Mountains of Mohon was commissioned by Draper Middle School of the Mohonasen Central School District in Rotterdam, New York. The name Mohonasen is a combination of the Mohawk, Onondaga and Seneca tribes who are indigenous to this area of upstate New York. It is commonly referred to as Mohon. Situated at the base of the Adirondack Mountains, Rotterdam used to be a frontier town. The music reflects the struggle of new ideas and cultures colliding in the time of the great expansion west in the new America.
Zeal is a piece for concert band that lives up to its name’s definition. Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. This work has exciting and fun to play musical elements for every section of the band. Listen for the different melodic lines and how they combine in each section of the song.
Fire Dance is an exciting and canonic work for beginning bands. The challenge is in the counting as the meter or time signature changes very often. The title itself describes the tribal and adrenaline filled sound that makes this piece fun to play and listen to.
Four White Horses is a traditional Caribbean folk song about four white horses traveling on a river in a large boat. In the traditional story there is a storm approaching so the boat must travel quickly to get off the river in time. This story and song has been used as a yard game amongst children in the Caribbean culture. The song is set for Soprano, Alto, and Baritone and features contrasting dynamics, upbeat tempo, and a calypso rhythmic feel. As this celebratory piece progresses, the entire choir modulates twice to add to the intensity and movement of the piece.
A Distant Shore is a partner song featuring two well known folk tunes, A Distant Shore, and The Water is Wide. The piece begins with altos and sopranos singing the main melody of A Distant Shore. Then the baritones introduce the main melody of The Water is Wide. Finally, both songs are performed at the same time with staggered entrances from each of the three sections of the choir. This unique ending adds texture and interest to the piece. We challenge the listener to decipher which group is singing which song.
Hallelujah is a song originally written and performed in 1984 by the Canadian singer-song writer Leonard Cohen. A new version of the song, arranged by Rufus Wainright, was popularized in 2001 because of its featured role in the animated movie, “Shrek”. The word Hallelujah has been used throughout history to express the phrase, “God be praised”. In this setting of Hallelujah the choir is telling a story of nostalgia with a sense of tentative hope. This particular arrangement of the song features all three parts of the choir. The melody is primarily in the soprano while being occasionally tossed to the altos and baritones.