Saturday, January 25, 2014

2013 Year in Review

2013 was surely an eventful year!  In May, I graduated with my PhD in music composition from Louisiana State University.  In July, we moved to Natchitoches, LA where I got a job teaching the piano/vocal talent music program for the elementary and middle schools of Natchitoches Parish.  In November, my daughter Charlotte was born.

With such an eventful year, I'm so glad that I was able to keep up on the Year of Song project for a second full year.  It certainly has not always been easy, but the self-discipline has proven to be worth the effort as I have added another 52 songs to my compositional output, many of which I am proud to have written!

I composed several humorous songs, and I was featured on the Dr. Demento seven times throughout the year.  Four of these songs were newly composed for the Year of Song Project: namely "Mama," "Math Book Tragedy," "Frau Blucher," and "Here Comes Santa Claus (The Even More Theologically Confused Version)."  In addition to the Dr. Demento Show, my humorous songs have been on Ben's Wacky Radio, I Still Get Demented, A-Log on the Airwaves, Manic Mondays, Kahn Man's Comedy Corner, and the Mad Music Show.  On his June 25, 2013 episode, "Wacky" Ben Pulliam interviewed me and featured several of my songs.   Also, during the summer, I went to Houston to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic during a book signing event.  I was able to meet him and give him a copy of my dissertation on musical humor, along with a CD of my humorous songs.

I did a small amount of experimental music this year, which included a fixed media piece entitled "Sigh No More Ladies," based on a text by Shakespeare, which was premiered in Baton Rouge on April 29, 2013, as part of the LSU High Voltage concert.

I composed several songs this year for a new musical, tentatively titled, "The Great American Musical."  For this musical, I am collaborating with playwright August Mergelman, who wrote the lyrics for several of the songs.  The songs from the 2013 Year of Song project that are part of this musical are: "In Vegas, Entertainers Always Win," "My Sister Has  Peculiar Way," "It's a Very Friendly Truce," "The Curtain Never Falls," "You Swept Me Off My Feet," "27 Parts in the Show," "Compulsory Blue Note Song," "The Great American Musical," "The Pet Peeve Quartet," and "Delicate Creatures."  The songs are all complete now and the script is now in the process of revision.

I also composed and wrote the script for a children's musical entitled, A Christmas for Pirates.  The songs for this musical were "A Christmas for Pirates: Opening Song," "North Pole Jam," "The Reindeer Boogie Woogie," "Fearsome Pirates, We," and "Merry Christmas, Yo Ho Ho."  This musical was performed at the NSU Elementary Lab School in Natchitoches, LA.

I composed "I Will Love the Lord," for the kid's worship ministry at The Chapel in the Oaks in Baton Rouge.  It is a three-part round which was performed in the spring semester concert by the children's choir.

The most difficult song I composed this year was "I'll Miss You My Friend (Elegy for Aaron)."  This song was written in memory of Aaron Markarian, and incredible young man that I met when I was working as the accompanist at Warrensburg High School.  As a high school freshman, Aaron had a voice that rivalled most seniors.  Aaron was en route to graduate with his bachelor's degree in opera performance in May, however, he was shot and killed during a home invasion before his graduation.  This song was my sad farewell to an amazing young man, taken before his time.

"If the Answer is No" and "Think About What You're Going to Do Today" were the first two songs of 2013.  Both of these were composed for a website that I am designing to help children learn coping strategies.  My greatest hope for 2014 is that I can add to what this project has to offer, as I wish to become a stronger advocate for mental health, especially in children.

Additionally, I'm hoping to compose more experimental music in the new year.  I feel that with the constant evolution of technology, there is always new ground to tread in this area.  I'm also hoping to do more collaboration in 2014.  Unfortunately, with my dissertation defense, job search, relocation, and a new baby in 2013, collaboration fell by the wayside somewhat.  Hopefully I will have more opportunities in 2014.  I, of course, plan to continue to compose humorous songs, however, I feel that most of my humorous songs so far could be described as short-form.  I'm hoping to get a little more ambitious and add some more humorous dimensions to my songs.  Last, but not least, I'm hoping to continue to compose songs for musical theatre works, and I'm always looking for collaborators in that area.

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