, www.composer.net.
From Julian Bryson, one of our 2002 CFAMC Scholarship winners:
“Roaring Lambs” by Bob Briner is an excellent call to churches to support Christians in ‘culture-shaping’ arenas like the arts, television, sports, etc. There are some interesting challenges and instructions presented to those of us in such roles, as well.
WELCOME NEW MEMBER!
CHARLES BECK is a former composition student of Don Wilson at Bowling Green State University in OH. He currently works as a technical writer and website developer. Charles can be reached at P.O. Box 71, 220 W. Main St., Alexandria OH 43001, *protected email*.
FROM THE EDITOR
Two particular aspects of Scripture have “come to the fore” for me recently. First, I have been reading (actually, listening to, via audiobook) the Old Testament chapter by chapter, and am just about to finish Numbers. So I have been treated to an account of the full force of the Law. At the same time, a story from the Gospels has been prominent in my thinking, the passage Matthew 20:20-28. In the Law, we see the incredible lengths to which the Israelites must go to atone for their sin before the Lord, and in the story of James, John, and their mother we see the incredible lengths to which even disciples of Jesus will go to attain (or maintain) their “position”. Notice, however, that in both instances God’s response is a call to submission, to humility. Both the constant slaughter of one’s best animals and the attempt to serve others above the self are hard, sacrificial work. So what are we as Christian composers to make of this? Thankfully, our atonement before the Lord is not dependent on our (compositional) offerings! But continue to make them we must. And are we able to drink the (compositional) cup of Jesus? Very often we are called to do that. So, we continue to offer our best (music) to Him, and we continue to serve our brothers and sisters in (musical) humility. That’s how we become “great”; that’s how we find our place around the throne. May we all be privileged to know the (musical) life only Jesus can give.
– Mark Hijleh