Saturday, November 10, 2018

Fledgling Composer Rain Stretches Wings - Part 2 - His Music Flows like Water

David Rain, Stairwell Tenor and new Composer with his muse, the Rideau Falls
A torrent of musical creation has poured from David's heart even before he discovered his muse in his beloved Rideau Falls.  In his own words, he tells us his compositional story. (Holly)

In 2015, at the ripe age of 63, I first got the urge to write a piece of music for a cappella choir, a Missa Brevis.

In 2016, I first experienced that unique thrill of hearing one of my pieces performed in public, the “Rideau Carol” written specially for and dedicated to my choir the Stairwell Carollers.

Audio: Tom Barnes.  Recorded at Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dec 16th, 2016.
Videographers: Gert-Jan van Heuzen, Andrew Mason
Editing: Pierre Massie

In 2017, led masterfully by our choir director Pierre Massie, the Carollers performed my second piece in public, a challenging arrangement of the German classic, “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”

And this spring in 2018, I got to hear a third piece performed by the Carollers, another challenging arrangement, this time of the medieval song, “In natali Domini.” A true thrill!

Throughout all of this, I have been mentored by Pierre, who has taken huge amounts of his precious time to listen to my new works, review them, make comments and suggestions, push me this way, pull me that way, and generally challenge me to make each piece the best that it can be. I owe him a huge debt, thanks Pierre!
Stairwell Caroller Director Pierre Massie in action
Well, I’ve been totally bitten by this “composing bug” and have now written 17 (!) pieces for mixed a cappella choir.  Check out my YouTube channel.

It’s way too much for one choir to digest, so I’ve naturally been looking for ways to speed up the process of hearing what each piece actually sounds like, sung by real singers, and not by the artificial sounds of a computer program. (I should mention that I don’t play the piano well enough to hear most of my pieces on a piano even.)

One initiative of mine has worked out quite nicely. A few current and former Carollers have formed a small singing ensemble that we call the “Ad hoc Chorale.” It started out as an invitation to come test out and “workshop” some of my new pieces. The first session went well and the second is coming up soon, and there is even interest to widen the net a bit, as some of our “Ad hoc” members are also choral composers, so I’m really looking forward to hearing their pieces workshopped too!

The other idea I had was to enter various choral composition contests. Not with the main aim of winning, as that might not be realistic, but with the hopes that somehow somewhere someone on the jury panels might actually like one of my pieces and who knows, might program it in future years. (Did I mention that I’m now 66, unknown as a composer, and I’m not sure how many years I have left to explore this new passion of mine.)

Anyways, fast forward to when to my total shock, I got an email from Jon Washburn, the director of one of Canada’s top choirs, the Vancouver Chamber Choir. Jon informed me that my application to the VCC’s “Interplay” composer workshop had been accepted!

Yikes, did that thought make me nervous! But then I thought, this is a professional choir, one of the very best in Canada, and all I had to do is show up, sit back, listen, and learn. How tough could that be?

On April 4, 2018 some of my choral works along with 2 other Vancouver composers were sung by the VCC choir led by Jon and I received their comments and critiques on my pieces.

But that's another tale for later.

Sincere thanks to Jon and the Vancouver Chamber Choir for offering me this unique opportunity to learn and grow as a composer, and a special shout out to the SOCAN Foundation for making this “Interplay” workshop with Jon and the VCC possible.

David Rain, a fledgling composer, has sung tenor with the Stairwell Carollers for 25 years.

1 comment :

You can also email your questions to me - info (at) stairwellcarollers (dot) com.
Holly :)

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