Double Post: Macaroni Pizza And Sweet Sounds From The Choir Loft

This evening, I embarked on a culinary experiment where I combine two of my favorite food vices: macaroni and cheese and pizza. I prefer not to self medicate with carbohydrates so I took steps to make sure I wouldn’t be experiencing my first open heart surgery at 35.

The first step was, instead of a flour crust, to make a crust out of polenta.



Once it was set, I added caramelized onions and the macaroni.


Next, came some steamed broccoli I had thoughfully prepared ahead of time.


I then added a slathering of cheddar cheese and roast garlic. The dash of Panko  was to give an extra bit of crunch.


In retrospect, I would probably go instead with some kind of Béchamel sauce instead of tomato. Also, I could have done without the Panko and gone instead with some Parmesan cheese. It’d be a more harmonious set of flavors instead of a stampeding melee.

On the subject of harmonious creations, the Vancouver Peace Choir is performing my in paradisum setting next month. It’s a very ambitious piece that manages to incorporate a lot of what I love about the art of being able to write music down and definitely sets the bar for what I expect from myself artistically quite a bit higher. Note the proximity of my name to one of the heaviest of heavyweights in the canon on their poster:


From what I can tell, I’ve definitely written a finite number of works and of those finite works this piece has some of my absolute most favorite musical moments of gnarly grinding chords giving way to sonic caramel.

The ending also holds a special significance for me: The main motif of the whole piece ends up capitulating to the last of its endurance and becomes resigned into to a fated chant on the word, aeternam (Eternity). Whenever I send this score to people I tell them to play the last page first as it never fails to cause a pitter-patter of the heart.

Two performances!

Saturday, November 22, 2014, 7:30pm
Vancouver Community College Auditorium, 1155 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 4V5
Cost: $20 adults, $15 students / seniors, FREE 18 & under


Sunday, November 23, 2014, 3:00pm
Highlands United Church
3255 Edgemont Blvd, North Vancouver
British Columbia, V7R 2P1





Laudate Singers New Composer-In-Residence: Hey – it’s me!

Well – that’s a fun surprise. And quite an honor!

The Laudate Singers of North Vancouver have tapped me to be their composer in residence for their upcoming season. It’s quite a privilege to be in the company of Lars Kaario and his group of ridiculously skilled singers. On the docket are two commissions for the new year. Already, an excited gearworks has been set in motion. I’ll be doing my best to impress!

More details to come – likely through my twitter account:


Stile Antico: Not at all of the Phlegmish School

I had another sickening love-in visit from yet another early music ensemble thanks to Early-Music Vancouver.

Stile Antico is a group of twelve singers who are actually thirteen singers from the UK who specialize in pre-Bach choral music. We’re told they’re supposed to be young and if you’re old, they probably are.

To the four or five of us in the audience tonight who didn’t qualify as the latter, all we needed to be told was to shut up, turn off our cell-phones (Which we did), and listen.  Granted, the choir is on an ambitious tour and still suffering from jet-lag so there was a little throatiness in the first half but it was the sort of thing that would only bother you if you’re the sort of person that lives to be bothered by such things and write about them in your pathetic blog that nobody reads anyway.

Who could be bothered by the fabulous Ashby sisters floating about the stage with narry a wobble or the magnificient sound of the fabulous Oliver “The-Bass-That-Could-Be-A-Bass-Section” Hunt? I should emphasize that they really did a good job in stacking the sopranos in their deck the way they did. If you want amazing blend in your treble voices, you’re going to have to breed them. Sorry.

You can make all sorts of seemingly rushed and ill-informed judgements about a choir by it’s unison and you’d be quite right to do so. Hearing eight or more people sing your line can be a bit of a head-game when you’re trying to be precise and it takes a good musician to be confident and sing without breaking ensemble: Was that a hair of a wobble? Was it me? Was it Jim? No wait… was it a wobble at all?

If you feel that singing early music exposes you, then singing a unison chant line to open a concert should make you feel like streaking to work is a modest alternative. ‘Twas a scrumptious blend, and a diction that didn’t make you feel like we were supposed to be eating the text instead of listening to it.

I’ll see them again.